You don’t know what you don’t know
Robbie reflects on the challenges of creating an online archive for his prolific family of music-makers.
In my blog on xxx, I talked about my “day job” duties with the Sherman Family Estate. One of the biggest projects, which I’ve been planning for many years, is a fully digitised Sherman Family Archives, this is part of a bigger project we’re calling “Sherman Legacy”. This will cover over 100 years of materials, including sound recordings, sheet music, original artwork, photographs, contracts, original scripts and novels … you name it.
There will be between 40,000 and 50,000 unique items in a searchable online database.
I think even the most ardent Sherman Brothers fans will be surprised at the breadth of the archives – and how much will be new to them.
Both my grandfather and my father were extraordinarily prolific in their work. It's not like this with most songwriters. For example, in the case of Lerner and Loewe: They wrote nine musicals. Pretty much every song that partnership produced was published and is already known.
What people don't realize about the Sherman Brothers is that, for all of the songs that are known, there are seven or eight times as many never got published. A considerable amount of material remains unknown to the public.
Even many Sherman Brothers songs that were released aren’t necessarily associated with them because they aren’t part of their musicals catalogue.
Just the other day, I had a meeting with a theatre producer who said, “I had no idea the Sherman Brothers wrote the Ringo Starr song 'You're 16 (You're Beautiful and You're Mine)."
I said, "Yeah, because you didn’t know they were rock and roll songwriters for ten years before they worked for Disney." But they were.