Jerome Kern was father of the indigenous American musical. Before that America had been in the thrall of European opera and operetta, especially the English musical comedy. The young Kern went to London to learn the the tricks of the trade, studying the work of Lionel Monkton and Leslie Stuart, current kings of the stage. While there he met the girl who would become his wife. He returned full of skills and with his own way with a melody--sinuous and original. He placed new songs in imported shows; he experimented with the ragtime idiom. In 1913 he wrote a new kind of long-lined ballad in "They Didn't Believe Me', a number that entranced the young George Gershwin. A few years later, working with PG Wodehouse and Guy Bolton, he went on to compose the first truly integrated musical comedies in the famous Princess Theatre shows, which included such songs as " Till The Clouds Roll By". Thus, by 1919, the romantic, harmonically subtle Kern style was created.