Back in the 1970s, a handful of students at Berkeley College of Music in Boston, decided they had had enough of the hand-cobbled musical resources at their disposal. Those resources were known as ‘fake books’ for a reason. Called so for containing (usually) handwritten melody lines from popular, standard (copyrighted) songs without permission from the artist/composer, jazz fake books were usually hand-written and thus wildly different from one another, sometimes to the point of being entirely illegible. But through the hard work of those Berkeley students, the first ‘official’ fake book was born, ironically entitled The Real Book. 

While technically illegal under copyright law, copies of The Real Book found their way into the hands of jazz musicians and music educators around the world. As the official website for The Real Book states, “Musicians viewed the Real Book as a godsend…” Sold on street corners near music

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