The Composers of Early American Popular Music
Over the years we've researched and published short biographies on the composers
whose music we feature on the site. As of this date, we've published
over 300 biographies. The biographies usually appear in each feature with
the music, however many of you have requested a central location for the biographies
so that you may look up the composers separately.
We are pleased to provide this resource for you here.
The following are the "short" biographies available. The names below
link to the individual biographies. To return to this list just use your browser
"back" button after viewing the biography. Names are listed alphabetically
by last name, read across then down.
Maurice Abrahams was born in Russia in
1883 and died in NYC in 1931. He was a popular composer and lyricist, writing
a number of popular songs including some we have featured in past issues such
as The Pullman Porters On Parade in our February,
2000 issue about the artist E.H. Pfeiffer. Some of his other hits include,
Hitchy Koo, 1912, Oh, You Million Dollar Doll, 1913 and Cowboy Joe. He started
his own publishing company in 1923 and was married to the popular singer Belle
R. Adams (1883 - 1963) Attended the University
of Chicago at the same time as Will Hough. For a time he was a reporter for
thye Chicago Tribune and then for the Daily News and Examiner. His most famous
collaboration was with Will Hough and Joe Howard on I Wonder Who's Kissing
Her Now in 1909.
Stephen Adams, see Michael Maybrick
Milton Ager (b. 1893, Chicago - d. 1979, Los
Angeles) Ager 's early career was much like many other Tin Pan Alley greats
inasmuch as he started out as a vaudelville pianist and played piano for (silent)
movies in theaters. He moved to New York in 1913 and became an arranger for
the Waterson, Berlin & Snyder publishing house. He served honorably in the
military during WWI and later was an arranger for George M. Cohan. His very
first published song was Everything Is Peaches Down In Georgia in 1918. He also
wrote scores for a number of Broadway musicals including Rain Or Shine
in 1928 which came out as a movie in 1930.
Ager wrote many memorable and lasting hits during his career including; Between
1922 to 1930 he wrote Mama Goes Where Papa Goes, and a hit song for Sophie
Tucker, The Last of the Red Hot Mamas!. Other songs in this period include
Lovin Sam, Hard-Hearted Hannah, I Wonder Whats Become of Sally,
Aint She Sweet? and the classic Happy Days Are Here Again which
later become the theme song for President Franklin D. Roosevelts 1932
inauguration and remained the theme song for the Democratic Party for many years
since. Perhaps his best known song was Ain't She Sweet (1927) which has
often been used as a song that most represents the roaring twenties. In 1930,
Ager moved to Hollywood and contributed to the film scores of Honky Tonk,
King of Jazz and Chasing Rainbows. Songs in these pictures include
Happy Feet, A Bench in the Park and If
I Didnt Care. Ager was inducted into the songwriter's hall of fame
in 1972. (essential facts from Kinkle, p. 482 and the Songwriter's
Hall of Fame biography at http://www.songwritershalloffame.org/exhibit_bio.php?exhibitId=205
Will R. Anderson This particular Anderson is
difficult to pin down. There was a somgwriter William Robert or W. R. Anderson
who flourished at the same time and who also was published by Whitmark. I suspect
this is the same guy. Born in 1891, we know little else about him other than
a scant few songs. Besides
Just Some One, Anderson wrote; Good Night Dear (1908), Bring
Me A Letter From My Old Home Town (1918), Take It From Me (1918)
and Evening, My Love and You (1923).
Henry W. Armstrong (AKA Harry) (b. 1879,
Sommerville, Mass., d. 1951, New York, NY) One does not often think of a prize
fighter as a genteel lovers of the arts, but Armstrong is an exception. His
varied career not only included his bout(s) as a pugilist but also included
booking agent, producer, singer, pianist and of course composer. As a performer,
Armstrong entertained in hospitals during the first world war and as well, performed
in night clubs, radio and near the end of his life, even on TV. His biggest
hit was Sweet Adeline, in 1903 with Richard H. Gerard.
(Richard) Harold Atteridge ( 1886 - 1938) was educated at the University of Chicago, earning a Bachelor of Philosophy. He became a staff writer for the Schuberts (producers of many Broadway musicals) and as such was the librettist for many Broadway Shows including many starring Al Jolson. The Internet Broadway Database lists nearly 70 shows for which Atteridge wrote the libretto or lyrics for individual songs. He was one ofthe most prolific lyricists of his day. Among his indicidual song credits are By the Beautiful Sea (Scorch version) with Harry Carroll and Come Dance With Me with Louis A. Hirsch in 1911.
Nat D. Ayer (b. 1897, Boston - d. 1952, Bath,
England) Ayer wrote a number of lasting and contemporary hits during his time
on Tin Pan Alley including
King Chanticleer (1911, lyrics by Seymour Brown, used in the Ziegfeld
Follies) and a huge hit, If You Were The Only Girl In The World in
1916. The music from King Chanticleer is very often performed at ragtime
festivals (never the lyrics), - even used as background music in films and accompaniment
to silent films. Ayer left "Tin Pan Alley" to return to England, where
he remained until the end of his life, composing mostly for the theater. His
shows there include The Bing Boys Are Here (1916), The Bing Boys
Are There (1917) and the Bing Boys On Broadway (1918) all of which
were produced at the Alhambra Theater in London.
Among his other compositions are: Another Little Drink, Bingo Farm,
and Zuyder Zee, a popular novelty song:
Zuyder Zee, Zuyder Zee,
Zuyder Beautiful Zee.
You unt me, You unt Me,
Oh How Happy Ve'll Be"
Thécla Badarzewska-Baranowska (1834-1861)
Born in Warsaw Poland. Badarzewska was a self trained amateur pianist who received
no formal musical education. She is known mainly for the Maiden's Prayer which
was published in 80 countries and it was published in versions for four hands,
eight hands, other instruments and voice. A composer of salon pieces, Badarzewska
published a number of follow on pieces to this work including Second prayer
of a Maiden, The Prayer's Answer. Her other published works include; Sweet Dreams,
Memories of a Hut and Memories of a Friendship. She died at the tender age of
27 in her native Warsaw.
Charles E. Baer (dates unknown) started his songwriting career in the late 19th century. The earliest song by him I've been able to find is his 1896 work, Pictures from the Other Side of Life which he wrote both words and music. That song is a rather lenghty work that speaks to a number of "scenes" in American life far from what we want to see; a gambler who has lost everything, a lonely mother who is forgotten, two brothers one of which became rich and the other destitute and a mother and child, cast off and homeless. Other songs by him include; My Sweet Eileen (1898, lyrics), When the Robin Red-breast, Sings his Home, Sweet Home (1901, lyrics), When the Orioles Come North Again (1906, lyrics) and For the Blue Juniata I Am Longing (1901, lyrics and music).
Edwin Eugene Bagley (1857 - 1922) Was one of
Americas most eminent bandmasters and composer of marches. His most famous march
is the National Emblem however many of his marches are still quite popular today
and are frequently played at military ceremonies. The tune to the National Emblem
was used in a novelty song, And The Monkey Wrapped His Tail Around The Flagpole.
Bagley began his music career at the age of nine as a vocalist and comedian
with Leavitts Bellringers, a company of entertainers that toured many
of the larger cities of the United States. He began playing the cornet, traveling
for six years with the Swiss Bellringers, after which time he joined Blaisdells
Orchestra of Concord, New Hampshire. In 1880, he came to Boston as a solo cornetist
at the Park Theater. For nine years, he traveled with the Bostonians, an opera
company. While with this company, he changed from cornet to trombone. He performed
with the Germania Band of Boston and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. By this
time he had already composed many marches, including Front Section, The Imperial,
The Ambassador, and America Victorious. Bagley never took a lesson on any musical
instrument. He was also a fine artist who could have made a name for himself
as a caricaturist.
Ernest R. Ball (b. July 21, 1878 Cleveland,
OH. d. May 3, 1927 Santa Ana, CA)
Ball was precocious in music from the start. He was given music instruction
at the Cleveland Conservatory, and as early as age 13 began giving music lessons
to others. Today he is noted mostly as one of America's best loved composers
of Irish songs and is often called the American Tosti (Francesco Paolo Tosti,
1846-1916, a prolific and talented Italian song composer and teacher.) Though
he was famed as a composer of Irish tunes, he wrote many other "mainstream"
songs, actually, many more than his "Irish" output.
In 1905, Ball was already in New York City and working as a relief pianist
at the Union Square Theater and later worked in Tin
Pan Alley at the Whitmark publishing house as a song demonstrator. Ball
remained a loyal employee of Whitmark for the rest of his life in spite of his
fame. Ball's early attempts at composing were self described
as "flops." In 1904 he wrote In The Shadow Of The Pyramids
with Cecil Mack. Introduced by the dynamic and popular May Irwin, that song
was also a "flop." In 1905 he was given a few verses written by the
then state Senator, James J. Walker, who later became famous as Jimmy Walker,
Mayor of New York City. He put one of the verse to music, and called it Will
You Love Me In December as You Do In May?. It became a national hit. This
song caused Ball to reassess his approach and in he later recounted that he
realized this song had "come from the heart" where his earlier songs
had been fabricated and structured. Ball said, "Then and there I determined
I would write honestly and sincerely of the things I knew about and that folks
generally knew about and were interested in."
From that beginning and from 1907 to 1910, Ball wrote a number of 'mainstream'
songs that were moderately successful. But in 1910, a collaboration with Chaucey
Olcott, changed his career. In that year, Ball wrote the Irish classic, Mother
Machree. Two years later, in 1912 the lyricist of Mother Machree,
Rida Johnson Young, joined him again to publish When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
and his position as a writer of Irish ballads was cemented forever. He wrote
hundreds of songs over his career, many Irish, many not and it is said his output
amounted to over 25 million copies of sheet music sold. His last song published
was appropriately, Irish, the 1927 hit Rose of Killarney with lyrics
by William Davidson.
Ball also enjoyed a long career in vaudeville as a singer of his own ballads.
During later appearances, he costarred with his wife, Maude Lambert. In 1927,
A few minutes after his act on a Santa Ana, CA vaudeville theater, he suffered
a fatal heart attack and died, just 49 years old. Fittingly, he had just performed
a medley of his greatest hits as a recap of his great musical accomplishments.
On hearing of his death, the great Irish tenor John Mc Cormack said; "Ernie
is not dead. He will live forever in his songs."
Ball was buried at Lake View Cemetery Cleveland, Cuyahoga County Ohio, USA
Billy Baskette (1884 - 1949) was very successful
with a number of prominent songs to his credit besides this one. He wrote Hawaiian
Butterfly(1917), Dream Train (1929) and Hoosier Sweetheart(1927)
to name only a few. One of his songs, Baby's Prayer Will Soon Be Answered
was written in 1919 in response to his earlier song Just A Baby's Prayer
at Twilight (For Her Daddy Over There) a pair of late war songs hoping
for a soldier's safe return.
Berlin. Born Isidore Baline in Temun, Russia, in 1888,
Berlin moved to New York City with his family in 1893. He published his first
work, Marie of Sunny Italy (Scorch
format) in 1907 at age 19 and immediately had his first hit on his hands. It
was at that time he changed his name to Irving Berlin. His total royalties for
this first song amounted to 37 cents. In 1911 the publication of Alexander's
Ragtime Band (MIDI) established his reputation as a songwriter. He
formed his own music-publishing business in 1919, and in 1921 he became a partner
in the construction of the Music Box Theater in New York, staging his own popular
revues at the theater for several years. Berlin wrote about 1500 songs. One
unique fact about Berlin is that he was not able to read or write music or play
the piano except in one key (F sharp). He picked out melodies or dictated them
and had assistants fill in the harmonies and accompaniment for him. Berlin never
seemed to give credit for these very talented people. In his later years, he
had a special device attached to his piano that allowed him to transpose any
song into his "favorite" key. His initial start in the music industry
was as a singer and then as a lyricist. It was only after great success in writing
lyrics that Berlin turned to melodies.
Whether for Broadway musicals or films, for humorous songs or romantic ballads,
his compositions are celebrated for their appealing melodies and memorable lyrics.
Among the numerous musical comedies and revues for which Berlin wrote music
and lyrics were Annie Get Your Gun (1946), and Mr. President (1962). His many popular songs include There's No Business Like Show Business, God Bless America, and White Christmas. In 1968 Berlin received
a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. On September 22nd 1989, at the age of 101,
Berlin died in his sleep in New York City.
It is almost impossible to provide a meaningful biographical sketch of Berlin
in only a few words, he is perhaps the most celebrated and successful composer
of American song from the Tin Pan Alley era. Way back in November of 1998 we
did a feature on
Berlin's music, which we updated early in 2003. In addition, we have added
a more extensive biography
of Berlin for those who want to know more about him.
Al Bernard (1888 - 1949)was a famous minstrel
singer who teamed up with the great ragtime composer J. Russell Robinson in
a vaudeville team called the Dixie Stars. They recorded songs together for a
number of famous labels. Bernard usually sang while Robinson played the piano
and added some vocals. Together they composed a number of hit songs including
Blue Eyed Sally and Let Me Be The First To Kiss You Good Morning. For a brief
period in the early 20's Bernard was teamed with the Great Jimmy Durante and
wrote the lyrics for Papa String Bean for Durante. Through it all Bernard continued
to be a popular recording star and enjoyed a long career as a singer. Some of
his recordings can still be found for sale across the net as prized collector's
items. Ernest Hare was also a singer of some fame during the twenties and from
1925 -29 was teamed with Billy Jones. Together they recorded a number of novelty
and comedy songs and were known as the "Happiness Boys." I could find
no information about Schafer.
John W. Bischoff (b. 1850, Chicago - d. 1909
Washington, D.C.) Blind from the tender age of two, Bischoff went on to become
a noted organist, compiler of musical collections and composer. His compilations
included a significant number of his own works and include Gospel Bells,
1883, God Be With You, 1880 and Not Half Has Been Told, 1877.
He was principal organist at the First Congregational Church in Washington from
1874 till his death in 1909.
Sir, Henry Rowley Bishop, (1786 - 1855) was,
during his times one of the most important composers in England. The first composer
to be knighted by Queen Victoria in 1842, Bishop was highly regarded as a composer
particularly of songs and opera. In spite of the enormous list of his stage
works, that includes no fewer than eight pieces based on Sir W. Scott and at
least seventeen Operas, his output contains little of interest or that is performed
today save that one simple song from his Opera Clari; the song Home,
Born in London, Bishop began composing at a very early age and studied under
the noted Cremonese composer Francesco Bianchi (1752 - 1810). At the age of
only eighteen he wrote the music to the stage work Angelina (1804)
and later, fro the ballet Tamerlan et Bajazet. His three act opera,
The Circassian Bride (1809) produced at the Drury Lane Theater is the
work that first brought Bishop into critical and popular notice. A tragic footnote
to history regarding The Circassian Bride is that the night after it's
first performance, the theater was destroyed in a fire and Bishop's only score
for the work was lost in the fire. So strong was the reception to that one performance
though that Bishop's work was acclaimed and in 1810, he was offered the prestigious
position of musical director of Covent Garden. During his thirteen year tenure
at Covent Garden, he produced many operas including The Lady of the Lake"
Guy Mannering, and The Slave.
In 1813, Bishop founded the Philharmonic Society and acted as conductor for
a period of two years during which he produced a number of oratorios and other
works. In 1825 he returned to opera and to the rebuilt Drury Lane Theater. In
18309 he was appointed musical director at Vauxhall Gardens and later, in 1840
& 41, he returned to Covent Garden as director.
1840, his last dramatic piece, The Fortunate Isles,was produced at
Covent Garden in honor of the queen's (Victoria) wedding. No stranger to academia,
Bishop also served as professor of music at Edinburgh University from 1841 to
1843 and in 1848 he became professor of music at Oxford. In 1842, he was knighted
by Victoria, the first composer to receive this honor.
During his long career, Bishop produced over one hundred and twenty-five operas,
operettas, ballets and other musical works. More than two thirds of his output
was entirely his own the others being adaptations or collaborations with other
composers or librettists. Unfortunately, it seems few if any of these works
save Home Sweet Home have survived to be found in the modern repertory.
Bishop died in 1855 and is buried at East Finchley Cemetery (formerly Saint
Marylebone Finchley, London, England
(image from http://www.findagrave.com
Charlotte Blake (Born, May 30th, 1885, Ohio; Died
August 21st, 1979, Santa Monica, CA). From around 1903 to 1912 Charlotte Blake
was a staff writer for Jerome H. Remick, proprietor of the Whitney Warner Publishing
Co., in Detroit, MI. Throughout this period she lived with her family at the
home address of Edward C. Blake, who headed up a truly traditional Michigan
enterprise: E. C. Blake & Co., "Dealers in Raw and Dressed Furs."
In the city directories, Charlotte Blake was simply identified as a "pianist"
or "clerk," but in fact she composed over 35 titles for Remick including
syncopated pieces, rags, novelettes, waltzes, and songs, several of which received
top billing in Remick's advertising campaigns. At first she was referred to
as "C. Blake, composer of 'Missouri Mule,' etc." but by 1906 the Remick
ads revealed her full name.
"Dainty Dames" Novelette: This beautiful, little, dainty
semi-classic by Charlotte Blake stands out prominently with the very best class
of leaders and is played continuously. It is called a Novelette and certainly
is novel in every sense of the word, and exceedingly melodious. Especially adapted
for Theatre and Concert work and is a most catchy Schottische.
In 1911 Remick published three songs plus an instrumental rag, which
received this amusing review:
With "rags" in general we are at enmity, and we pour out
the vials of
our wrath on the ragger who invented rag. But seeing that "rags" are
the market we must acknowledge them. As a sample of this peculiar kink,
Charlotte Blake's "That Tired Rag'" is as good as any of them.
[American Musician & Art Journal, Mar. 25, 1911, p. 18]
After 1919 Charlotte Blake seems to have abandoned her composing career.
She continued living with her family in the Detroit area at least through the
early 1930s and apparently never married. Eventually she moved to Santa Monica,
California where she died in 1979 at age 94.
Nan Bostick's chronological listing of Charlotte Blake compositions found via
titles from the Whitney-Warner and Jerome Remick Library of Congress claimants
file, Detroit Public Library's collection of sheets by Detroit composers, or titles
in my own, or various other folks' collections:
King Cupid (1903); The Missouri Mule March. (1904); Dainty
Dames - A Novelette (1905); The Mascot (March) (1905); My
Lady Laughter (1905); Love Is King (1906); Could You Read
My Heart (1906); A Night, A Girl, A Moon (1907) Curly March
and Two Step (1907); Orchids, Novelette Three Step. (1907); Hip
Hip Hooray (1907); The Last Kiss (1907); I Wonder If It's
You. (1907); Boogie Man, A Creep Mouse Fun (1907); So Near
and Yet so Far (1907); Gravel Rag (1908); In Memory of You
(1908); It Makes A Lot of Difference When You Are With The Girl You Love.
(1909); Poker Rag (1909); The Wish Bone Rag and Two-Step (1909);
Yankee Kid (1909); Honey Bug Song (1910); Bridal Veil
Waltzes (1910); You're a Classy Lassie (1910); Love Ain't
Likin', Likin' Ain't Love (1910); Meet Me Half Way (1910); Miss
Coquette (1910); Love's Dream of You (1910); Roses Remind
Me of You (1910); The Road to Loveland (1911); I Don't Need
the Moonlight to Make Love to You (1911); That Tired Rag (1911);
The Harbor of Love (1911); Queen of the Roses (1913); Land
of Beautiful Dreams (1913); Rose of the World (1915); Honey
When It's Money (1919).
