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Arnold Shaw Edit Profile

Composer , educator , author

Arnold Shaw was a songwriter and music business executive, primarily in the field of music publishing, who is best known for his comprehensive series of books on 20th century American popular music.


Shaw, Arnold was born on June 28, 1909 in New York City. Son of David and Sarah (Coller) Shaw.


Master of Arts, Columbia University, 1931.


Shaw entered the field of popular music during the 1940s, as a pianist and composer. He did not make a major mark in this field: his best-known compositions include Mobiles and The Mod Moppet: Seven Nursery Rip-offs, and “Sing a Song of Americans,” for which Rosemary Benet and Steven Vincent Benet wrote the lyrics. In , he entered the business end of the popular music scene, as director of publicity and advertising for Leeds Music Corporation (later to become MCA Music).

He went on from there to the Edward B. Marks Music Corporation, also a music publishing company, where he spent most of his business career. During the 1950s and 1960s, he also handled public relations and advertising for a number of individual performers, including Elvis Presley, Burt Bacharach and Paul Simon. His first book on music, Gene Krupa First Authentic Life Story of America's Ace Drummer Man, came out in , and he published a biography of Harry Belafonte in 1960.

His significant career as a writer, however, came in the 1970s and 1980s, beginning with the 1969 publication of The Rock Revolution: What's Happening to Today's Music. His books included histories of popular music in the 1920s, 1930s, 1950s and 1960s, books on jazz, and books on African-American music. The Golden Years Of Rhythm And Blues is considered the definitive text on that musical form.

In 1985, Shaw founded the Popular Music Research Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, which today contains approximately 20,000 records, over 1000 manuscript scores, over 300 taped interviews of popular music artists, and miscellaneous memorabilia. Upon his death in 1989, the research center was renamed the Arnold Shaw Popular Music Research Center in his honor.


Member Authors Guild, American Musicological Society, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (Deems Taylor award1968, 79, 89), American Guild Authors and Composers, National Academy Recording Artsand Sciences, National Society Literature and the Arts, National Music Teachers Association, Nevada Music Teachers Association (Nevada Composer of Year award 1973), Las Vegas Music Teachers Association (president 1975-1977, founder, chairman Bolognini scholarship awards 1976-1989), Sonneck Society, University Music Society of U. Nevada Las Vegas (president 1980), International Association Study Popular Music (co-chairman American branch 1984-1988).


Married Ghita Milgrom. Children– Mindy Sura, Elizabeth Hilda.

David Shaw

Sarah (Coller) Shaw

Ghita Milgrom

Elizabeth Hilda Shaw

Mindy Sura Shaw