Lyric sheets

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The Independent Culture
For more than 30 years, Brian Court and John Whitehorn have located sheet music for desperate music lovers, who needed only to sing a bar or two over the telephone. Now these unsung veterans of Denmark St, WC2, are due to retire

The Last of Tin Pan Alley

Goodbye to the keyboard stores,

the studios in cellars

To the musos and the tunesmiths

and the backroom cinderellas

Who blew in like the burger napkins

Beatles in the making

For the Holy Grail of hooklines

and the money for the taking

Near Queen Matilda's former home

for lepers at St Giles

Where the milkmen whistle Gershwin

and the music drips from tiles

And the pocket Macchiavellis pitch

for EMI and Sony

In the Giacconda Cafe over rolls

and minestrone

And the songs are mined from keyboards

written down and put in files

Where the flats and sharps and naturals

fade on staves which stretch for miles

Holding blues for Long John Baldry

and a tango for Jack Payne

Or a torch for Julie London

til she comes around again

And the shuffle-footed rockers

come to Andy's for guitars

While they wait to take their places

in the pantheon of stars

Where a deadbeat in the doorway

on a never-ending picket

Sings the mantra of the music biz

"You hum it - and I'll nick it."

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