James A. Bland (b. 1854, Queens NY, d. 1911,
Philadelphia) was one of America's earliest and more famous Black composers.
He was a performer and member of the "all Negro" minstrel group headed
by Billy Kersandis. Bland was at one time, the highest paid minstrel man in
America, earning over $10,000 in 1880, a huge salary at that time. He became
popular in Europe as well and toured Europe and lived in London for twenty years.
It is said he lived a lavish life and in spite of his incredible earnings, in
1901, he returned from Europe, penniless and broke, and went back to Washington,
DC. Several of his other songs have also been carried down through history as
lasting hits including, Oh, Dem Golden Slippers (1879), Hand Me Down
My Walking Cane (1880) and De Golden Wedding (1880). In addition
to these songs, he wrote well over 700 other songs. Bland was well educated,
attending night classes at Howard University and ultimately receiving his law
degree from there. He was the first Black man to be appointed examiner in the
United States Patent Office. Bland died of tuberculosis on May 6,1911. He was
buried in Marion Cemetery near Philadelphia and in spite of his fame and accomplishments
there was not even a death notice in the newspaper to mark his passing.
Walter Blaufuss band leader, composer
and radio personality and composed the "Breakfast Club Theme"
from the Don Mc Neill radio show of the same name that ran on from June 1933
to December of 1968! Before Garrison Keillor and Lake Wobegon, before Oprah,
Jay, Rosie, and Dave, there was Don McNeill and his Breakfast
Club. Walter Blaufuss was an important part of the show as both the orchestra
conductor but also as a regular on the show. In the photo here, Blaufuss is
on the right, about to eat a donut handed to him by Annette King while McNeill
is in the background.
Blaufuss' most enduring hit is no doubt My
Isle Of Golden Dreams (scorch) from 1919 but he is credited with a number
of other great hits from the period including; Your Eyes Have Told Me So,
1919 with Egbert Van Alstyne, popularized by John McCormack in the Film, I'll
See You In My Dreams and who also recorded Blaufuss' When You're in
Love in 1927.
As the NBC Musical Conductor for several years, Blaufuss' orchestra also recorded
a number of popular and classical works for major record labels including a
1935 recording of Strauss' Blue Danube on Calumet.
Henry Blossom (b. 1866, St. Louis, MO, d. 1919
New York City) Blossom is best known for his one lasting hit The Streets
Of New York ("East side, West side, all around the town.") from
the 1906 production The Red Mill, also in collaboration with Victor Herbert.
Blossom was primarily a librettist and lyricist in the musical world but his
original profession was that of an insurance broker. His Kiss
Me Again (Scorch format) was from the show Mlle. Modiste, first
staged in 1905. Blossom wrote the libretto (book) for no less than sixteen shows,
with his last, The Velvet Lady, staged shortly before his death in 1919.
Some of Blossom's works have been performed as recently as 1981.
Jacobs-Bond suffered many tragedies in her life but
managed to overcome them all through courage and determination. Her life is
inspirational and her ability to overcome the odds made her one of America's
most loved composers. We've featured many of her works on ParlorSongs and still
have many more to present. We recommend you spend the time to learn much more
about this remarkable woman by visiting our in
depth biography of her and our June,
2000 feature on her music. For even more of her songs we've published, use
our search page and search for "Carrie
Otto Bonnell though mentioned often in musical
contexts, it is almost always in the context of his writing of this arrangement
of Turkey in the Straw. It seems that most of his lasting works were
arrangements rather than outright original composition. He arranged The Cat
Came Back in 1893 for Harry S. Miller and that same year, Divorced
with Charles Moreland. We found at least two songs he wrote that were published.
In 1891 Bonnell wrote the music for She's More Than 7 with W.C. Robey's
lyrics. In 1892, he wrote The Man In The Moon May Be Looking with John
A. Fraser Jr. I've been unable to find any biographical data on Bonnell.
William Boyce (1710 - 1799) Composer of the
melody to The Liberty Song, Boyce is best known as one of England's greatest
dramatic composers. He was an accomplished organist and studied under a number
of luminaries of the period. He was appointed composer to the Chapel Royal and
the King in 1736 and the following year was chosen as the composer for the Goucester,
Worcester and Hereford choir music festival. In 1758 he became organist at the
Chapel Royal. He held a doctorate of music from Cambridge and composed a number
of works that are still in the repertoire. Among them are twelve symphonies,
a violin concerto and a number of oratorios.
Edward I. Boyle I've found little about Boyle but for one very intriguing statement calling him the " Celebrated Blind Entertainer" and two other titles besides Roguish Rosie Ray by him, A Ride in a Jitney For Mine (1915) and Jimmie Boy (1918). Surely there is a story worth finding and preserving about this man but unfortunately, I've had no luck finding it.
Stanley Carter and Henry Braisted
are another pair of "lost" songwriters. Both are credited with a few
other songs written together; The Girl I Loved In Sunny Tennessee published
in 1899, You're Not The Only Pebble On The Beach (18??), Whisper Your
Mother's Name (18??), At The Cost of a Woman's Heart (18??), The
Sporty Widow Brown (18??) and The Maiden Didn't Know A Single Thing
John W. Bratton, Born in Wilmington, Delaware
in 1867, Bratton enjoyed substantial popularity in the 1890's. . Bratton was
educated in Wilmington and at the Philadelphia College of Music. Early on, he
was a stage performer in both plays and as a singer. His primary musical activity
was as a composer and writer of Broadway shows in the early 20th century. many
of his published songs had little circulation and popularity beyond the context
of hsi shows. Some of his most notable shows were, Hodge Podge and Company
(1900), The Liberty Belles (1901), The School Girl (1904), Buster
Brown (1908) and The Newlyweds and Their Baby (1909).
Among his most popular songs were, I Love You In The Same Old Way, Darling
Sue with lyricist Walter H. Ford in 1896, My Sunbeam From The South,
In A Garden Of Faded Flowers, I Talked To God Last Night, In A Pagoda and
The Teddy Bear's Picnic. Unfortunately, few of his songs other than the
Teddy Bears Picnic have passed into the present as lasting hits. Bratton
died in 1947 in Brooklyn, NY.
J. Kiern Brennan ( b. 1873, San Francisco, d.
1948, Hollywood) began his musical career as a vaudevillian singer and turned
to writing lyrics. His biggest hit was A Little Bit Of Heaven, Sure They
Call It Ireland, written for the stage show The Heart Of Paddy Wack
in 1914. The music for that song was by Ernest R. Ball and with that start,
the two teamed for a long line of songs that were popular and lasting hits.
Though Ball did write some songs on his own and a few with other lyricists,
Brennan in generally considered to be Ball's chief lyricist. As a youth, Brennan
worked as a cowboy and took part in the Klondike gold rush. He worked as a singer
in a number of Chicago publishing houses and also wrote a number of stage show
scores including White Lilacs (1928), Boom! Boom! (1929) and Luana
(1929). In 1929, he focused his efforts on writing songs for Hollywood.
Ethel Bridges (1879 - 1951) Bridges greatest
collaboration was with the lyricist Dorothy Terriss (Theodora Morse)with whom
she wrote several other songs; Hawaiian Lullaby
(MIDI) (1919); Beautiful Hawaiian Love (1920); Ching a Lings Jazz Bazaar,
(1920) with Howard Johnson; Whispering and Hawaiian Lullaby, 1919. Among her
other works are Soldier's Life (1941) with lyricist Tom Woodburn. With so many
best selling works to her credit, you would think that she would rate mention
in more than a few reference volumes about American popular music yet I could
find no mention of her beyond song titles in the over 30 reference works I have.
What a slap in the face!
Clara M. Brinkerhoff (1830 - ?) Born Clara M. Rolph in London, was a music teacher, soprano vocalist and translator. She performed actively in New York from 1855 to 1860. Brinkerhoff translated musical reviews from French and Spanish for the New York Musical World. The famous composer and pianist Louis Gottschalk composed a piece for her to sing as did several other notable composers of the day.
Interestingly, during this same general era, another woman with the identical name was an inventor of telegraphic equipment improvements.
I've had some difficulty finding other titles by Brinkerhoff but among those I could find were; Darling I am Sad, One Flag or no Flag (1864) and Charley, or, A Mother's Fears. Romanza (1864)
James Brockman (1886 - 1967) studied music
at the Cleveland conservatory and early in his career was a comedian in stage
musicals. His most lasting hit, I'm Forever
Blowing Bubbles (MIDI) was introduced by June Caprice in the Passing
Show of 1918. Among his other hits were, Down Among The Sheltering Palms,
Feather Your Nest
(Scorch Format) and the great novelty song, I Faw Down An' Go Boom.
Brockman had a long and successful career, turning to film scores later in his
life. His partner, James Kendis (b. 1883, St. Paul, MN, d. 1946, Jamaica,
NY) had some of his greatest success in his collaborations with Brockman. Kendis
formed his own publishing company, Kendis Music Company. Some of his other hits
not collaborated with Brockman include, If I Had My Way, Angel
Eyes, and Come Out Of The Kitchen, Mary Ann.
Lester Brockton was actually a pseudonym
for Mayhew Lester Lake (1879 - 1955) who was one of the most prolific
arrangers and composers of band music. Lake was born in Southville Massachusetts
in 1879. After studies at the New England Conservatory of Music, Lake played
violin in the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He later became well-known as a conductor,
first at the Payret Theater in Havana, Cuba, and then with a number of stage
performers, including Sophie Tucker, Al Jolson, and Mae West. After moving to
New York, Lake made arrangements for some of American popular music's greatest
performers and songwriters including Victor Herbert, George M. Cohan, Percy
Grainger, Edwin Franko Goldman, John Philip Sousa, Henry Hadley, and Paul Whiteman.
For thirty-five years, beginning in 1913, Lake was also editor-in-chief of
the band and orchestra department at the music publisher Carl Fischer. The manuscripts
in this collection were used by Lake's concert band, the Symphony in Gold,
which he conducted for NBC radio. Lake's autobiography, Great Guys: Laughs
and Gripes of Fifty Years of Show-Music Business was published in 1983.
His music is featured on volume 79 of Robert Hoe's Heritage of the March
series. Lake published pieces under several pseudonyms including Lester Brockton,
Paul DuLac, Charles Edwards, William Lester, Robert Hall, and Alfrey Byers.
(Information from the University
of Maryland Universities Site, American Bandmasters collection. Lake biography
and page written by Patrick Warfield, ABA Project Manager )
Brooks ( b.1886, Amesburg, Ontario, Canada d. 1975.)
A child of Native American and Black parents, Brooks learned his keyboard skills
on the family pump organ. His father was a Preacher, and Shelton and his brother
would play the organ at services. (Shelton played, and his older brother pumped
the Bellows pedals which Shelton couldn't reach.) His family emigrated to Detroit,
and the 15 year old Shelton made some appearances as a child prodigy. In time,
he became a cafe pianist, and a very famous black performer. He performed as
a pianist, playing Ragtime around 1909 and began his composing career with mainly
Shelton wrote his first big hit in 1910, Some of These Days with his
own lyrics. He had already introduced the song in his own vaudeville act, when
Sophie Tucker's maid, introduced both him and the tune to Sophie. Tucker loved
it and she made it her theme song. Brooks also tried his hand at performing
is stage roles such as Plantation (1922), Dixie To Broadway (1924), and Ken
Murray's Blackouts of 1949. Perhaps Brook's best known hit was his 1917, hit
The Darktown Strutter's Ball. Among hos other great songs were Walkin'
The Dog, There'll Come A Time and Jean. Brooks enjoyed a long
recording career as well. Many of his recordings were comedic for example the
Okeah record 4632 carried the titles, Collecting Rents and Chicken
Thieves both comedy skits, not songs. Shelton died on On September 6, 1975.
(Biographical facts from kinkle V. 2, p. 625)
Arthur A. Brown, the composer
was born in 1877 and died in 1954. His best known composition is Glad Light
and that is the sum total of information I've been able to find about him.
A. Seymour Brown (b. 1885, Philadelphia - d. 1947,
Philadelphia) Brown was an actor and lyricist. In addition to his lyrics for
the 1914 work, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, his best known work is Oh
You Beautiful Doll (Scorch format) (1911). Brown also wrote lyrics
for a number of Broadway productions including; Rufus LeMaire's Affairs (1927),
Adrienne (1923) and A Pair of Queens (1916). As an actor he starred
in a number of productions including the 1907 musical The Grand Mogul.
Among his other songs are Gee, But I Like Music With My Meals with Nat
Lew Brown (1893 - 1958) wrote lyrics for some
of the most popular songs of the 1920s and 1930s as part of the song writing
team of De Sylva, Brown, and Henderson including The Best Things in Life
are Free, I Used to Love You But Its All Over Now, Life Is Just a Bowl
of Cherries, Youre the Cream in My Coffee and Sunny Side Up.
He was born Louis Brownstein in Odessa, Russia on December 10, 1893. His family
brought him to America in 1898 at the age of five and he attended De Witt Clinton
High School in the Bronx, New York. While still in his teens, he began writing
parodies of popular songs of the day, and eventually began writing original
lyrics. His first songwriting partner was Albert von Tilzer, an already established
composer fifteen years his senior, and in 1912 they had a hit with I'm The
Lonesomest Gal In Town. In 1916 the pair had another big hit with If
You Were the Only Girl and in the course of the next few years they had
a number of successful songs, one of which, Give Me the Moonlight, Give Me
the Girl, was revived in the 1950s by the popular British singer Frankie
In 1922, Brown met Ray Henderson, a pianist and composer, and they quickly
started writing songs together. Their first hit was Georgette, introduced
in the Greenwich Village Follies of 1922. In 1925, Brown and Henderson were
joined by lyricist Buddy De Sylva, creating one of the most influential and
popular songwriting and publishing teams in Tin Pan Alley.
With De Sylva and Brown collaborating on the lyrics, and Henderson writing
the music, the threesome contributed songs to several Broadway shows including
such as George Whites Scandals of 1925 and 1926 which featured the songs
The Birth of the Blues, "Black Bottom, and Lucky Day.
In 1928 the threesomes own Broadway musical, Good News, with a book co-authored
by De Sylva, opened in 1927 and ran for 557 performances. Among its hits were
The Best Things In Life Are Free, Good News, and Lucky In Love.
In 1928, Hold Everything! (book by De Sylva and John McGowan) opened
and ran for 413 performances, making a star of Bert Lahr. The songs included
Youre the Cream in My Coffee. 1929's Follow Thru, again
with a book co-authored by De Sylva, ran for 403 performances and introduced
Button Up Your Overcoat and in the 1930 production of Flying High,
Brown for the first time joined De Sylva and John McGowan as book writer, as
well, of course, as collaborating with De Sylva on the lyrics. Once again Bert
Lahr was in the cast, and the show ran for 347 performances.
In 1929, De Sylva, Brown and Henderson sold the publishing firm they had founded
in 1925 and moved to Hollywood under contract with Fox studios. Their first
film was The Singing Fool, starring Al Jolson, and included the trios
hit songs Sonny Boy and It All Depends On You. Say It With
Songs, another Jolson film, including the songs Little Pal and Sunny
Side Up and Just Imagine (the film version of Follow Thru
based on their Broadway hit), were both released in 1930.
In 1931, De Sylva left the team to work with other composers, and Brown and
Henderson continued working together producing Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries
and The Thrill is Gone (included in George Whites Scandals of 1931).
Brown collaborated with other composers, including Con Conrad, Moe Jaffe, Sidney
Clare, Harry Warren, Cliff Friend, Harry Akst, Jay Gorney, Louis Alter, and
Harold Arlen. In 1937, with composer Sammy Fain, he wrote one of the enduring
classics of the American popular song, That Old Feeling. In 1939, Yokel
Boy opened on Broadway with a book by Lew Brown, and lyrics by Lew Brown
and Charles Tobias (additionally, Brown produced and directed the show himself).
Songs included in this production included Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree
With Anyone Else But Me and The Beer Barrel Polka (with music by
In 1956, Hollywood produced a biographical film about the legendary threesome
of De Sylva, Brown and Henderson, entitled The Best Things in Life Are Free.
Lew Brown died two years after the release of the film on February 5, 1958 in
New York City. (Biography from the songwriter's Hall of Fame
Alfred Bryan (b. 1871, Ontario Canda - d. 1958,
New Jersey). A prolific and prominent lyricist of early Tin Pan Alley, Bryan
collaborated with some of the best composers including Percy Wenrich and Fred
Fisher. Bryan's most lasting hit was the classic, Peg
O' My Heart (MIDI) from 1913 with Fisher. Some of his other works include
It's A Cute Little Way Of My Own sung in 1917 by the great Anna Held
in the show Follow Me.
Dan Bryant (1833-1875) Bryant was christened Daniel Webster O'Bryant. He founded the Bryant Minstrel troupe and by the time this song was published had left minstrelsy and had taken to the stage to act in plays. Among the plays he performed in were, Handy Andy, Rory O'More, The Irish Emigrant and (of course) Pat Malloy.
Appropriately, all of the plays he performed in had room for a few Irish songs for Bryant to sing. Here is what The New York Times had to say about his performances: July 27, 1865
"WALLACK's THEATRE. -- Mr., DAN BRYANT's appearance here last evening attracted one of the largest audiences we have ever seen within the walls of this popular establishment Mr. BRYANT is already so great a favorite in another sphere of art, that the audience, reinforced with the lieges thus obtained, was kindly not only to the gentleman himself, but to all his surroundings. As the surroundings were not of the best, they have every reason to be thankful to the lieges.
Mr. BRYANT played in two pieces -- the "Irish Emigrant" and "Handy Andy," both of which have previously introduced the gentleman to a dramatic audience. They were played a few months since at the Academy of Music, on the occasion of a complimentary benefit which was tendered to Mr. BRYANT, who, we may now add, displayed then all the geniality that was noticeable in his excellent performance of last evening. We have many Irishmen on the stage, and the best are those who in their impersonations mark certain peculiarities of character in the Hibernian mode of doing and saying things. Mr. BRYANT unquestionably brings a fresh stock of manner and "business" to Irish parts. He is always occupied with the bye-play of the scene, without thrusting himself too prominently upon it, and his bye-play is extremely good. For the rest he speaks a brogue which, if it be open to criticism, is at all events very pleasant, and unusually quiet, genial, humorsome and telling. It is hard to criticize such pieces as the "Irish Emigrant" and "Handy Andy," but we may say that for Summer weather they are acceptable, and peculiarly so when rendered with the heartiness that marked the performance of the principal parts last evening. Mr. DAN BRYANT's success was indeed unmistakable and deserved. It will be his own fault, or the fault of a versatility that leads him into other channels, if he does not speedily become one of the best comedians on the American stage.
Ernie Burnett (b. Cincinnati, Ohio 1884 -
d. Sarnac Lake, New York, 1959) Like many composers of the era, Burnett spent
a few years as a vaudeville performer. He left the United States while still
a teenager to get a formal education in music abroad. He studied in Italy, Austria
and at the Charlottenburg Conservatory. On his return in 1901 he performed as
a pianist in vaudeville. He led his own orchestra and founded his own publishing
company. In WWI he served in the 89th division of the AEF. Melancholy
appears to be his only song composition of note.
Earl Burtnett (b. 1896, Harrisburg, IL - d.
1936, Chicago) Perhaps best known as a popular band leader in the 20s and 30s,
Burtnett also was a pianist in jazz bands, arranged music for Art Hickman and
wrote many very popular works, several of which are well known today. Educated
at Pennsylvania State College, he arranged music for Art Hickman and his band
till 1929 when he took over the band. Their good ensemble sound assured them
of play in some of the leading ballrooms in the midwest including the Drake
Hotel in Chicago. His many songs include; Canadian Capers (1915), Down
Honolulu Way (1916, ) Do You Ever Think Of Me? (1920), Leave Me
With a Smile (1921), Mandalay (1924) and 'Leven Thirty Saturday
Night (1930). Unfortunately, Burtnett's career was cut short by his untimely
death at only age 39.
Wakefield Cadman (1881-1946) A native of Pennsylvania,
Cadman was educated in Pittsburgh, where he spent time as a church organist
and music critic. In 1904, he began publishing organ pieces and ballads. But
it was an interest in American Indian lore than really launched his composing
Inspired by the various ethnological inquiries then in vogue in America's ill-fated
quest to preserve the dwindling Native American culture, Cadman spent the summer
of 1909 collecting and recording Omaha and Winnebago tribal melodies and studying
American Indian music. With a Native American princess, the mezzo-soprano Tsianina
Redfeather, he toured the country between 1909 and 1916, giving music-talks
Any reputation left to Charles Wakefield Cadman is based on a pseudo-Indian
song popular in the 1920s, called From
the Land of the Sky-Blue Water (Scorch format). In the 1930s, though,
he was San Diego's leading musical celebrity. (From an article
by Welton Jones in the San Diego Union Tribune and from PBS / WNET.org, reprinted
Anne Caldwell (b. Aug 30, 1867 Boston - d.
Oct 22, 1936 Beverly Hills ) I add this entry and vent, as I often have about
the infuriating loss of information about so many woman composers from America's
past. It often seems that we can find information on some of the least significant,
sometimes inept male composers while women of prodigeous talent are ignored.
None of my references provide any biographical information for Ms. Caldwel,l
and what a loss that is for all of us. I do know that she wrote a number of
books and lyrics for Hugo Felix and other composers. In fact, her credits include
many more works than Felix, as many as twenty-seven productions yet she has
been virtually ignored. Among her many credits (having written the book and
lyrics and in some cases the music as well!) are; The Top o' th' World,
she composed the music for this musical show in 1907, The Nest Egg, an
original play(1910), The Lady of the Slipper (1912), Chin Chin
(1914), The Lady in Red (1919), Hitchy-Koo (1920), The Magnolia
Lady (1924), Take the Air (1927) and Three Cheers (1928).
A 1975 (39 years after her death) revival of Very Good Eddie included
song lyrics from some of her prior works.
Hughie Cannon, an American composer from Detroit
(b. Detroit, 1877 - d. Toledo, OH, 1912) was a pianist for many vaudeville performers.
Next to "Bill Baily", his other greatest hit was He Done Me Wrong,
written in 1904 for the musical Frankie and Johnny. Cannon also wrote Just
Because She Made Dem Goo-Goo Eyes with John Queen in 1900 and I Hates
To Get Up Early In The Morning in 1901 also in collaboration with Queen.
Richard Carle ( b. Jul 7, 1871 Somerville, MA,
USA - d. Jun 28, 1941 North Hollywood, CA, USA ) Was a prominent producer, writer,
lyricist and composer who is best known for his many musicals, musical revues
and stage plays. He enjoyed a fairly long and productive career and staged many
works from 1899 to 1930. Among his works are; The New Yorkers, 1930;
Adrienne, 1923; The Broadway Whirl, 1921; The Cohan Revue of
1916, 1916; Jumping Jupiter, 1911; The Hurdy-Gurdy Girl, 1907
and Children of the Ghetto, his first staged work in 1899.
( Biographical data and play list from the Internet Broadway
Database at http://ibdb.com/person.php?ID=8297
Bob Carleton (1896 - 1956) did publish at least
three other songs during his career, Struttin' Jim in 1923, Teasin'
in 1922 which enjoyed a popularity similar to Ja-Da as a jazz work
and was regularly played and recorded by a number of bands of the jazz age,
and a late life hit, Where The Blues Were Born In New Orleans in 1947.
The latter was introduced by Louis Armstrong and his band in the film New Orleans
and also on record. Phil Harris also featured a version on record and radio.
I've been unable to find much more on Carleton.
Carroll was born born Nov. 28, 1892, Atlantic
City, New Jersey and died 1962, Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania. Self taught, Harry
was playing piano in movie houses even while he was still in grade school. He
graduated high school and went to New York City, where, during the day, he found
work as an arranger in Tin Pan Alley, and, during the night, playing in the
Garden Cafe on 7th Avenue and 50th Street. In 1912, the Schuberts hired him
to supply songs for some of their shows. He collaborated with Arthur Fields
on his first hit On the Mississippi, with lyrics by Ballard MacDonald
(for the show The Whirl of Society). Among Carroll and MacDonald's best known
compositions, are 1913's There's a Girl
in the Heart of Maryland (midi), and The
Trail of the Lonesome Pine (midi), and It Takes a Little Rain With
the Sunshine to Make the World Go Round.
In 1914, he wrote By
the Beautiful Sea, (Scorch format) with lyric by Harold Atteridge.
In 1918, Carroll produced his own Broadway musical Oh, Look!, and the
classic I'm Always Chasing
Rainbows, (Scorch format) was written with the lyric by Joseph McCarthy.
Harry married Anna Wheaton, and the two starred in vaudeville for many
years. After the decline of vaudeville, Harry was a 'single' act in various
cafes, where he sang his own songs.From 1914 thru 1917, Harry was the director
of ASCAP. Carroll is a Songwriters' Hall of Fame member.
Caryll (b.1861 in Liège, d. 1921, New York
City) Felix Tilkins, which was Caryll's real name, had emigrated to England
from Belgium in his youth. At first he had known hard times and earned his living
by giving music lessons to women in the suburbs; he was so poor that he of ten
had to go without a proper meal. Then he sold some numbers to George Edwardes
and was put under contract. Though the public knew him as lvan Caryll, everybody
in the theatre called him Felix. When conducting he used to sit as near the
footlights as possible and watch the artistes like a hawk when they were singing.
Though not a big man, great force radiated from him; when he was conducting
his big concerted numbers and finales, he would suddenly swing his body right
round and appear to sweep the orchestra along with him during the passage.
Caryll prided himself on being one of the best dressed men in town; he was
most extravagant and spent money as soon as he earned it. This peacock was in
his element driving up to the Gaiety in his Victoria, then hearing the audience's
applause as he walked on to the stage and took his bow. He became renowned for
his lavish hospitality; he used to entertain his theatrical friends in princely
style, was an excellent host and very popular. Geraldine Ulmar, his first wife,
has been mentioned as a Gilbert and Sullivan star. (Preceeding
biography and photo courtesy of The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive at http://diamond.boisestate.edu/gas
, Curator Paul Howarth, used with permission.)
As a composer of light opera and Broadway shows, Caryll was quite productive.
From those productions many of his songs became popular. His lifetime works
include the songs; Golden Moon (1887), Everything's At Home Except
Your Wife (1912), The Boy Guessed Right (1898), Venus Waltz
(1912), The Piccaninnies (1898), Thy Mouth is a Rose (1913), The
Runaway Girl (1898), Goodbye Girls, I'm Through (1914), Daisy
With the Dimple On Her Chin (1901), Love Moon (1914), The Toreador's
Song (1901), Oh, This Love! (1914), Coquin de Printemps (1905),
Ragtime Temple Bells (1914), Experience (1906), Along came
Another Little Girl (1917), Do You Know Mr. Schneider? (1907), Come
And Have A Swing With Me (1917), Come Back To Me: Do You Recall? (1909),
Follow The Girls Around (1917), By the Saskatchewan (1910), Wait
Till The Cows Come Home (1917), My Beautiful Lady (1910), Some
Day Waiting Will End (1918), Oh, Rosalie (1910), There's a Light
in Your Eyes (1918), The Kiss Waltz (1910), The Girl I Never Met
(1920), The Pink Lady (1911) and The Girl Who Keeps Me Guessing
James G. Clark. In researching Clark, I encountered an 1880 edition of Potters American Monthly, an illustrated magazine. Potter devoted several pages to Clark's life and career as an American composer. The article is somewhat lengthy but in my opinion, merits re-publication here to shed light on an otherwise forgotten composer and to enjoy the style of writing of the period.
"No introduction to the readers of the 'MONTHLY' will be necessary for the subject of Mr. James G. Clark. As poet and recitationist, song composer and vocalist, he has made himself heard and known from one end of the land to the other. For many years he has recited his own poems and sung his own songs throughout nearly every State in the Union, until with them, his face and voice have become familiar and home-like. To this acquaintance already made, it is but natural that the public should feel interested in adding some knowledge of the former life of one who bas done so much to give them entertainment and enjoyment.
James G. Clark was born in Constantia. Oswego County, New York State; and there. on the shores of the beautiful Oneida Lake he spent his early years: until he attained his majority.. His father was a prominent farmer and surveyor, and the: son's boyhood was passt'd between his studies and assisting about the farm. It is to his mother perhaps that he owes principally his poetical and musical tastes and inclinations, as they are to some degree inherited. She was of a highly sensitive, poetical and musical organization, and was a remarkably sweet and expressive singer. While attending to her household duties she was constantly singing,. and her children were born with her gift, and were natural musicians. When be was but three years old she taught James, seated upon her knee, to sing Kirke White's "Star of Bethlehem" to the air of " Bonnie Doon ", reciting every word distinctly - a trait, by the way, that still marks his public entertainments. 'Tis pity that it should be an uncommon one.
He was first led to compose music, or rather to improvise it, by becoming acquainted with poems that he longed to sing, but for which he knew no tune. Among them were many of Tom Moore's. These lyrics he would commit to memory, and at work or at play, at home, in the woods. or on the lake. he would sing them to melodies of his own invention; for the music already set to them was unknown to him. The poems of Tom Moore and of Ossian, in little pocket volumes, were constant companions of his toil, and made all labor seem light. After satisfying himself with the melodies he bad set to his favorite poems, be would try their effect upon his companions and then upon his parents and an elder sister, Mrs. Haynes, to whom he was devotedly attached. At home he seems to have met with every encouragement, the. family considering his efforts something remarkable for a boy of sixteen, as he then was. Of this time he writes, "My parents and this noble and beloved sister saw promise in my crude efforts at composition, and were always ready to lend me their aid and sympathy. The idea of ever publishing any of my improvised tunes had not entered my brain. I was fascinated with the wealth of imagery and of melody expressed in the poetry, and sang them almost involuntarily, simply because they seemed. to burst into melody of their own accord as I repeated them over and over in solitude or in company with other boys." The songs of Moore that charmed and haunted him most were " Araby's Daughter," "Dear Harp of my Country," "The Minstrel .Boy," "Let Erin remember the Days of Old," "O Breathe Not his Name" and that exquisite lyric referring to Robert Emmett's betrothed, "She is far from the land where her young Hero sleeps."
During all this time he never supposed that he should subsequently set music to his own poems. and sing them and hear them sung by others in all parts of the land. In fact, he seems to have had no ambition in that direction, never having made any attempts in the way of poetry until after e was seventeen years old. It was then the "spirit manifestations began to appear and make themselves felt, and resulted in innumerable verses on "Time," "The Tempest," "Lost Ships" and kindred topics. They were crude enough, as may be supposed, but always musical, for his ear was so attuned that he could not write otherwise. These he generally submitted to his fa!her, who had some taste for poetry, and a rarely intelligent and critical mind; but as for music, he never learned but three tunes in his life, and those his wife taught him, after many trials that be might join in the family worship. To quote again from a letter of Mr. Clark: "My good father, of blessed memory, always found something to commend as well as criticize in my efforts. and like my mother and elder sister. always encouraged me. At last I wrote a poem of some three hundred lines" called "The Maiden of the Wave, an Indian Tale of Oneida Lake." It was mostly composed as I walked up and down the shores of that beautiful sheet of water 'by moonlight alone.' After rewriting and revising the poem, I took it to Syracuse. New York, and offered it in person to the Daily Standard for publication. It is now an influential Republican newspaper. but was then a little sheet, of limited circulation, edited by Moses Sommer's, who is one of the most genial and generous of men, treated the verdant and embarrassed young poet with great kindness and consideration, and after reading a few lines of the production, accepted it with thanks. It was published. and made me for a time quite famous among tube readers of the paper and in my native village."
Soon after this his father began to think it about time he should choose some business pursuit, and, to that end, he apprenticed him to a country merchant, Mr. H. S. Conde in the village of Central Square, some ten miles west of the old farm. Mr. Conde, an excellent and intelligent man, who perfectly understood his business, did his best to make of the young clerk a. successful merchant; but all his efforts were of little avail. It wasn't in our budding poet to keep store for a living. Nothing pleased him better than to be excused from business and to stroll off by himself through the beech and maple grove at the edge of the village and dream over the poems and songs that, in spite of work, seemed striving for expression within him. And besides, he had something else to dream about. Yes he was in love. But let him give his reminiscence in his own words: "I was in love with Deacon Mcfarlane's sweet·faced adopted daughter, Mary. Between Mary in my heart, and the poetry in my head, I contrived to be but a poor clerk for Mr. Conde. One night after the store was closed, an intense longing came over me to see my ladye love. She was only ten miles away like Sheridan. It was moonlight in June, and Mr. Conde's gray mare was in the barn. Asking no questions, for conscience' sake, concerning my right to appropriate the steed without permission, I saddled the creature and galloped off. I reached the house of Mary at about midnight, and, as was my romantic custom, awoke the good Scotch family with a serenade. Mary dressed herself as speedily as possible and came down to the front door to meet me. After we had watched the moonlight on the lake for an hour or so, I bade her good-night and returned to my place of business. It was after three o'clock in the morning before I and Conde's mare were safely stabled. The face of my employer looked serious when I met him in the morning. It seems that one of the other clerks had seen my departure and arrival and had told of it. The good hearted merchant took me to one side, and without once alluding to my escapade, quietly suggested that he had grave doubts about my being able to make a success of mercantile pursuits, and that I had better give it up. I agreed with him, as I had long been of the same opinion, but did not care to 'break it to him suddenly.' His action saved me the trouble. He was more than just to me in our settlement, and we parted good friends."
And so ended the attempt to make a business man of him. He now had time and opportunity to devote to his studies, that had been for some time neglected; and also to take thorough musical instruction under good masters, of which he eagerly availed himself. It was about this period that he wrote the beautiful and familiar hymn, "The Mountains of Life." His mother had suggested to him to write a hymn, and it was to gratify her that he undertook to do so. For months the subject haunted him, and at last the three stanzas were committed to paper, and presented to his mother for a first reading. "I shall never forget." he writes, "the effect they produced upon her, she read them over several times and literally baptized them in tears. It would seem as though the blessing she imparted to that poem was prophetic of its future career." "The Mountains of Life" was first published in the Syracuse Journal, and has since gone all over the land through the press, and in educational works and church tune books. It has been plagiarized by a dozen hymn-writers, and, as an eminent doctor of divinity has expressed it, "been seed corn for the production of more than a score of popular hymns and revival songs."
It was not long after this that he composed both words and music, that ever popular song, "The Old Mountain Tree." It was published by Oliver Ditson, of Boston, who gave great encouragement to its young and inexperienced author, just started in life, and for which he still feels grateful. The song was received with great favor; and his ambition once fired by the spark of success, he had not long to wait for a new inspiration. "The Rover's Grave" was his next song, and equally well received; and then he followed "The Rock of Liberty," and "Meet Me by the Running Brook."
These songs were first introduced by "Ossian's Bards," a very popular concert troupe, of which Mr. Clark himself was musical director, and the famous humorist, Ossian E. Dodge the organizer and proprietor. When "Ossian's Bards" were disbanded, Mr. Clark took to the field alone, and has given musical readings and ballad entertainments throughout the States ever since, with the exception of a few months in 1839, when he was again associated with Mr. Dodge, with Mr. Charles F. Browne ("Artemus Ward") as advance agent. On the tour he met Coates Kinney, editor of the Zenia (Ohio) News , and author of that beautiful song, ""Rain on the Roof." Mr. Clark set it to music, and the song became very popular, and has since gone into many music and glee books.
Mr. Clark's solo concerts, if they may be so termed, are in the form of musical lectures, combining lecturing, singing and recitation, so as to present a pleasing variety of sentiment, song and humor. They are in no way sensational, and never fail to attract and interest the more cultured and refined of the communities in which he gives hid entertainment.
His last tour with Mr. Dodge was cut short by a cold on the lungs which led to a severe attack of lung fever. His family were then located at Dansville, New York, to which place he hastened. On the morning after his arrival he was prostrated with congested lungs; and for six days he fasted in order to break up the fever. It was during those six days that he composed the words and music of "The Beautiful Hills," perhaps the best song he ever wrote. He says: "As I lay upon my bed, the words, melody, and harmony were all clearly and distinctly revealed to me as though a band of singers had been rendering them within my hearing; and before the impression left me, I had transferred it to music-paper. The song was afterwards published, and dedicated to Dr. James C. Jackson, in whose care I had been, and who had saved my life." Mr. Clark regards "The Beautiful Hills" as his most successful song, and one that has sold more largely than any other, unless it be "The Old Mountain Tree."
"Where Have the Beautiful Gone?" "'Tis Sweet to be Remembered," "Moonlight and Starlight," and "We Cannot Give Thee Up," a temperance song, were all well received, while "Marion Moore," one of the most perfect of his lyrics, was never generally popular.
Among his contributions to the songs of the war, and which were widely copied by the press, are; "Let Me Die With My Face to the Foe," "Freemont's Battle Hymn," "The Voice of the Army" (afterwards reissued as "Logan's Gathering," with a portrait of General Logan on the title page); and "The Children of the Battle-field."
Mr Clark almost invariably wrote the poetry as well as the music for his songs. Among the few exceptions, and which have been successes, might be mentioned the following songs, to which he composed the music; "When the Mists Have Rolled Away," by Anna Herbert; "Dare to Say No," by Horace M. Richards, and "Nowhere to Go," by Mary Sarvossa, both temperance songs; and "We've Drunk from the Same Canteen," a camp song by Charles G. Halpine ("Miles O'Reilly)."
Among Mr. Clark's latest popular songs are "The Isles of the By-and-By," and "Where is Home?" an exquisitely beautiful song, by Father Ryan, the "poet priest." He has also lately composed a campaign song, published by Root & Sons of Chicago called "The Solid North," which promises to be very popular as a political campaign song.
Perhaps Mr. Clark's more enduring fame will rest rather on facility as a songwriter and ability as a poet than as a composer of music. He says himself that his music is only the imperfect incident of sentiment embodied in lyric poetry by himself and others, and that he is never satisfied with his efforts at musical composition. However that may be, the people seem to differ with him in that respect, for few are those whose melodies carry with them a greater charm or give more real, unalloyed enjoyment, They never have the general flashy popularity of many for a time better known but ephemeral productions; but they live, and are in demand by the intelligent and thoughtful year after year, when as his publisher, Oliver Ditson has remarked, "the so-called 'popular songs' are forgotten."
Some of his poems excel in beauty of figure and expression, and will always retain for their author a place in future poetical anthologies. Among his best known poems, some of which travel annually through the press from one end of the Union to the other are "Leona," "The Boatman's Dream," a glowing and beautiful tribute to the Martyr-President, the length of which only precludes its reproduction here; "Art thou Living Yet?" "Marion Moore," "November," "The Mountains of Life," The Beautiful Hills," and "Going Home."
Mr. Clarks poems have appeared in collected book form, though many of them have place in collections and school readers. Several selections may be found accompanied by a graphic sketch of the poet in a volume lately issued by D. Lothrop & Co., Boston, entitled "Waifs and their Authors," edited by A. A. Hopkins of the American Rural Home, Rochester, New York.
He has lately written his most lengthy and important poem, called "The Mount of the Holy Cross," the subject being one of the Colorado mountains of that name, and composed while visiting in that region a short time since. The poem has not as yet been published, but is recited by Mr. Clark at his entertainments, receiving a gratifying reception, not the least of which being a complimentary letter from the poet Longfellow. It is Mr. Clark's intention to issue the ode in book form, illustrated, during the coming season.
Mr. Clark is a man of family, being blessed with a wife and two children living. His present home is at Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he is on the editorial staff of the Saturday Evening Spectator, a first class weekly, literary and family newspaper. At the age of sixteen he was confirmed in the Episcopal Church; but in a characteristic letter, he says, "In religion I am an Independent - a sort of guerilla, fighting error of all kinds, but working either outside or inside of organizations as circumstances may direct. I respect all beliefs through which people find help and inspiration, from the Roman Catholic to the most liberal; but do not choose to confine myself to any one method or set of methods, believing that they all contain a mixture of truth and error, and not wishing to place myself in such relations to them that I will be blinded to the faults or virtues of any."
In the cause of good he has sung like a Sankey; in the cause of temperance he has talked like a Murphy. The portrait of Mr. Clark at the head of this article will give the reader a tolerably fair idea of his personal appearance. He is tall, nearly six feet in height, muscular and robust, weighing one hundred and eighty pounds, and well proportioned. His health is excellent and he prides himself on having always been a total abstinent from stimulants and narcotics. His admirable organization gives him a remarkable power of endurance, whether the call be made upon his intellectual or physical faculties. In conversation he is remarkable for graceful fluency and brilliant expression, while few are gifted with a more ready wit, or with better faculty for agreeable repartee."
Grant Clarke ( b. 1891, Akron, OH - d. 1931,
California) who was also a major hit lyricist from the period. Clarke wrote
material for such greats as Bert Williams and Fanny Brice. He was a publisher
and also a staff writer for several NY music publishers. His hits include a
number of classics including Am I Blue? and Second
George Linus Cobb ( b. Mexico, New
York on August 31, 1886, d. Brookline, Mass. December 25, 1942) was best known
for his Ragtime works such as Russian Rag
(Midi) featured in our Ragtime
Edition in June, 1999. Educated at Syracuse University, he won a composition
contest in Buffalo with the song Buffalo Means Business. He started
out writing mostly Rags then moved to NYC and started writing songs in Tin Pan
Alley. He went to work for Boston publisher Walter Jacobs and later became editor
for Jacob's music magazine The Tuneful Yankee, later changed to Melody.
and wrote a monthly column giving advice to would be songwriters. His first
published Rag was Rubber Plant Rag, in 1909. That was followed by Canned
Corn Rag in 1910 and Bunny Hug Rag in 1913. That same year he collaborated
with the great Jack Yellen and wrote the hit song All Aboard For Dixieland.
Cobb seemed to find a "zone" with the Dixie songs and wrote several
other big hits with Dixie themes including the million seller, Alabama Jubilee
in 1913 and a later hit Are You From Dixie? in 1915. The afore mentioned
Russian Rag was written in 1918 and it too sold over a million copies
and became a perennial vaudeville virtuoso favorite for many years. The song
was such a hit that the publisher asked Cobb to write another Rag using the
same Rachmaninoff prelude as a basis. Cobb then penned The New Russian Rag.
Both Russian Rags are considered masterpieces and are still favorites of skilled
pianists the world around.
Will D. Cobb (1876 - 1930) Cobb, a Philadelphia
native was educated at Girard College there. He was a department store saleman
who wrote song lyrics on the side. One of his earlest works was Goodbye Dolly
Gray with Paul Barnes in 1897. His career really took flight when he met
Gus Edwards and they began collaborating on songs. their greatest hit is probably
School Days (scorch format) in
1906 but they had many other hit songs as a team. Cobb also collaborated with
other important composers of the period. Cobb died in New York City in 1930.
M. Cohan was born in Providence, RI on either the 3rd
or 4th of July 1878. Cohan always used the 4th as his birthday and it certainly
served him well to do so throughout his career and after as he became our "Yankee
Doodle Boy". From boyhood, he toured New England and the Midwest with his
parents and sister in an act called The Four Cohans. By 1900, the Cohans were
one of the leading acts in vaudeville. He also played the violin, wrote sketches
for the family show and started writing songs by age 13. It was during these
early years that he adopted the swaggering and brash image that was so well
portrayed by Cagney. His first original musical was Little Johnny Jones
(1904), which he wrote entirely himself and in which he starred as the lead.
It was successful and included the hit Yankee Doodle Boy and Give
My Regards To Broadway (Scorch format). In 1906, his reputation was
improved more with the productions George Washington Jr., and Forty-five
Minutes From Broadway.
Cohan continued to write and star in musical comedies into the 1920's but at
the same time had formed a publishing house in collaboration with Sam Harris
with whom he also opened a number of playhouses and theaters including the George
M. Cohan Theater in New York. Cohan wrote over 500 songs and it is said that
Over There (Scorch format) was
the most popular morale song for BOTH world wars. Interestingly, Cohan was untrained
as a musician and he professed to write only simple songs with simple harmonies
and limited ranges. Regardless, his contribution to vaudeville, musical theater
and popular music is undeniable and profound. Cohan died in New York on November
Lincoln Colcord, the lyricist of
the University of Maine's Stein Song,
(MIDI) may well have the most unique birthpace of any composer from the Tin
Pan Alley years. He was born in 1883 at sea off Cape Horn, South Africa. "Captain
Lincoln Alden Colcord and his new wife, Jane Sweetser Colcord, departed on a
two-year voyage on the bark Charlotte A. Littlefield in June of 1881. The voyage
would take them around the world and witness the birth of their daughter Joanna
in the South Sea Islands and young Lincoln's arrival during a treacherous winter
storm off Cape Horn."( http://home.gwi.net/~tilbury/letters).
Lincoln (jr) attended the University of Maine and graduated in 1906. The arranger
of the music, A.W. Sprague later joined the U of Maine faculty and chaired the
Department of Music. It would appear that the Stein Song was his only
foray into songwriting.
Edward W. Corliss should not be as elusive as
he seems to be. Having written three Broadway shows and several popular songs,
it would seem that the available resources would at least mention him however,
none in our library so much as mention his name. However, we have found evidence
of a number of songs he published and at least one, written for Brown University's
Hocky Team in 1895, Ki-Yi-Yi (To be sung when the hocky team scores.)
From that, I assume he attended Brown around that time. Among his other known
songs are; The Man Behind The Gun (1899), Rosalie (1901), ,
Katrina (1902), Psyche
(1902, Scorch format) and Life Is Quite Endurable (1908).
Con Conrad (b. 1891, New York City, d. 1938,
Van Nuys, CA.) was born Conrad K. Dober and came to Tin Pan Alley by way of
vaudeville where he had starred since age 16. His first published song was Down
In Dear New Orleans in 1912. He was a partner in a publishing firm, The
Broadway Music Corporation, with Henry Waterson (later of Berlin, Waterson &
Snider) and by 1918 was associated with other publishers, including Shapiro
Bernstein. Conrad's 1920 hit Margie was a resounding hit and established
Conrad as a major songwriter of the era. Margie was written for Eddie cantor
and the name came from Cantor's five year old daughter. Cantor introduced the
song at the Winter Garden and later included it in the 1921 revue, The Midnight
Rounders. Conrad wrote a number of other big hits from 1920 through the
30's till his death. Some of his big hits included, Barney Google,
1923 with Billy Rose , Ma!
(He's Making Eyes At Me), 1921 and Prisoner of Love in 1931.
Lynn Cowan is yet another of those elusive composers
for whom I've been unable to find any substantial biographical information.
There was a Lynn Cowan who performed in a number of film musicals as well as
silent films from 1924 to 1934 but I've been unable to make a connection to
this composer. Cowan is credited with at least three songs I have found; first,
his wonderful 1918 work, Kisses
(Scorch format) with Alex Sullivan, then in 1928 he published Dream House
with lyrics by Earl Foxe and then in 1929, a song for the film The Great
Gabbo; I'm In Love With You with lyrics by Paul Titsworth.
C. (Carl) Cramer was the brother of Johann Baptist Cramer (1771 - 1858) a prominent German composer and musician and son of Wilhelm Cramer a celebrated composer, violinist and conductor. Carl was a also a celebrated violinist and a respected music teacher. He also composed a number of works including Le Petit Rien, a set of Etudes for piano and the melody for How Can I Leave Thee as arranged by Petri. What is unknown to me at this time is whether or not this song was originally titled as the same and whether or not the lyrics were the same when originally written by Cramer.
Henry Creamer was born in 1879 in Richmond, Virginia. One of America's
most prominent African American songwriters and performers, his career spanned
the golden age of Tin Pan Alley and he was involved in just about every aspect
of the music business. He worked for the music publisher Gotham-Attucks for
a while, sang, danced clowned and performed in Vaudeville with his pianist and
co-composer, John Turner Layton. He also wrote material for Broadway productions
from 1920 to 28. His compositions include That's a Plenty (1909), After
You've Gone (1918), Dear Old Southland (1921), 'Way Down Yonder
In New Orleans (1922) and If I Could Be With You (1930). Creamer
died in New York City October 14, 1930. (Life facts from kinkle, Vol 2, p. 758)
Crockett (pseudonym Effie Canning)
(1857 - 1940) About all that any reference on the net has to say about Canning-Crockett
is that; "she was an American actress and baby-sitter. She wrote and composed
the song "Rock-a-Bye Baby" in 1872." I was about to name her
as a one hit wonder but did manage to find a few other songs she wrote that
were published by Chas. Blake in Boston. Blake published a folio of her works
in 1887 that included; Safely Rocked in Mother's Arms, Don't Tread
on the Daisies and Tapping on the Panes.
Joseph M. Daly wrote a number of other works, most
of which were songs rather than instrumental rags. Included in his credits are
Scented Roses Waltzes 1909, Good Fellowship; March and two-step,
1912, Just for a Dear Little Girl, 1910 and The Chicken Reel
from 1910 which gained a certain amount of notoriety in being performed by Garrison
Keillor et. al on the Prairie Home Companion in January of 2000. As well as
having written many contemporary works, Daly also had his own publishing house
and had some distinction in publishing at least one of Joplin's Rags.
Benny Davis (1895 - 1979) Davis was primarily
a lyricist having written some of Tin Pan Alley's greatest hits. His earliest
start in the music business was at age 14 touring with Benny Fields' Tours as
an accompanist to Blossom Seeley. He later focused almost entirely on writing
lyrics after writing the smash hit Margie in 1920 with Con Conrad. He
collaborated with some of the greatest composers of the era including Milton
Ager, J. Russel Robinson, Billy Baskette and Harry Akst. He wrote the lyrics
for several Broadway productions including Artists and Models of 1927,
Sons o Guns and 3 editions of Cotton Club revues. Davis'
output was prodigeous and resluted in one of the largest catalogs of credits
from that era. Many of Davis' songs were performed in motion pictures and his
film credits include older as well as some very recent films including The
Cotton Club, The Lady In Red and Son of Mask. His hit songs
include; Goodbye Broadway, Hello France
(Scorch version) (1917), Margie (Scorch)
(1920), Angel Child (1922), Baby Face (1926), I Still Get A
Thrill (1930), Chasing Shadows (1935), All I Need Is You (1942)
and his last, Follow The Boys (1963). Davis was inducted into the Songwriters
Hall of Fame in 1975.
Gussie Lord Davis, (b Dayton, Ohio, 1863 -
d. New York, 1899) one of the late 19th century's first commercially successful
African-American songwriters. Davis was probably the first Black man to gain
success in Tin Pan Alley. He held a number of jobs before becoming involved
with music. At one time he was a Porter on the Railroads, and later was a janitor
at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. It was while sweeping the floors at
the conservatory, that he managed to pick up bits and pieces of musical knowledge,
and was soon writing ballads. The only musical training he gained was from private
study provided him by teachers at the Cincinnati Conservatory. His first published
work was in 1880, We Sat Beneath The Maple On The Hill. He later became a protégé
of songwriter James E. Stewart who helped Davis break into the music publishing
world,. In 1890n he moved to New York and soon became one of Tin Pan Alley's
top songwriters. In 1895 he won second place in a contest for the ten best songwriters
in the USA. He was the first Black songwriter to win international acclaim for
his ballads. The New Grove Dictionary Of American Music describes his music
as " sweet lyrical melodies in waltz rhythm with heart wrenching texts.
Among the over 300 songs Davis published were a number of other popular works
including; If I Only Could Blot Out the Past, 1896, My Creole Sue,
1898, My Little Belle Creole, 1900 and another wedding tearjerker,
She Waited at the Altar in Vain in 1897. Davis'greatest hit was the
1896 In The Baggage Coach Ahead (also a supreme tear jerker). Supposedly,
when Davis was a railroad porter, he found a young child crying. The child's
mother was "in the car ahead', in a coffin. A fellow porter, moved by the
tale, wrote a poem about it. Years later, Davis set this poem to music, and
sold it outright to publisher Howley, Haviland and Dresser for just a few dollars.
Howley induced Imogene Comer to use the song in her act, and it brought a small
fortune for the publisher, but nothing more for Davis.
Bartlett Davis unlike many woman performers and composers
is well remembered and we have a good biographical sketch thanks to the 1893
book, A Woman of the Century Edited by Frances E. Willard and Mary A.
Livermore. In that tract the authors say the following about her. "DAVIS,
MRS. JESSIE BARTLETT, prima donna contralto, born near Morris, Grundy County,
Ill., in 1860. Her maiden name was Jessie Fremont Bartlett. Her father was a
farmer and a country schoolmaster. He possessed a remarkably good bass voice
and had a knowledge of music. The family was a large one, and a sister about
a year older, named Belle, as well as Jessie, gave early evidence of superior
vocal gifts. Their father was very proud of their talents and instructed them
as well as he could. Before they were twelve years of age they were noted as
vocalists throughout their neighborhood. They appeared frequently in Morris
and surrounding villages and cities in concert work, and they soon attracted
the attention of traveling managers, one of whom succeeded in securing them
for a tour of the western cities to sing in character duets. The older sister
was of delicate constitution and died soon after the engagement was made.
Jessie Bartlett then went to Chicago in search of fame and fortune, and was
engaged by Caroline Richings, with whom she traveled one season. She was ambitious
to perfect herself in her profession, and she soon returned to Chicago and devoted
herself to the study of music, and at the same time held a good position in
a church choir. During the "Pinafore" craze Manager Haverly persuaded
her to become a member of his original Chicago Church Choir Company, and she
assumed the role of Buttercup. That was the beginning of her career as an opera
singer. Since that time, through her perseverance and indefatigable efforts,
aided by her attractive personality, she has steadily progressed in her art,
until she is one of leading contralto singers of the United States.
Her histrionic powers are not in the least inferior to her vocal ability. She
is one of the best actors among the singers now on the American stage. She made
her debut in grand opera in New York City with Adelina Patti and the Mapleson
Opera Company. Adelina PATTI sang Marguerite and Jessie Bartlett Davis sang
Siebel. Other grand operas in which she won distinction are "The Huguenots,"
"Martha," "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "Il Trovatore,"
"Dinorah" and others. In comic opera she has probably a more complete
repertoire than any other singer now before the public. For the last four years
she has been the leading contralto of the Bostonians.
Jessie Bartlett became the wife of William J. Davis, a Chicago theatrical manager,
in 1880. Her home is in Chicago, with summer residence in Crown Point, Ind.
Mr. Davis owns an extensive stock farm at that place. Her home life is very
pleasant, and she divides her time into eight months of singing and four months
of enjoying life in her city home or on the farm in Indiana. She is the mother
of one son, eight years of age. Besides her musical and histrionic talents,
Mrs. DAVIS has decided literary gifts. She is the author of Only a Chorus
Girl and other attractive stories and a number of poems. She has composed
the music for several songs."
Uriel Davis Cited by one website as the "Dance Master," Davis wrote a number of works that were based on dance fads of the 1910s. At least two of his works were original dances fopr which he wrote the music; The Davis Foxtrot (1914), and The Horse Trot (1912.) Among his other dance works are, One Wonderful Night. Hesitation Waltz (1914.) He also is credited with a few songs, among them was Broadway Is My Home Sweet Home (1915)
Arthur Deagon, (b. ca. 1873 probably in Ayr, Waterloo,
Ontario, died in Boston, 1927) a Canadian actor/singer and a fascinating figure
of Canadian and American theatre history. He was the son of Scots-Irish parents
Hiram and Elizabeth and used his upbringing to great effect in his career (as
an "ethnic" character actor and as a storyteller). In interview, he claimed
to have sung in the church choir and studied singing in Rochester, New York,
and have worked in the lumber camps and mines of Michigan and as a professional
wrestler before launching his career as "The Cowboy Singer" at age 20. From
the start he was a highly physical performer (despite his huge size), and a
singer of the first order. Newspapers from across the United States and Canada
were noticing him as early as 1898. One of his earliest reviews (provenance
unknown) called him a new Irish star, "the sweetest of all singing comedians"
in a production of Dion O'Dare. Tours were already taking him back and forth
across the border including to cities in New Jersey, to Saratoga, New York,
and to the Toronto Opera House. He played in vaudeville musicals, comedy and
melodramas like The Highwayman (1899), King Dodo (1900), The
Belle (1901) and the smash sensation The Time, The Place and the Girl
(1907) which toured America and Canada. He recreated his career (c. 1912) as
a monologuist, telling stories of his life before and during his career. He
appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies productions from 1909 to 1914. In 1913, he
toured to Great Britain with Come Over Here. In 1922 he appeared in the George
M. Cohan musical Little Nellie Kelly and in the 1924 Arthur Hammerstein
production of the Oscar Hammerstein II/Rudolf Friml sensation Rose-Marie which
also toured to Great Britain with its so-called "All-American cast" in an all-Canadian
story about Mounties. (Deagon biographical information used with
permission from the excellent site, The
Canadian Theater Encyclopedia )
De Koven (b. Middletown, CT, 1859 - d. Chicago, IL,
1920) was a prominent composer and with Harry B. Smith(b. 1860, Buffalo, NY,
d. 1936, Atlantic City, NJ) as librettist, wrote this operetta as well as a
large number of others including Don Quixote in 1889, Robin Hood,
1890, Rob Roy, 1894 and TheHighwaymen, 1897. His most famous
song is Oh Promise Me from Robin Hood. De Koven was also the
conductor of the Washington,DC Philharmonic orchestra from 1902 -05. Smith also
was librettist for the great Victor Herbert and collaborated with a number of
other songwriters of the period. He was responsible for a number of hits including
the novelty song, A Woman Is Only A Woman, But A Good Cigar Is A Smoke.
I'll bet he made a lot of female friends with that winner!
De Koven was musically trained in Europe and was a graduate of
Oxford. In 1827 he travelled to Europe and studied piano and composition in
Stuttgart. He earned his degree at Oxford in 1879. During his time there he
also studied with Von Suppé, Felibes, Genée and Vanuccini, all
operatic composers. In 1882 he returned to the US and was employed primarily
as a music critic with Harper's Weekly, The New York World,
Herald and Journal and the Chicago Evening Post from
around 1889 to 1912. He founded and conducted the Washington (DC) Symphony Orchestra
At the same time he was writing and conducting, DeKoven was composing
well over 400 songs, orchestral works, sonatas, ballets and two grand operas,
most of which have faded into obscurity. It is Robin Hood though, his operetta
set in Europe that dominated DeKoven's popularity. His music draws on both traditional
opera as well as folk melodies. Banking on
the success of Robin Hood, de Koven later produced Rob Roy(1896),
Highwayman (1897) and Maid Marian in 1901. None of them ever rose
popularity of Robin Hood.
William Richardson Dempster (1809-1871) I've not found so much information about Dempster. He was a very popular performer cited as a "popular singer of Scottish ballads" who did live in Scotland on at least two occasions. Despite the lack of biographical information, he composed quite a few songs including; The Blind Boy (1842), I'm Alone, All Alone, The May Queen, Let Us Love One Another and of course, the Irish Emigrant. One of his works, Cheer Boys, Cheer! was recorded by the American Brass Quintet in 2005.
John Hopkins Densmore (1880 - 1943) Densmore
attended college at Harvard (1904) where he wrote Veritas, "the
Harvard football song" which has since been replaced as the primary song
by Ten Thousand Men. His commercial songs include April, If
God Left Only You and I Know Where A Garden Grows.
George Gard ("Buddy") De Sylva (b.
1895 New York City - d. 1950, Hollywood) Though New York born, De Sylva grew
up in California and attended USC. He gained an early interest in show business
and tried writing a few songs. He met Al Jolson around 1917 or 18 and Jolson
convinced him to go to New York and used several of De Sylva's songs in Sinbad
and other shows. Jolson and De Sylva collaborated on many songs over the course
of their association. In addition to Jolson's shows, he wrote songs for a number
of other productions over the twenties and wrote a number of individual songs
that became big hits. In 1925 he teamed with composer Ray Henderson and fellow
lyricist Lew Brown to write several show scores into the thirties. In the mid
1930's, De Silva turned to the movies and became a producer and produces several
of Shirley Temple's best films. He ultimately rose to head of Paramount Pictures
and was an executive with Capitol records.
De Sylva enjoyed a nearly lifelong association with Al Jolson and wrote many
of his biuggest hit songs. However, Jolson's hits were only a small part of
his famous songs, many of which are still popular today. His many hits include,
The Best Things In Life Are Free (1927); Button Up Your Overcoat
(1928); You Are My Lucky Star (1928); California Here I Come (1922)
and If You Knew Suzie Like I Know Susie (1925). His last song was the
1939 song Love Affair from the movie Wishing.
Dibdin (1745 - 1814) Dibden was a prominent composer
and writer born in Dibdin, near Southampton, England. He studied music at Winchester
College under Kent and Fussell. He appeared at Richmond and Birmingham as an
actor and went to London where in 1765 he was employed by Bickerstaff as a composer
and singer. In 1788 renounced the stage and began giving medley monodramas in
London. Dibdin, according to his son, wrote over 1300 songs and in addition,
wrote the music to accompany his entertainments. Of all his songs, few if any
are heard today and only a very few became popularized to the extent that they
survived into the early 20th century. Among his most popular works were his
musical dramas; The Shepherd's Artifice, Love In The City, Damon
and Phillida, and Padlock. His literary works include; Music Epitomized,
a school book in which the science of music is explained and a history of the
stage in five volumes. In 1803, Dibdin published an autobiography of his professional
life which included the lyrics to over 600 of his songs. At the time, Dibdin
was recognized as the most sucessful seafaring and folk song composer. His skill
was also recognized by the King of England during the American Revolution who
commissioned him to write war songs as propaganda for England. Interestingly,
some of those songs also found favor in the colonies. See our April,
2004 issue about Music as Propaganda for one example.
Dickinson (1732 - 1808) is perhaps one of the
least likely people you would expect to have been a songwriter. One of America's
founding fathers and a signatory of the Declaration of Independence, Dickinson
is more remembered for his contributions to the building of our country than
as a songwriter. His family were English, having settled in the seventeenth
century in Maryland; Dickinson himself was born in Talbot County, on November
8, 1732. He grew up at Poplar Hall, the elegant brick mansion of his father,
Judge Samuel Dickinson. His initial education consisted of private tutelage
but later his parents sent him to London for a proper education. In London he
studied law and returned home to practice law in Philadelphia. It was at this
time he became involved in politics and was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly.
He distinguished himself in the Assembly, siding with the Proprietary party
against the faction led by Benjamin Franklin that sought to turn Pennsylvania
from a commonwealth governed by the Penn family to a colony immediately under
Royal control. Dickinson, eloquent and stubborn, stood his ground and kept his
standing in Philadelphia society.
Later, elected to the Continental Congress, Dickinson proved his skill in drafting
declarations in the name of the Congress. One notable one was written with Thomas
Jefferson, Declaration on the Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms,
with a conclusion that Americans were resolved to die freemen rather than
live slaves. When Richard Henry Lee proposed a declaration on independence,
Dickinson opposed it, saying the timing was bad. Dickinson suggested the colonies
form a confederation amongst themselves before declaring independence from the
Crown. While Jefferson, Franklin, John Adams, and others were appointed to a
committee to draft a Declaration of Independence, Dickinson, Roger Sherman,
and others were put on a committee to draw up Articles of Confederation. The
document Dickinson prepared was heavily amended and revised before being accepted
by the full Congress.
When the war began, Dickinson enlisted as a private in the Continental Army,
having been a colonel in the provincial militia. Dickinsons company served
under General Caesar Rodney, notably at the Battle of Brandywine. In 1781 Dickinson
was elected president of Delaware; the next year he resigned that post to be
elected president of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania. While Dickinson
was president of Pennsylvania, his old colleague from the Congress, Benjamin
Rush, suggested founding a new college in Cumberland County. Rush approached
Dickinson about naming the new college John and Marys College,
in honor of the president and his lady. Dickinson, appalled at the parallel
with William and Mary, demurred, saying that the new Republic should avoid allusions
to monarchy. Rush won approval for calling the college Dickinson.
The 1790s saw Dickinson in retirement, living with his wife and two daughters
in a townhouse in Wilmington, Delaware. John Dickinson died February 14, 1808,
at his home in Wilmington. President Jefferson expressed his sorrow, and both
houses of Congress resolved to wear black armbands in mourning. He was buried
in the cemetery of the Friends Meeting House, Wilmington.
Harold Dixon wrote a number of
other songs including; Ignorant Mama, Papa's Gonna Educate You (1925)
, Fireside Blues (1921), Along The Gypsy Trail. Beyond that, I've
been unable to find much more about him. It's possible that after writing that
1925 song, he was abducted and tortured by righteously incensed females.
Donaldson (1893 - 1947)
Born in Brooklyn, New York. was one of the most prolific American popular song
writers of the twentieth century. He wrote more than 600 songs in his long career.
He composed most of his best during the years between the two World Wars, when
he collaborated with many of the best known lyricists of his day (among them
Gus Kahn, Edgar Leslie, Bud de Sylva, and Johnny Mercer), but he also wrote
many of his own lyrics, such as for At Sundown, Little White Lies,
and You're Driving Me Crazy.
Donaldson inherited a certain amount of musical skill as both of his parents
were musically inclined. Though he received no formal training in music, he
began by writing songs and music for school productions. After graduation from
High School, he went to work in a brokerage houseon Wall Street. Soon after,
he became a "song plugger" on Tin Pan Alley but was fired for writing
songs on company time. His first published song, Back
Home In Tennessee, (MIDI) in 1915 was an immediate hit and he published
two other hits that same year; You'd Never Know The Old Home-Town of Mine
and We'll Have A Jubilee
In My Old Kentucky Home.
During the First World War, Donaldson performed as an entertainer at Camp Upton
New York and he wrote a number of war related songs including
Don't Cry Frenchy (Scorch format) and How
Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down On The Farm (Scorch format). After the war Donaldson
joined Irving Berlin's firm and stayed with them for a decade. It was this period
that Donaldson wrote his biggest and most lasting hits. His Jolson song, My
Mammy set the stage for his rise and then his collaboration with Gus Kahn
beginning in 1922 established him (and their team) as one of America's greatest
songwriters. Some of the hits they generated during this period were; Carolina
In The Morning, My Buddy, Yes Sir, That's My Baby, Makin' Whoopee and My
Baby Just Cares For Me. Like many songwriters of the period, as soon as
movies began incorporating sound, Donaldson went to Hollywood to produce music
for the movies.and he contributed a number of songs to movies including,
Follow The Boys and The Great Ziegfeld.
Donaldson also collaborated with a number of other lyricists, a list of which
reads like a who's who of American popular music; Billy Rose, Lew Brown, Howard
Johnson, Ballard MacDonald and George Whiting with whom he wrote My Blue Heaven.
In 1928 Donaldson resigned from the berlin organization and formed his own publishing
house (Donaldson, Douglas and Gumble). By 1946, Donaldson was plagued with illness
and he withdrew from all activities. He died in Santa Monica, California on
July 15, 1947.
Donaldson's music lives on today, over a half century since his passing. Many
of his songs have been, and still are recorded and the singers who have recorded
his songs include the greatest singers of our times including Frank Sinatra,
Fats Domino, George Shearing, Django Reinhardt, Fats Waller, Ella Fitzgerald,
Bix Beiderbecke, and Louis Armstrong.
Louis A. Drumheller composed
and arranged many popular works during the early 20th century, among them are
The Old Oaken Bucket, Nearer My God To Thee
(MIDI) and In The Sweet Bye And Bye. We know from his Opus number on
this work and others we have that he published well over 100 works and yet very
little can be found about him in numerous reference works or the web.
Dresser (1857 - 1906) Was born in Terre Haute
Indiana. Born Paul Drieser, his brother was the famed novelist Theodore Dreiser
(Sister Carrie, An American Tragedy). Dresser's father was a religeous
man and urged his son to become a priest. Dresser however would have non of
it and put his life energy into his love for music. He loved to play piano,
guitar and sing. At age 16, he ran away from home to join a medicine show that
sold "wizard oil" and it was then that he changed his name to Paul
Dresser. He spent several years wandering from troupe to troupe and in his spare
time took to writing songs. His first published work was Wide Wings,
published in Evansville.
In 1885 he joined a minstrel troupe and performed in black face and wrote songs
for the show. His first hit came in 1886, the sentimental ballad, The Letter
That Never Came. Lore has it that he was inspired to write the song over
a failed love affair. Regardless of the songs provenance, it established his
reputation as a songwriter and success upon success followed. Most of his songs
were popular during the grand period of the sentimental ballad from 1890 to
1900 and the titles reflect that sentimentality. Such songs as I Wonder if
She'll Ever Come Back to Me, I Wish That You Were Here Tonight and
Just Tell Them That You Saw Me were some of his most popular.
By 1901, Dresser had joined with his publisher as a partner and the frim Howley
and Haviland became Howley, Haviland and Dresser. Unfortunately, by this time
Dresser's popularity was waning and his creativity seemed to have been used
up. Dresser's prior success had allowed him to live a lavish lifestyle and he
lived in grand style. As a result he squandered his fortunes and ultimately
ended up bankrupt. As a result, he had no funds to fall back on and the firm
ended up bankrupt also and Dresser's health and spirit seemed broken. He did
have one last hurrah left, and it was his best. In 1905 he wrote My Gal Sal
and published it at his own expense. A huge hit, selling millions of copies,
Dresser did not live to enjoy the success and died in January of 1906 of a heart
attack in abject poverty at his sister's home in Brooklyn. In 1942, a screen
biography, My Gal Sal was released starring Victor Mature as Dresser.
Though Dresser was a prolific songwriter and one whose songs were quite successful
in their time, few of his songs have stayed in the repertoire to this day. The
two exceptions are My Gal Sal and On The Banks of The Wabash (1899),
now the official state song of Indiana. (Basis for this biography
and essential facts from Popular American Composers, Ewen, David, see our
bibliography for complete details.)
Jack Drislane (dates unkn.) As with many of
Tin Pan Alley's songwriters, Drislane's fairly prolific production did nothing
to assure that the details of his life would survive beyond his name association
with many important songs of the era. His songs include Arrah
Wanna (1906), Keep A Cozy Corner In Your Heart For Me (1905)
and Nobody's Little Girl (1907) all in collaboration with Theodore Morse.
All of my references make scant mention of Drislane other than his association
with Morse. Quite a shame and as always, if any relatives or others who know
more about Drislane can inform us, we'll be happy to update our composers
Dubin (b. 1891 Zurich, d. 1945 New York, NY) Dubin
is considered one of the most important lyricists of the Tin Pan Alley (and
beyond) era. His output is described by Kinkle (V. 2, p.839) as astonishing.
He collaborated with some of the greatest composers of the period and wrote
an also astonishing number of lasting hits.
Dubin's family emigrated to the US in 1893 and settled in Pennsylvania. Dubin
was educated at Perkiomen Seminary in Pennsburg, Montgomery County, Pa. Dubin
worked as a staff writer for a number of New York publishers and served in World
War I. His success is described as moderate till he teamed up with Harry Warren
at which point his career skyrocketed. Though he wrote many songs before the
20's, it was after 1920 that he was most productive and successful. He wrote
many songs for movies including one large score for the film Stage Door Canteen
in 1943. Among his collaborations are Jimmy McHugh, J. Russel Robinson, Joe
Burke and Jimmy Monaco. Dubin was a large man and was characterized by his own
daughter as a glutton. At one point his weight exceeded 300 lbs. and was also
a heavy drinker. It is likely his lifestyle contributed to his untimely death.
Some of his many greatest hits are; Tiptoe Through The Tulips With Me, 42nd
Street, Shuffle Off To Buffalo, I Only Have Eyes For You, Lullaby of Broadway
and Indian Summer. Dubin continued to write songs up to his death at
age 53 of pneumonia.
Will E. Dulmage (1883–1953) Songwriter ("Holding Hands"), composer and publisher, educated in high school and in private music study. He was a staff member and later an executive of a Detriot, Michigan publishing company. Joining ASCAP in 1946, his other popular-song compositions include "When It's Night Time in Nevada", "Faded Love Letters", "On the Highway to Galilee", "Golden City", and "Tenderly Think of Me". He wrote film soundtracks for The Gene Autry Show (TV series), Night Time in Nevada (1948) and The Black Rider (1950) (From IMDB)
John S. Duss (b Zoar, Ohio 22 Feb. 1860; d Economy,
PA, 1951) was a popular cornetist, bandmaster and composer. Largely self taught,
he successfully pursued a career and teacher and bandmaster. In 1902, he conducted
several concerts at the Metropolitan Opera and St. Nicholas Rink in NY. In 1903,
he toured the US and gave a number of concerts at Madison Square Garden with
the Metropolitan orchestra. His programs are described as eclectic with operatic
excerpts, overtures and marches. He formed a number of bands during the 1906
and 1907 seasons and gave numerous concerts at popular parks and resorts in
the East, Midwest and Canada. In 1907 he retired to Economy to devote himself
to composing religious music and the writing of an autobiography. He enjoyed
a 44 year retirement before dying at 91 in 1951.
Mary Earl (1862-1932). Back in 1998, I said;
"After researchingMary Earl , I'm wondering exactly what does a woman composer
have to do to merit mention as an important, even unimportant, songwriter in
America? Again, we have a successful composer who wrote a number of popular
works who has been virtually snubbed by compilers of American music history.
In addition to Love Bird, Dreamy Alabama
and Beautiful Ohio (Both MIDI)
Earl also wrote My sweetheart is somewhere in France (1917). I hope that
someone, somewhere with the resources can correct these grievous oversights
and capture the lost heritage of these fine composers and songwriters before
it is gone forever."
Someone did! One of our helpful readers, David Meyers from Columbus Ohio's
Senior Musicians Hall Of Fame, sent us a kind note identifying the "real"
Mary earl. Mary Earl was a pen name for Robert A. "Bobo" King
(b. Sept. 20, 1862 New York, NY, d. April 13, 1932 New York, NY) Nee: Robert
Keiser At only age six, Robert was already taking piano lessons. He took a job
in Ditson's music store as a young boy. A little later, Leo Feist, the Tin Pan
Alley publisher, hired the younster, and before long, he was writing pop songs.
In 1903, he had his very first hit song with "Anona".
King was one of those truly prolific composers whose output is not counted.
He wrote songs under his own name, under pseudonyms (very often a feminine
name), and even anonymously! As a result, there is now no way to estimate
his total output.
During WW1, King, like other composers, wrote inspirational war songs. Among
them, we find: Lafayette, We Hear You Calling and When the Boys Come
In 1918, he went to work for Shapiro-Bernstein Music Publishers under a
contract to produce 4 songs per month. Two of the songs he composed under
this contract were big hits: the 1918 Beautiful
Ohio, (Midi) with lyric by Ballard Smith and his 1919 Dreamy
Alabama, (Midi) words and lyric by King. ( both published under the
pseudonym of Mary Earl.)
Some of the songs that are directly traceable to King are: Beautiful Hawaii,
In Old Manila, Isle Of Paradise, Hawaiian Smiles, I Ain't Nobody's Darling,
Why DiId I Kiss That Girl, Just Like a Rainbow, Apple Blossoms, I Scream, You
Scream, Ain't My Baby Grand and Moonlight on the Colorado.
During the course of his career, he also composed various concert pieces
including Gavottes; Polkas; Marches, and Waltzes. (many thanks
to David for this information, see his Columbus (Ohio) Musicians site at: http://seniormusicians.homestead.com/CSMHOF.html
Nellie Richmond Eberhart was a poet and
considered to be Charles Wakefield Cadman's primary lyricist. With him she produced
a number of poems to accompany his music including the most famous of their
The Land of the Sky-blue Water
(Scorch format). Among her other lyrics for Cadman was At Dawning (1906)
which was later recorded in 1912 by the famed Irish tenor, John McCormack.
Edwards (1879 - 1945) Was born in Hohensalza, Germany
and at the age of eight his family brought him to America. Considered by some
to be the most important songwriter to come out of vaudeville, as a boy he worked
as a tobacco stripper at an uncle's cigar store. Gus used to sneak into theaters
and somehow made friends with several vaudelville performers, anong them, Lottie
Gibson who used the boy as a boy stooge in her act. Blessed with a fine voice,
Edwards soon was performing in an act, "The Newsboy Quartet". During
this period, Edwards met and received coaching from some of the most prominent
performers of the time including George Cohan, Emma Carus and Imogene Comer.
With Cohan's encouragement, Edwards began writing songs and his first song was
All I Want Is My Black Baby Back in 1898 and performed as a part of
the Newsboy act. Edwards did not know how to read or write music so had to enlist
someone else to notate the melody for him. During the Spanish American war,
Edwards was entertaining troops bound for Cuba and met Will D. Cobb,
at the time a department store salesman who wrote songs as a hobby. The two
hit it off and decided to work together writing songs. From that collaboration
came a long list of hit songs including this featured song and Goodbye,
Little Girl, Goodbye (scorch
format) in 1904. Edwards worked with other composers and with each, wrote other
hits. Among his greatest hits are In My Merry Oldsmobile (see our February,
2001 feature), By The Light Of The Silvery Moon in 1909 and Tammany
in 1905. Edwards continued to stay involved in vaudeville till it finally died
out in the late 30's. He retired in 1938 and lived to see his life story made
into a movie, Star Maker (1939), starring Bing Crosby. Edwards died
in Los Angeles in 1945.
Julian Edwards (1855, Manchester England
- 1910 Yonkers NY) wrote a number of operas and operettas as well as one symphony
and an overture. Edwards was born D. H. Barnard and adopted his stage name while
still in England. Edwards was conductor of the Royal English opera company in
1877. He came to the US in 1889 where he produced a number of comic operas in
New York and Boston. His main works were: Corinna (1880), Victoria
(1883), King Rene's Daughter (1893), The Patriot (1907), Madeleine,
or The Magic Kiss (1894), The Jolly Musketeer (1898), Dolly
Varden (1901), When Johnny Comes Marching Home (1902), Love's
Lottery (1904), The Girl and the Governor (1906), The Gay Musician
(1908), Miss Molly May (1909) and The Motor Girl (1909).
Raymond B. Egan was born in Windsor, Ontario,
Canada in 1890 and was mainly a lyricist, most active during the 1920's and
30's. Egan's family came to the US in 1892. Egan grew up in Detroit and began
his musical career as a boy soprano at St. John's Episcopal church there. He
was a graduate of the University of Michigan and had various early jobs including
a bank clerk till he became a staff writer at Grinells Music Co in Detroit and
worked with many of the major composers of the period. His most famous song
is arguably The Japanese Sandman,
(Scorch format) written with Richard Whiting. Also with Whiting he wrote the
lyrics for And They Called It Dixieland
(Midi) (1916), Mammy's Little Coal Black Rose (1916), Sleepy Time
Gal (1918) and the great, Till
We Meet Again, (Scorch format) also in 1918. Egan had a number of other
extremely well known hits that have lasted till modern times including the great
songs, Ain't We Got Fun, Sleepy Time Gal and Three on A Match.
Egan collaborated with many of the best composers of the Tin Pan Alley Era,
among them were Walter Donaldson, Ted Fio Rito and Harry Tierney. Egan died
in Westport, Connecticut in 1952.
Hans Engelmann wrote a number of works that
were for children and several other works, one of which has remained in the
popular repertoire for a century, his Melody
of Love (MIDI) from 1903 which we featured way back in '98. In addition,
we have several other works by him; Day
Dreams (1901) , Rosebud Schottische
(1898), Dolly Varden, a Sunday newpaper supplement from 1903, an arrangement
of Gounod's Flower Song from 1902 and Rose of Normandy (1906).
In addition, we are aware of at least one march he wrote that is in the current
marching band repertoire; Philadelphia Record (1902). In spite of what
is clearly a large catalog of works (The Little Hostess is marked as
Op. 556), I can find little to no other information about him which really is
M. Pratt Erd, is listed on most of her works as a
Chief Yeoman, USNRF. Interestingly, the F was for "Female." Secretary
of the Navy Josephus Daniels took advantage of the fact that the 1916 law which
created the Naval Reserve used the word personnel rather than male when referring
to Navy Yeoman and authorized the enlistment of woman as Yeoman (F) on March
19, 1917. Within a month the Navy swore in the first officially recognized enlisted
women in U.S. history. The 11,274 Yeoman (F), popularly known as "Yeomanettes",
who served in W.W.I were recruited to "Free a Man to Fight". Some of the Yeoman
(F) served as chief petty officers but none were commissioned. Daisy Pratt Erd
was made Chief Yeoman in charge of women at the Boston Navy Yard with more than
200 women under her supervision and was recommended for an officer’s commission
by Congressman James Gallivan but Secretary Daniels explained, "I have no authority
to make a woman an ensign and I have given orders that no men shall be made
ensigns who do not pass the examinations necessary to qualify them for important
duty at sea." Erd wrote several songs during WWI that were designed to instill
patriotic responses. Among Them are The
Ships of Uncle Sam (1918) and We'll
Carry The Star Spangled Banner Through The Trenches in 1917.
(above information obtained from http://www.gendergap.com/military/USmil4.htm)
Photo Daisy May Pratt Erd, 1918 from http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/pers-us/uspers-e/dm-erd.htm
Ernie Erdman wrote a large number of popular hits
in the early 20th century, many of them with lyricists Roger Lewis and Gus Kahn.
Among his greatest hits are The Hours I spent With Thee, (1915) with
Roger Lewis , Tee Pee Blues, (MIDI)
1922, That Peculiar Rag, (1910) lyrics F.M. Fagan, , Toot-Toot-Tootsie
(Goo'bye) (Scorch format) (1922) with Gus Kahn and Nobody's
Sweetheart in 1923, also with Gus Kahn.
Evans (b. 1870, Wales - d. 1915, Baltimore) Evans'
family brought him to the US at age seven. He became a performer before he was
a composer. Known as a blackface minstrel, he starred in Lew Docstader's Minstrels
at one point in hios career.According to histories, Evans was well known for
his comedic routines which he also performed on vaudeville. In 1894 Evans wrote
the song I'll Be True To My Honey Boy which became quite popular and
resulted in him gaining the permanent nickname of Honey Boy. Some of his compositions
are still well remembered and have become classic "gay 90's style songs.
Almost all of his songs were in collaboration with Ren Shields. Among them are
In The Good Old Summertime (1902), In The Merry Month of May (1903),
Come Take a Trip In My Air-Ship (1904), You'll Have to Wait Till My
Ship Comes In (1906) and of course, Waltzing With The Girl You Love
Eyges (1893 - 1994) Shown here at the piano with his
band, circa 1925, Eyges came to America with his parents (who had first emmigrated
to England, where Bernard was born) in 1902. An industrious lad, Bernard worked
his way through college in Boston by playing piano, singing and writing his
own songs. Around 1923, he formed a band called Bernie's Bunch and managed get
his group a gig on WGI, Boston's first radio station. Bernard realized that
radio was one way to gain a larger audience and he was right; the group became
quite popular. Unfortunately, in 1925 WGI went bankrupt and Bernie's Bunch found
themselves unemployed. The members of the band went their separate ways and
Bernard was hired to sing on another station, WNAC, first as a solo act and
later as a duo with Jack Flynn. In 1926, Bernard formed another group, the "Eyges
Entertainers." This group performed on Boston's WNAC from 1926 to 27. Bernard
married his dear Jennie about this time and they started a family. Eyges was
actually a lawyer by schooling and began to spend more time on being a lawyer
to suppport his family. He continued to perform in and around Boston at various
clubs with the "Bernard Eyges Orchestra" on weekends well into the
1930's. He ultimately abandoned his musical career to devote himself to his
legal career. Besides his Woodlad Rose in 1918, he wrote other songs
with lyricist Robert Levenson, including the 1925 Drifting 'Neath the Silver
Moon. Eyges died in 1994 at the mature age of 101! (Biographical
details and photo provided by Donna
Halper, Contributing Editor, Boston
John. S. Fearis (b. 1867 - d. 1932) Fearis
was a publisher as well as composer, having his own house in Chicago, J. S.
Fearis & Bros. It seems that much of his work was focused on children's
or teaching works for that is mainly what seems to have survived to today. His
most famous works are Beautiful
Isle of Somewhere (1897) and Little Sir Echo (1917). Among his
other works are; Girl With The Curl (1914), a series of six pieces titled
The Flower Garden (1905), Bachelor Sale (1911) and Six Little
Playmates (1906). Fearis also wrote one operetta, The Treasure Hunters.
Hugo Felix (b. 1866, Vienna - d. 1934, Los Angeles.)
Felix had his first success in Vienna with the operetta Husarenblut (1894)
and in Berlin with Rhodolphe (1900). As with so many continental composers,
Felix emmigrated to the US to bring his talents to the burgeoning stage musical
industry. His first contribution here was a remake of a 1902 Berlin work, Madame
Sherry which he rewrote and staged in New York in 1910. Quicly learning
the American idiom, he went on to stage at least six other shows including Tantalizing
Tommy (1912), Pom-pom (1916), Lassie (1920), The Sweetheart
Shop (1920), Sancho Panza (1923) and his apparently final Broadway
production, Peg-O'-My-Dreams in 1924.
Arthur Fields (1888 - 1953) primarily made
his mark in the music industry as a vocalist and performer. During the 1920's
he specialized in novelty songs, minstrel and rhythmic numbers. As a child,
he became a professional performer at age 11. As a recording artist he did extensive
freelance work and at one point had a record lable under his name, Fields teamed
up with Fred "Sugar" Hall in the 20s and co-hosted a morning radio
show with Hall in 1937. Despite his recording and performing, Fields also wrote
the lyrics to a number of popular songs including Aba
Daba Honeymoon (Scorch), On The
Mississippi (MIDI), Auntie Skinner's Chicken Dinner and I Got a Code
Id By Dose. Fields also wrote a serious work titled 48 Hymns to Happiness.
Fischer (1875- 1942) was born in Cologne, Germany
of American parents. Fisher ran away from home at age 13 and enlisted in the
German Navy and later, the French Foreign Legion before coming to the US in
1900. He began composing in 1904 and also wrote the words to many of this songs.
His first hit was If The Man In The Moon Were A Coon (1905). In 1907,
he started his own publishing company with the lyricist of the song Norway
, Joe Mc Carthy as a partner for a short time. In the 20's Fisher moved to Hollywood
and wrote music for silent movies and early sound musicals. Though early in
his career he made his name through ethnic songs, later he made something out
of geographic topics such as Norway, Siam (1915)and Chicago
(1922). Fisher's music endured well into the forties and one of his songs, Peg
O'My Heart (midi, 1913) has become a continuing classic. Fischer wrote
it after seeing Laurette Taylor in the Broadway play of the same name and he
dedicated it to Taylor. Though a very successful song when published, it was
even more successful when it was recorded in 1947 by the Harmonicats and also
by Peggy Lee. Sometime around the First World War, Fischer dropped the "c"
from his name and used "Fisher" from then on to avoid the stigma of
a Germanic name. Known as a contentious, eccentric and excitable person, one
of his songs was involved in copyright litigation that continued from 1919 to
the 1960's, more than 20 years after his death in NY in 1942. His music is best
known for his musical comedic gifts and his ability to make quirky rhythms to
highlight creative lyrics.
Dorothy Forster . (1884-1950) Is thought
to have lived in England & though little else has been found at this time,
another of our many enigmatic woman composers from the Tin Pan Alley era. We
do know she published a number of works including; A Love Remembered Not,
Bird of June, Dearest, I Bring You Daffodils, I'll Tell The Sunshine, Little
Rose of Love, Margaret,
Mifanwy, Rose in the Bud (1907), Since You Came Back, The Happy Hills,
The Little Rose-Clad Window, Love's First Kiss (words by Edward Lockton)
and Sing Joyous Bird (a title used by a number of different composers)
which was recorded on a CD some years ago. One reason biographical data for
many of these women composers cannot be "found" is that many either
chose to write under pseudonyms or changed their names due to marriage or unmarriage.
C. Foster ( b. 1826, Lawrenceville, PA -d. 1864,
New York, NY )
One of the first of America's great songwriters. Despite showing a talent and
enthusiasm for music while still a young child, Foster received no formal training.
He taught himself the flute, a rather difficult instrument to "self teach."
His deepest musical influence, as a child, was hearing the Negro spirituals
when a household servant would take him to a Negro church whenever his parents
were away. He attended high school years were spent at Athens Academy at Tioga
Point, PA. While there, in 1841 he composed his first song, "Tioga Waltz"
which was performed by the school band. Upon graduation, Foster enrolled in
Jefferson College, at Canonsburg, PA. It was to be a short enrollment. Foster
had absolutely no interest in higher education, and spent all of his time loafing
about, composing tunes, day-dreaming, and playing his flute. Just a few days
after his enrollment, he left the college, his academic training ended. After
this, he was to devote his full time to composing music.
In 1844, Foster's first song Open Thy Lattice, Love was published, with
lyric by George F. Morris. At this time, Foster was holding small gatherings,
in his home, of some young friends. He composed several songs for presentation
at these informal meetings. Among these songs, were: Old Uncle Ned,
Oh, Susannah!, and Lou'siana Belle. Around 1846, Foster moved to
Cincinnati, and began working for his brother's commission house, as a bookkeeper.
Foster interested a Cincinnati music publisher who paid nothing for some of
his songs and gave Foster a mere $100 for the rights to Oh, Susannah! which
went on to become one of America's most popular songs and lead to Foster's loss
of untold income. Copyright law at that time was virtually nonexistant and songwriters
were often taken advantage of.Though he managed to make a good living from his
music, he lost the equivalent of millions through his own mismanagement and
predatory publishers who took advantage of him.
In his prime, Foster wrote so many lasting American hits that his enduring
output has eclipsed virtually every other composer from that period. As well,
his music was so different (compare this work and his others to Ho For The
Kansas Plains for a stark contrast) that he set the nations music on a completely
new course. His 1848 Oh, Susannah!, is almost as well known today as
when he wrote it.
After Foster quit as bookkeeper and moved to Pittsburgh, PA. be met the famous
black face minstrel show owner, Ed Christy. Christy began using Foster's songs
in his own Minstrel Show, oft-times listing himself as the composer. But times
were changing for Foster. He received a contract from a New York Publisher who
offered him Royalty Payments in lieu of an outright purchase. Some of the benchmarks
of his career are; 1850 Camptown Races 1851 Old Folks At Home,
aka "Swanee River". Foster had never seen the Swanee river when writing
this song he wanted to use a river name in the tune. He originally thought of
the Pedee river. Looking at a Florida map, he noticed the Suwanee River, and
altered the name for the Swanee sounded much better. Can you imagine singing,
"way down upon the Pedee river?" Minstrel Ed Christy paid Foster $15.00
for the privilege of introducing the song, and to allow him to place his name
on the music as composer, but with all royalties from the sheet music sales
going to Foster. Inside of 6 months, Foster had earned royalties of over $1500.00.
Foster, realizing the error of allowing someone else's name to appear on the
sheet music as composer, wrote to Ed Christy. "Therefore, I have concluded
to reinstate my name on my songs and to pursue the Ethiopian business without
fear of shame and lend all my energies to making the business live, at the same
time that I will wish to establish my name as the best Ethiopian writer."
In pursuit of his goal to become the greatest "Ethiopian" songwriter,
Foster composed: 1852 Massa's In De Cold, Cold, Ground and in 1853 My Old Kentucky
Home. Both were great hits, earning him combined royalties of over $2000.00.
On July 22, 1850, Foster married Jane Denny McDowell. (She was the person who
later inspired the ballad "Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair".) It
was to become an unhappy home. Jane was a hard-nosed, practical, devout Methodist.
She had no use for his friends, his drinking, his music, and his association
with the theater. Still, despite his home life, Foster continued writing. Among
his songs written during this period are
Old Dog Tray (1853), Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair (1854), Ellen Bayne (1854),
Hard Times Come Again No More (1854), Willie, We Have Missed You (1854)
Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming (1855), Gentle Annie (1856) and Old Black Joe
in 1860 his last Negro song.
Unfortunately, the tide began to turn for Foster. In 1860, he took his wife
and daughter to New York City, where he found despair and frustration. His type
of song was falling out of public favor, and he was forced to write lesser material
to keep his home together. Shunned by the public and by his publishers, he often
didn't have the price of a decent meal. He lived in poor surroundings in the
Bowery section of New York. When his family left him, - they returned to Pittsburgh,
his moral and physical disintegration became complete. He sought refuge in alcohol,
living in an inebriated stupor for long periods of time.
One day he collapsed while at his wash basin. Discovered, bleeding, by the
chambermaid, he was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he died on Jan. 13, 1864.
In his pockets, they found a a slip of paper on which had been written, "Dear
friends and gentle hearts", - possibly the title of a new song, and three
cents. He was 38 years old.
(Adapted from Foster biography at the Tunesmiths Database at
and on a biography of Foster in Popular American Composers by Ewen, see
our bibliography for
Henry Frantzen (1850 - 1931) Is credited with
a number of notable works including, College Life March and Two Step
(1905) probably his most lasting work, Motor
King (1910), and Sing A Good Old Ragtime Song (1909),
also with Drislane. Frantzen in fact, seems to share the same fate as Drislane
in that we do have records of his works, but little else seems to be recorded
about the man and his life.
Arthur Freed (1894 - 1973) Freed was born
in Charleston S.C. and enjoyed one of the longest active careers as a lyricist
spanning the period from around 1918 to well into the 1950's. Most of his work
was done during the heyday of Hollywood musicals writing songs for the likes
of Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Lucille Ball, Judy Garland and Lena Horne. Most
of his work was done with Herb Nacio Brown. Arthur's brother, Ralph Freed was
a notable lyricist as well who also wrote a number of hist for films during
the same period. Freed grew up in Seattle where he met Oliver Wallace. Early
in his career he wrote works for Gus Edwards acts and other vaudevillian performers.
He served in the Army in WWI.
He moved to Los Angeles where he was a theater manager for a while. Bitten
by the movie bug, in 1929 he began writing songs for movie musicals. Later he
became a producer of musicals and his work included some of Hollywoods greatest
msuical hits including Babes in Arms, The Wizard of Oz, For
Me And My Gal, Meet Me In St. Louis, Annie Get Your Gun and
The Bells Are Ringing. In the 60's Freed was the president of the Academy
of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and appeared on several Academy Award TV
Among his greatest hits are; I Cried For You (1923), Pagan Love Song
(1929), Alone (1935), You Are My Lucky Star (1935), Broadway
Melody (1929), Singin' In The Rain (1932) and You Were Meant for
Me (1929). Freed died in Los Angeles April 12, 1973.
Harold B. Freeman, the songwriter
who brought us this excellent work has fared less well than the music. I've
been unable to find very little information about him in my references or on
the web. However, we do know of some other works in addition to The
Land Of Make Believe (Scorch format) by him, all of which also have
fabulous covers. Among them are; Girl of
Mine (MIDI) (1919), Just a Girl
Like You (MIDI) (1919), Day Dreams of You (1928), It's a Long
Way From Berlin to Broadway (1917) and Virginia Moonlight (1920).
Freeman formed his own publishing house probably in 1919 as the title Girl
Of Mine was published by A.J. Stasny yet all other 1919 works and those
beyond were published by Freeman's house. Given Freeman's reasonably large output
and the fact that he had a major publishing house, I find it quite odd that
little else is said about him in numerous books about Tin Pan Alley.
Anatol(e) Friedland (b. 1881, St. Petersburg,
Russia D. 1938, Atlantic City, NJ). A noted songwriter, Friedland studied music
at the Moscow conservatory and emmigrated to the US sometime after 1900. In
the US he studied Architecture at Columbia University and later operated the
Club Anatole, a speakeasy on West 44th Street in Manhattan during the prohibition
years. Friedland spent many years as a vaudeville performer. In 1911, Friedland
wrote the score for a Boadway musical with lyricist Malvin Franklin called The
Wife Hunters. Based on the success of this show, the Shuberts hired Anatole
to write music for their Winter Garden productions, including The Passing
Show. In 1912, Anatole wrote the score for the Shubert hit Broadway
In 1913, he met L. Wolfe Gilbert; a fellow Russian and the team turned out
many successful songs. Sometimes they appeared together on stage singing their
own songs. Othertimes, Friedland appeared as just a 'singles' act, playing the
piano and singing. The lobg timecollaboration with Gilbert aresulted in many
hits; among them are My Sweet Adair 1915; Are You From Heaven
1917; My Own Iona (Moi-One-Ionae) 1916
(MIDI); Shades In The Night 1916; Singapore 1918; and Lily
of the Valley, A "Nut" Song, 1917. In 1936, Friedland lost one
leg through amputation and he retired , and took up residence at the Hotel Ritz-Carlton,
in Atlantic City, N. J.
Leo Friedman was born in 1869 in Elgin Illionois
and died in 1927 in Chicago. His major all-time hit was Let
Me Call You Sweetheart (MIDI) in 1910 with Beth Slater Whitson. He
also wrote the hit Coon! Coon! Coon! in 1901 which was a popular vaudeville
and minstrel tune. In 1908, also in collaboration with Whitson, he produced
Meet Me Tonight In Dreamland, a huge hit in its time. As with many
of the greatest hits of the era, Judy Garland performed it in the 1949 film,
The Good Old Summertime.
Friml (1879, Prague - 1972, Hollywood) Friml was a
classically trained concert pianist and then a popular composer of songs in
America. He studied at the Prague conservatory and was the pianist for the famed
violinist Jan Kubelik, performing across Europe and in America. Friml settled
in New York in 1906 and there he began composing scores for a number of popular
stage shows and operettas. He continued writing scores for shows well into his
eighties. Among his stage show scores are The Firefly (1912), Katinka
(1915), Rose Marie (1924), The Vagabond King (1925) and The
Three Musketeers (1930). His single works and songs that gained much fame
include the Donkey Serenade and Indian Love Call. Several of these
shows were made into motion pictures and Friml was instrumental in scoring the
film versions as well. During his career he collaborated with most of the greatest
of America's composers and lyricists including, Sigmund Romberg, Victor Herbert,
P. G. Wodehouse and Oscar Hammerstein II. Friml appeared on several Merv Griffin
shows during his latter years and was still playing the piano up till his death.
Seymour Furth (dates unknown) Furth was a writer
of music and Broadway productions including the fabulous play, Bringing Up
Father in 1925, the 1907 edition of The Ziefeld Follies, The Mimic
World in 1908 and Nearly a Hero, also in 1908. Among his other works
are the songs It's Nice To Be Nice, To A Nice Little Girl Like You, I'm
Looking For The Man That Wrote 'The Merry Widow Waltz' in 1908, Budweiser's
A Friend Of Mine in 1909 and That Espagnola Swing in 1910.
Clarence Gaskill (1892 - 1947) As a child
Gaskill played piano in local theaters then later he toured Vaudeville as the
Melody Monarch. He owned his own publishing house for while still a young man.
Gaskill served in the US Army during WWI. He wrote songs off and on and though
he has a slight output, several of his songs are noteworthy. In 1922 he wrote
the score for a stage show, Frank Fay's Fables which was a flop. He also
wrote songs for Earl Carroll's Vanities of 1925. That show enjoyed a
long run but unfortunately none of Gaskill's songs became popular beyond the
show's run. Occasionally he also wrote material for night club revues. Among
his more important songs are; I Love You Just The Same Sweet Adeline
(1919), Doo Wacka Doo (1924), and Prisoner of Love (1931).
Gershwin (1898 - 1937), could rightfully be called
the dean of American music for the early 20th century. A composer of prodigeous
talents, he wrote some of America's greatest classics for stage as well as large
scale works such as his Piano Concerto and Rhapsody in Blue for piano and orchestra
(1924). His other major works include An American In Paris (1928), a tone poem
for orchestra that was later used as the basis for a motion picture starring
Gene Kelly, and the great American opera, Porgy and Bess introduced in Boston
in 1935. The number of songs that became popular from his large scale stage
works is impressive and unmatched or exceeded by only a few composers. His untimely
death in 1937 deprived us of one of the greatest creative musical talents of
our modern times.
Haven Gillespie (b. 1888, Covington, KY - d.
1975, Los Angeles) Gillespie was active as a songwriter, primarily a lyricist,
during the 20's to the early 50s. Before becoming active in music, he was a
journeyman printer with several newspapers, including the New Youk Times. He
began composing in the mid twenties and collaborated with several composers/lricists
including Richard Whiting, Egbert Van Alstyne and Seymour Simons. His output
included several hundred songs, many of which were recorded by some of America's
greatest singers including; Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Louie Armstrong, Dean
Martin, and Nat King Cole. Gillespie was awarded the Freedoms Foundation award
in 1950 for his song God's Country. His most famous song is without doubt,
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, written in 1934. He earned well over one million
dollars in royalties from that one song. Among his other famous works are; Breezin'
Along With The Breeze (1926), Honey (1929), You Go To My Head
(1938), That Lucky Old Sun (1949) and Drifting and Dreaming (1925).
There is a book by William E. First titled Drifting and Dreaming, The Story
Of Songwriter Haven Gillespie that was published in 1997 and is still available.
Katherine Glen(dates unknown) was from the Portland,
Oregon area and a number of her works are in the Multnomah County Library there.
Her songs were published primarily in the period from 1910 to 1920. Though she
never achieved national prominence, she composed several fine works using poems
by Sara Teasdale and other authors for her songs, as they appeared in Harper's
Magazine. Among her works are; Entreaty. (1916); Homeward Bound
(1919); Twilight (1916); Folks Need ALot Of Loving (1921); Good
Night (1920); Little Moon (1920) and Mr. Robin (1920).
E. Ray Goetz (b. 1886 - d. 1954) Goetz was
best known for his contributions to Broadway shows from around 1906 on into
the late twenties. No doubt his best known individual song is For
Me And My Gal (Scorch format)(1917). He worked with a virtual who's
who of Tin Pan Alley and his collaborations included George Meyer, Jean Schwartz,
Pete Wendling and Vincent Bryan. Among the Broadway shows he wrote songs for
were; The Babes and the Baron (1906), Ziegfeld Follies of 1907,
Hanky Panky (1912), Robinson Crusoe Jr. which included another
of his gret hits, Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula
(midi) (1916), Hitchy Koo (1917 & 1918), George White's Scandals
(1922 & 23) and Naughty Cinderella (1925).
Joe Goodwin (1889 - 1943) Goodwin's early career
was as a monologist in Vaudeville. Later he moved into working for various publishing
houses writimg lyrics. As a lyricist, his output was relatively small but significant.
He collaborated with the best that Tin Pan Alley had to offer including; George
Myer, Al Piantadosi, Nat Ayer and Gus Edwards. Perhaps his most famous set of
lyrics were for the song When You're Smiling published in 1930. Among
his other popular works are; Tie Me To Your Apron Strings Again (1925),
Baby Shoes (MIDI) (1916), Three
Wonderful Letters From Home (Scorch) (1918), Everywhere You Go
(1927) Strolling Through The Park One Day (1929).
Albert Gumble (b. 1883 - d.1946) . Gumble not
only wrote original music but he also arranged for many of Tin Pan Alley's most
prominent composers including; Percy Wenrich, Alfred Bryan, Gus Kahn, Edward
Madden, Bud D. Sylva and Jack Yellen.He wrote the music for at least one Broadway
musical, Red Pepper in 1922 as well as a number of single hits during
the Tin Pan Alley days. Albert Gumble's best known single work work is Bolo
Rag (1908) however his credits also include Rebecca Of Sunnybrook Farm
(1914), The Wedding of the Sunshine and the Rose (1915), If You'll
Come Back to my Garden of Love (1917), I'll Do it all over Again
(1914) and The Chanticleer Rag.
Louis Wolfe Gilbert (1886
- 1970) was born in Odessa, Russia and brought to America when he was only one
year old. He was a vaudeville actor and toured with the great John L. Sullivan.
During the heyday of radio, he wrote for Eddie Cantor's radio show. Aside from
Muir, he also collaborated with Abel Baer (Lucky Lindy, 1927) and other
famous lyricists of the period. Some of his other hits include, Ramona
1927; O, Katharina 1924 , Don't Wake Me Up 1925;
and Hitchy Koo from 1912. His longest running and most successful collaboration
was with fellow Russian emigrant Anatole Friedland with whom he wrote a number
of hits including, My Little Dream Girl,
(Sibelius Scorch format) 1915; My Sweet Adair 1915; Are
You From Heaven 1917; My Own Iona (Moi-One-Ionae)
1916 (MIDI); Shades In The Night 1916; Singapore 1918;
and Lily of the Valley, A "Nut" Song, 1917
Anselm Goetzl ( b. - d. 1923)
was well known as a producer, arranger, composer and conductor. He wrote three
Broadway productions; Aphrodite (1919), The Gold Diggers (1919) and The Royal
Vagabond also in 1919 and wrote incidental music for The Wanderer in 1917. He
also appeared as conductor or producer for several other Broadway shows. One
of Goetzl's works, Aphrodite Waltz was the theme song for the radio version
of The Guiding light from 1937 to1947. Among his songs that were recorded or
became individual hits were; Aphrodite (1919), Dear Little Rose Girl (1920),
There Comes Some Day (1920) and When Our Sundays are Blue (1920).
Archie Gottler (1896 - 1959) is perhaps most
famous for his patriotic song America I
Love You, (MIDI, see our March,
1998 feature) introduced by Eva Tanguay in 1915. He wrote a number of classic
American songs including two in collaboration with Maceo Pinkard; Don't
Be Like That and Lila, which Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians later
recorded on a best selling disc. His songs are marked by wonderful melodies
and patriotic fervor. In one case, he showed his good humor with the novelty
War song, Would You Rather Be A ColonelWith An Eagle On Your Shoulder Or
A Private With A Chicken On Your Knee?. Gottler also wrote a number of
Broadway show scores as well as early sound movie scores. Gottler wrote several
very popular songs and several Broadway musicals including the Broadway Brevities
starring Eddie Cantor which opened at Winter Garden Theatre, September 29,1920
and ran for 105 performances. He attended CCNY and Long Island Business College.
He was a pianist in silent movie theaters early in his career. Gottler also
served in the Signal Corps during WWII as a producer of training films. Among
his other Broadway scores was the Zeigfeld Follies of 1918 and Good
Boy in 1928.Gottler was also a pioneer composer for early silent films composing
scores for The Fox Movietone Follies of 1929 and the film, Happy Days
in 1930. During his career he collaborated with a number of the big name lyricists
of the period and even brought his son, Jerome, into the business as a lyricist
to his music. Among his other successful songs are In
The Gold Fields Of Nevada (1915, Scorch format), Nobody Else But
Elsie (date unkn.), That's How I Feel About You (1928), Roamin'
Through The Roses (1933), and Mammy's Chocolate Soldier (1918). Gottler
died in California.
François Gounod ( b. Paris, 1818 - d. Paris,
1893) was the son of a talented painter who had won some acclaim but died when
Gounod was four. Gounod's mother was a pianist who gave young Charles his early
musical education. He learned classical studies at the Lycée St. Louis
and studied music under Anton Reicha when in 1836 he entered the prestigious
Paris Conservatoire. There he received instruction from some of the greatest
musicians of the times. Gounod won the coveted Prix de Rome three years later.
In 1839, he traveled to Rome where he was deeply impressed by the polyphonic
music he heard sung in the Sistine Chapel. He then began a serious study of
16th century sacred music. It was in the area of liturgical music that Gounod
excelled throughout his life. Arguably, his greatest work is the Messe solennelle
de Saint Cècile, first performed in 1855. Considered a masterpiece,
it established his successful style of ornate and elaborate work that was in
contrast to his earlier, more austere work.
In 1842 he traveled to Vienna and then on to Berlin where he was exposed to
the music of the area and also received a commission to compose two masses.
His experience there made him unique among French composers in that he had a
deep knowledge of music, past and present that went beyond the current French
traditions and operatic style. Gounod returned to Paris in 1843 to accept his
first position as organist at the Missions Etrangères and soon was at
odds with a congregation who disliked his steady diet of Bach and 16th century
music. Gounod seemed to understand that opera was a key to success for a French
composer. As such, he turned to composing opera and his first, Sapho
premièred in 1851. Unfortunately, in spite of compliments from renowned
composers such as Berlioz, it was a failure. He followed Sapho with
several other works that fared no better.
Thereafter followed a period of opera production where Gounod met with much
better success than he had earlier. Gounod produced Le Medecin malgré
lui in 1858 and then Philémon in 1860. These successes,
combined with Faust in 1859, earned Gounod a place as perhaps the most
acclaimed composer in France. Like Mascagni (see Ave Maria on page
one of this feature) Gounod was to spend the rest of his life in pursuit of
an opera as well received as Faust . Though he produced many more,
none enjoyed the popularity of Faust .
In the last years of his life, Gounod returned to religious music. He became
very successful in England and as such, he had a strong influence on choral
music there. It was Gounod's belief that France was a country of
"precision, neatness and taste, that is to say, the opposite of excess,
pretentiousness, disproportion and longwindedness"
It is in this sense, a master of a refined and precisely restricted style,
that he is now regarded.
George Graff Jr. (b. 1886 - d. 1973) Graff
was a prominent lyricist during the early years of Tin Pan Alley. He wrote lyrics
for individual songs as well as entire shows (Isle O' Dreams, 1912 with
Ernest R. Ball). Chauncy Olcott, the famed "Irish" singer asked Graff
to write another song for the show and Graff responded with what is arguable
the best "Irish" song of all time, When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.
Though he was a successful songwriter, Graff later became an investment counselor
and later retired to live in the Poconos. (Claghorn, p. 180). Among Graff's
works are; Till The Sands of the Desert Grow Cold (1911), I Love The
Name of Mary (1910), Good-by My Love, Good-Bye (1911), While the
Rivers of Love Flow On (1913), Wake Up
America! (Scorch format) (1916) and Blue
Bird Bring Back My Happiness (Scorch format) (1917)
Claudio S. Grafulla (1810-1880) was a composer in the United States during the 19th Century, most noted for martial music for regimental bands during the early days of the American Civil War.
Grafulla was born in 1810 on Minorca, a Spanish island off the coast of Spain. At the age of 28, he emigrated to the United States, where he became a French horn player in Napier Lothian's New York Brass Band in New York City. This band was attached to the 7th Regiment of the New York National Guard, which was honored in 1922 by John Philip Sousa's The Gallant Seventh march. In 1860, he added woodwinds to a reorganized band and continued to serve as its director (without pay) until his death in 1880.
A quiet, unassuming man who never married, his whole life centered around his music. His remarkable technical and musical skills allowed him to become well known as a composer, often writing music on order, and as an arranger. The hallmark Port Royal Band Books were composed and arranged for the 3rd New Hampshire Regiment Band, when it was formed for service during the Civil War. As a director of the 7th Regiment Band, his fame spread widely.
In 1861Grafulla composed Washington Greys for the 8th Regiment, New York State Militia. This work has been called a march masterpiece, a band classic, and the prototype of the concert march. Showing the stylistic influence of both German and Italian marches, the march has a marvelous balance of technique and melody in a continuous flow of musical ideas. (From Wikipedia)
Bert Grant Despite a fairly large oeuvre of
works, little can be found about the composer Bert Grant. We do know he wrote
quite a few popular songs including If
I Knock The "L" Out of Kelly (Scorch format), When
The Angelus Is Ringing(Scorch format), Arrah,
Go On, I'm Gonna Go Back To Oregon (MIDI) and When You're Away
and it is a little puzzling that so little can be found either on the net or
in our many references about him.
Jesse Greer (b. 1896, NYC, d. ?? ) The ASCAP
catalog lists 89 songs composed by Greer including a number of familiar tunes
such as; Flapperette , Get Happy, Baby Blue Eyes, On
The Beach With You, Sleepy Head, What Do I Care and several
unfamiliar ones such as Sasha The Passion Of The Pasha. In spite of his
rather prodigeous output, little else seems to be documented about him. He primarily
was writing during the twenties and thirties. In his early years he worked as
a pianist in theater and in music publishing houses. He served in the Arny during
WWI and collaborated with a number of popular lyricists during his most prolific
Frank H. Grey was a songwriter and a writer
of Broadway productions as well. We know of at least three Broadway shows written
by him in the period from 1922 to 1927; Sue Dear (1922), The Matinee
Girl (1926) and Happy (1927). We also know that he opten published
works in the Etude music magazine at least up through 1933. I've been
unable to locate any other information on Grey or about other specific song
titles by him at this time.
Wendell W. Hall is billed as "the
singing xylophonist" on the sheet music was born in 1896 in St. George
Kansas. The biographical material I have does not say a word about him being
a xylophonist! Hall was educated at the University of ChicagoPreparatory scool
and served in WWI. He became known as "the red-headed music maker"
on radio and made a world radio tour from 1924 to 1927. He was a singer, guitarist
(later, ukeleleist) and composer. His most popular and lasting composition was
a song based on a Negro spiritual, It Ain't Gonna Rain No Mo' , composed
in 1923. He also wrote a song titled The Red-Headed Music Maker in
1924. Underneath The Mellow Moon was made into a piano roll by US Best
Piano Rolls and the box title lists it as a "Waltz -Marimba"
Hugo Hamlin Though I've been unable to find
only two songs by him, here is what little we do know. Hamlin was born in 1884
and passed away in 1951. Hamlin moved to early Hollywood to produce stage productions
and to create a line of girls similar to the 'Rocketts' of Radio City Music
Hall. Hugo Hamlin produced all of the stage productions at Grauman's Chinese
Theater prior to movies taking over. He originally lived in and around Boston,
Cambridge and Salem. And that at some point he went to New York before coming
to California. Besides Decoratiuon Day I did find one other title attributed
to Hamlin, I'm Going Back To Chattanooga Tennesee published in 1913.
B. (Benjamin) R. Hanby (1833 - 1867) Popular composer. Graduated from Otterbein University in Westerville Ohio. Served as minister of the United Brethern Church in New Paris, Ohio from 1861 - 63. He worked for a time at the John Church Company in Cincinnati and afterward joined Root & Cady music publishers in Chicago. Among his many popular compositions are: Adoration (1866), Lowliness, Ole Shady, The song of the Contraband and surprisingly, he was the composer of the great "Santa Claus" song, Up On the House Top. He was best known for his super hit, Darling Nelly Gray (1857). Nelly Gray was the most popular and well known song written by Hanby. In 1856 Hanby sent the song to a music publisher in Boston (Ditson I presume) but never heard back from them. Some months later he noticed his song was a big hit across the nation and wrote to the publisher requesting his royalties. Reflective of the lack of protection for intellectual property of the time, the publisher wrote back to Hanby advising him they had no intention of paying him and that "he had the fame and we have the money aand that balanced the account."
Lou Handman (1894 - 1956) Born in New
York in 1894, Handman came of age touring in vaudeville and playing piano for
soldier shows in the First World War. He then hit Tin Pan Alley, where he was
a song plugger for Irving Berlin and an accompanist to vaudeville star Marion
Harris. Shortly thereafter, he began writing his own songs, creating a string
of hits that would be sung and performed by the most important radio and recording
artists of the time. Songs like Me and the Moon, No Nothing, Was
it Rain, Blue and Broken
Hearted, and his biggest hit Are You Lonesome Tonight? filled
the airwaves and the dance halls of the era. (From http://www.louhandman.com/bio/index.html)
For more about this outstanding Tin Pan Alley composer see the above
James F. Hanley (1892-1942) James F. Hanley was
a Tin Pan Alley composer, and much of what he composed was for films and variety
shows. He was a prolific composer for Broadway and his many hit shows place
him in the forefront among the greatest Broadway production writers. His credits
include: Thumbs Up (1934), Keep It Clean (1929), Sidewalks
of New York (1927) Honeymoon Lane (1926), Queen High (1926),
Ziegfeld's Revue, No Foolin (1926), Big Boy (1925), Pins and
Needles (1922) and Robinson Crusoe, Jr. (1916). Some of his individual
song hits include War Babies
(1916) Second Hand Ros, Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart (1935) Just
ACottage Small By A Waterfall (1925) and Indiana
(1917). Hanley also composed at least two film scores for The Monte Carlo
Story (1957) and Up the River (1930)
E.W. Hanscom was born in Maine in 1848 and died
sometime after 1910. He was educated initially in Maine and later travelled
to London, Berlin and Vienna to study composition. His compositions were mostly
religeous with a few other works including a song cycle and two Christmas carols
with violin obbligatto. Besides the Homeland, he wrote several songs that enjoyed
a fair level of popularity in the late 19th century among the more popular ones
were, Go; Rose; In Her Golden Hair and A Lullaby.
(American History and Encylopedia of Music p. 351)
John Wesley Hanson (1823 - 1901) a Bostonian who was a writer, newspaper editor and poet. A pastor as well, Hanson served as chaplain of the 6th Massachusetts regiment and served as army correspondent of the Boston Journal and the New York Tribune. His writings included a number of secular works as well as Biblical scholarly works. Some of his poetry was used as lyrics for a number of songs in the mid 19th century.
Kassell Harris was born in 1867 in Poughkipsie, NY
and died in NYC in 1930. He lived for many years in Milwaukee and published
many of his early songs there. His
After The Ball, (Scorch format) published in 1892 is generally considered
to be the watershed song that started the popular song industry in earnest as
a commercial juggernaught. Though Harris wrote many songs over the years, none
ever rose to the level of popularity as After The Ball. See our in-depth
biography of Harris for much more information.
Dr Cuthbert Harris (1870 - 1932) Born in
London, Harris graduated from Durham College in England in 1899 with a Doctorate
in music. Organist and composer. Best known for his compositions for organ most
of which continue in today's organ repetoire. Among his organ works are Andante
sostenuto in F, At Eventide, Berceuse in G, Chanson pastorale,
Concluding Voluntary in D minor, Concluding Voluntary in G major
and Festival Postlude in C. Harris also authored a book of studies for
the organ titled First Studies for the Organ. Harris also authored a number
of piano method books including two written under the pseudonym Gladys Cumberland;
A Child's Primer In The Elements Of Music (1924) and A Short Primer
In The Elements Of Music also in 1924. The
Fairy Gardeners (Scorch format) is the only secular work by Harris I've
found. Besides The Fairy Gardeners, Harris also published the song
Give Thanks and Sing in 1922. To listen to samples of his organ works, and
even buy some of them visit the Bardon
Music (UK) site. That site was the source of the list of his compositions
and the basic facts of his biography.
Will Hart (William J. ) (1866 - 1943) is nearly
lost to us as far as information about his life and work. We do know of a few
other songs written by him; As We Sat on a Rock, in Little Rock, Arkansaw
(1916 with Harry Tobias), Honolulu Cabaret (1916 with Lew Hays), She'll
Miss Me Most of All (1918 with Ed Nelson), Kiss Me Pretty (1917 with
Wm. J. Kruger), Follow Me To Germany and Victory (1918 with Ed. Nelson),
Belgian Rose (1917 with Ed Nelson) and of course When Yankee Doodle Learns
To Parlez Vous Francais also with Nelson in 1917.
Hein was born in NY in 1879 and died there in 1928.
He did not publish many songs and his most popular work, He's A Cousin Of
Mine was written in 1906.
S. R. Henry ( dates unknown) Little seems to be
available about Henry's life or works but we do know that he also wrote Peter
Piper, Down At The Huskin' Bee and I've Got The Time, I've Got
The Place (1910) with Ballard Mac Donald.
Cliff Hess wrote a number of popular
works including When Alexander Takes His Ragtime Band to France
(1918), Heart Breaking Baby Doll (1919) and
of course Huckleberry Finn
(Scorch format) in 1917. A pianist by trade, he also recorded a number of works
on acoustic recordings in the same period as his sonwriting efforts. Aside from
that, I've been unable to find much more information about him.
Eduard Holst may be the Denmark born (b. 1843
Copenhagen.- d. 1899 New York, NY) playwright who also managed to find time
to compose. According to accounts of the time, he was a very versatile man who
was an actor, dancer, dance master, playwright and composer. His compositions
include songs and piano solo works though a catalog has proven elusive. We have
three of his works in our collection, Bloom
& Blossom, (scorch format) a Waltz (1887) and Autumn Leaf,
a Polka for Children also from 1887 and a part of a six work series for children
titled Shower of Melodies published by White Smith Music in Boston. His
other work we have is a far cry from a childs work and is in fact a complex
and fantastic work titled Dance of The Demon
(MIDI) in 1888. Among his other works are Marine Band March and Battle
of Manila (1898). Holst also composed a comic opera, Our Flats and
a comedy, Hot Water. Though we can only find a few of his works listed
in various sources, he was quite prolific and a 1907 biography states he produced
over two thousand works.
HORN, Charles Edward, born in London, England, in 1776; died in Boston, Massachusetts, 10 June, 1848. He was educated by his father, a well known German musician, and in 1809 made his debut as a vocalist at the English opera house in London. He studied under several noted instructors, and emerged in 1814 in London as an opera singer. He appeared in most of the large play houses and music halls of Great Britain and Ireland, both as a vocalist, conductor of music, and composer and during that time wrote many songs, some of which became widely popular. Among them are The Deep, Deep Sea, Even as the Sun, Cherry Ripe, and I've been Roaming. He first came to America in 1827 and sang in a number of major operas in New York then traveled around the country performing. He returned to London in 1832 where he opened a music store as his voice had failed him by then. Sometime before his death, he and his wife returned to America where she performed many of his compositions and he closed his career in Boston as a teacher of music and conductor of the Handel and Haydn society.
E. Howard (1878 - 1961) Was a popular composer
and vaudevuille performer. His immortality can be found in the famous work Hello
Ma Baby which he wrote with his wife Ida Emerson in 1899. Howard wrote a
number of popular works in addition, among them are; On a Saturday Night
(1902), Goodbye My Lady Love (1904), What's The Use of Dreaming (1906),
I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now with Will M. Hough and Frank R. Adams
(1909) which Howard introduced in the Chicago show, The Prince of Tonight.
Charles Hoyt was a very popular composer whose most
lasting hit is The Bowery from 1892. That song was later used in the
1945 film Sunbonnet Sue and was the basis for a ballet sequence in
the John Phillip Sousa biographical film The Stars and Stripes Forever.
Born in 1860 in Concord,NH, Hoyt was most well known as a playwright and in
fact, this song is from his A Stranger In New York. He wrote a number
of hit plays, mostly farces and as you can see from these lyrics, had a rather
Harte was one of America's greatest "western"
authors. Though New York born (Albany 1839), his family moved to California
in 1854 where he worked in a number of jobs from miner to journalist. It was
there he met Mark Twain and other notable writers of the period. While working
for the Overland Monthly as editor, Harte wrote a short story titled
The Luck of The Roaring Camp which immediately became popular. He wrote
a number of other stories about the American West as well as poetry, and at
least this one song lyric. Harte returned to New York in 1871 and in 1878 was
appointed U.S. Consul in Germany. In 1880 he moved to Scotland and later to
London where he died in 1902. (Image & biographical source
Ada Koppitz Harsch wrote at least one other work
besides Always Sweethearts
(scorch format) that we can locate, the Troopers, a march that is sometimes
played today by marching bands.Otherwise, we get a chilling blank page when
searching for her on the net and find absolutely no mention of her in any of
our references. Chalk up yet another loss to our heritage and our next poster
child for women's music.
H.R. Haweis was a musician, music scholar and
Reverend he wrote several books across a wide spectrum of subjects from a treatise
on cremation titled Ashes to Ashes, a book on Violins, Old Violins
published by John Grant, Edinburgh 1905, Old Songs with drawings by Edwin
A Abbey and Alfred Parsons to Music and Morals with David Bogue, in 1882.
Though he seems to have left behind a number of works, little else can be found
Reginald Heber (1783-1826) Heber attended Brasenose
College, Oxford, cradle of a number of the most prominent hymn writers in England.
He also attended All Souls College, and later became rector in Shropshire, England.
In 1823, he was appointed Bishop of Calcutta. He wrote over 60 hymns, most of
which were not recognized and published till long after he was gone. He wrote
some of Christiandom's greatest hymns including Holy, Holy, Holy.
J. Fred Helf was a popular composer during the
first two decades of the twentieth century who, like many other successful composers,
formed his own publishing company. His company did quite well for several years
and published for a number of popular songwrites as well as for his own works.
Helfs firm's demise shows the fragility of many of the businesses of that period.
In 1910 Helf published Play That Barbershop Chord, by Lewis Muir and
William Tracey, or at least that is how Helf published it. Songwriter Ballard
Macdonald had begun work on the song and had written dummy lyrics before leaving
the song behind. The piece was finished by Lewis Muir and William Tracey, and
Macdonald was incensed that Helf left his name off the sheet music. He sued
Helf successfully, and the award of $37,500 forced Helf into bankruptcy thus
ending his foray into publishing.
Helf also wrote Every Race Has a Flag but the Coon (1900, also with Heelan);
Texas Tommy's Dance (1911); The Fatal Rose of Red (1900) and perhaps
his greatest title, If Money Talks, It Ain't On Speaking Terms With Me (
Fred Heltman enjoyed much greater success as
a publisher than as a songwriter as his Cleveland publishing house became a
respected one that published a number of well regarded songs. However Heltman
himself did write quite a large number of songs, several of which were hits
among them; Chewin' the Rag, 1912; The Beautiful
Land of Somewhere, (MIDI) 1918; Daisy,
(MIDI) a rag from 1914; Every Girl Was Meant For Someone, 1913 and
Fred Heltman's Rag in 1918. Heltman's rags continue to find performance
outlets and are respected among ragtime performers and collectors. Oddly enough,
little mention is made of him in publications about early American popular song.
Wallie Herzer Perhaps best known for his 1912
song Everybody Two Step, , also wrote Aloha Land which was recorded
on an Edison Record in 1916. The rest of the story on this creative composer
is seemingly unknown. I was unable to even find birth and death dates or any
other information. The cover states the work was "Featured in J.C. Williamson's
Musical Play Katinka." Katinka is based on a Russian
story about a woman who marries out of a sense of duty but who loves another.
The story seems to have been produced in a number of versions by several composers,
the most prominent and lasting being by Rudolf Friml in 1916. Friml's version
resulted in a number of hit songs.
Herbert (b. Dublin, 1859 - d. New York City,
1924) Herbert was three when his father died and he and his mother went to live
with her father in a small town near London. Sinve his grandfather, Samuel Lover
was a man of letters and dramatist, the boy grew up in a cultured atmosphere
where he learned to appreciate the arts. At seven he began studying piano with
his mother. He showed such talent that his mother and grandfather sent him to
Germany for intensive music study. In Stuttgart he studied music with a specialty
in cello. He played with several orchestras and was became first cellist at
the Stuttgart Royal Orchestra. During that time he began writing music and wrote
a suite and a concerto for cello and orchestra. Described as a commanding man,
he was always well tailored and showed wit and good manners. He married Theresa
Förster in 1886 and shortly thereafter they traveled to America where the
good Fräulein was engaged to perform with the Metropolitan Opera Company.
In New York, Herbert joined the Metropolitan Opera Company orchestra
and soon became an American citizen, never again to return to Ireland
or Germany. For a while Herbert performed as a soloist and formed and
conducted and orchestra. He also formed the New York String Quartet and
became a faculty member of the National Conservatory of Music. His compositional
efforts up till 1893 were focused entirely on concert works. Then Lillian
Russel commisioned him to write an operetta, La Vivandière,
which was never produced, supposedly because it was not up to her standards.
Undaunted, Herbert was taken by popular song and operetta and the next
year he wrote Prince Ananias and with it was launched the popular
and musical stage career of one of America's greatest somg writers. A
number of stage productions culminating in what is arguably, his greatest
operetta, Babes In Toy Land.
In addition to his operettas, many of the songs from them became stand alone
hits (i.e. Toy Land) and he wrote a number of enduring hits we still
sometimes hear today. Among them are Ah! Sweet Mystery Of Life, Gypsy Love
Song, In Old New York, Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! and You Belong To Me.
His 1924 song and operetta of the same name My Dream Girl were his last. Herbert
died in New York City in 1924 of a heart attack.
A. Hirsch (b. 1887, New York City., d. 1924, New York
City) In his senior year at City College of New York, Louis, a native New Yorker,
went to Europe for a few months. His ambition was to be a concert pianist, and
so he wanted to study at Berlin's Stern Conservatory, with pianist Rafael Joseffy.
He returned to the U.S. in 1906, but turned his efforts to more pratical ends.
Hirsch started working in the Tin Pan Alley publishing houses of Gus Edwards,
and Shapiro-Bernstein. He also began to write some of his own music.
His first assignment was writing music for the Lew Dockstader's Minstrels.
From 1907 to 1909, some of his tunes were included in various Broadway shows,
including The Gay White Way, Miss Innocence and The
Girl and the Wizard. In 1911, Hirsh wrote the score for the Revue of
Revues, which introduced French star Gaby Deslys to Americans. The 1911
production Vera Violetta was his first major success. Starring relative
unknown, Al Jolson, this production helped propel Jolson to stardom. Gaby Deslys
In 1912 Hirsch was hired by the Schuberts and as a result he was involved in
a number of successful productions with them including, The Whirl of Society,
1912, also starring Al Jolson; The Passing Show of 1912; Always Together,
and The Wedding Guide.
In 1913, Hirsch quit the Schuberts, and traveled to England, only to return
to the U.S. at the start of WW1. He went to work for Florenz Ziegfeld. Working
mainly with lyricist Gene Buck, he wrote songs four several productions of the
famed Ziegfeld Follies. Among his many hits are; Sweet
Kentucky Lady, (MIDI) 1914; Hello Frisco!, 1915, Going
Up (Scorch format) from the musical of the same name in 1917; and the
1920 hit Love Nest
(Scorch format), perhaps Hirsch's most successful song, which later became the
Burns and Allen radio show theme. Louis Hirsch died in New York City, in 1924,
Bertrand J. H. (Joseph Hubert) Hoffacker (1828 - 1892)Bertrand Joseph Hubert Hoffacker, was born in Cologne, Germany in 1828 and was later known as Joseph, Bertrand, or BJ. He was the oldest of at least eight children. While still in Cologne, he became a "Baumeister" or master carpenter. He was an active member of the Social-Democrat Party in Prussia and perhaps the Party's defeat in 1848 led to Bertrand's departure for America. He married Louise Dietz in Cologne, and shortly thereafter, they emigrated to the U.S. arriving in New York in November of 1851.
Bertrand was a great admirier of William Cullen Bryant, the poet and editor of the New York Evening Post. He dedicated some of his musical compositions to WC Bryant and set some of Bryant's poems to music. I don't know whether they ever met, but they definitely corresponded. Some of my distant cousins have the original letters that Bryant wrote to Bertrand. At Bertrand's request, Mr. Bryant wrote a letter of introduction for him to meet President Lincoln dated December 10, 1863:
“To Mr. Lincoln,
President of the United States.
Mr. Bertrand J. Hoffacker of this city being about to visit Washington has desired from me a letter to you which I give him with great pleasure. Mr. Hoffacker is the author of the words and music of a composition entitled the “National Union Hymn” which has been received with great acceptance and sung in public and private circles. He is a man of the most fervent loyalty which he has taken more than one occasion to express in spiritual airs and harmonies. Mr. Hoffacker’s means of subsistence are not affluent and he and his friends would be gratified if he were allowed to serve the country in some of its numerous posts.
I am, Sir
Most respectfully yours.
Wm. C. Bryant”
Unfortunately, we do not know whether Bertrand ever actually met with the President. Among Bertrand's musical compositions aref: Anderson March 1861, The National Hymn 1861, The Centennial Presentation Hymn 1876, When He Told me that he Loved Me 1882 and Electric Age March 1883.
In 1918, Bertrand's son Bernhard rearranged, renamed and republished some of his pieces. The National Hymn became Peace Forever. The Centennial Presentation Hymn became The Stars and Stripes. Also republished in 1918 were Victory Call, New National Hymn, and Welcome Brave Boys.
Bertrand is believed to have written The National Hymn of 1861 as part of a contest for a new national hymn soon after the Civil War started. The total prize was $500: $250 each to the composer and lyricist. A committee of prominent New Yorkers was formed to review the twelve-hundred submissions that were received. In the end, they didn’t choose any of the submissions and awarded no prize money! The committee didn’t find any of the pieces suitable! Bertrand must have been terribly disappointed.
In addition to his music, Bertrand wrote a play in German (published in 1864) called Enthüllung, oder Rot, Weiss und Schwarz. Ein Trauerspiel in 5 Aufzügen. A tragedy in 5 acts. A copy of the play in the NY Public Library at http://catnyp.nypl.org/record=b4767392.
Hoffacker died in 1892 in New York City.
(The above biography was researched and provided to us by members of Hoffacker's family. We are extremely grateful for their efforts in sharing this information with us so that Mr. Hoffacker's musical legacy can be properly credited and preserved)
M. Hough (1882 - 1962) Was educated at the University
of Chicago and wrote material for vaudeville and Broadway productions. His best
known work is I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now with Will M. Hough and Joseph
E. Howard (1909). He also wrote a number of books for stage productions
that include; The Goddess of Liberty (1909), The Land of Nod (1907)
and A Modern Eve (1915).
Frank Howard as is the case with almost all
of the pre 1900's composers, is elusive. I've found no biographical facts to
share with you but he is credited with quite a few works from as early as 1848
through 1889. The majority of his works seem to have been published in the 1860's.
Among his published songs are; Little Bare-foot (undated, 19th century),
Uncle Tom's Glimpse of Glory (1852), Golden Leaves of Autumn (1868),
Who Says The Darkies Won't Fight? (1862), Profit and Loss (1866)
and When The Robins Nest Again (1883).
Raymond Hubbell (b. 1879, Urbana, Ohio
- d. 1954, Miami, FL.) Worked originally in Tin Pan Alley for Charles
K. Harris as a pianist and arranger and in many respects wrote the music
for many of Harris' songs. As a composer he wrote the music for a large number
of successful Broadway musicals including Chow Chow (1902), Fantana
(1905), A Knight For A Day (1907), Hip Hip Hooray (1915), The
Bid Show (1916), Cheer Up (197), The Elusive Lady (1922),
Yours Truly (1927) and Three Cheers in 1928 starring Will Rogers
and Dorothy Stone. In total, he wrote music for over 30 Broadway productions
including several editions of the Ziegfeld
Follies. Perhaps his most enduring hit was Poor Butterfly witten in 1916
for the production The Big Show.
Herbert Ingraham (1883 - 1910) has fared somewhat
better over time and we do know a little about him. Ingraham was born in Aurora,
Illinois in 1893 and was considered a musical prodigy early in life. As a child
he conducted his own theatrical company and organized an orchestra in Chicago.
He moved to New York and became a staff composer for Shapiro, Bernstein &
Co. and was on his way to spectacular success when he contracted tuberculosis
and he died at only 27. In the last year of his life, he had several hits including,
All That I Ask Of You Is Love, You Are The Ideal of My Dreams and Good-by
Rose. Roses Bring Dreams of You was one of his greatest hits and
a couple of comedy songs; Because I'm Married and Hoo-oo! Ain't
You Coming Out Tonight? His untimely death ended a very promising career.
Harry Jentes (1887-1958)
Harry Jentes was an American vaudeville performer and composer of popular music. He wrote a number of rags the best known probably being The Rhapsody Rag (1911) , The Soup and Fish Rag (1913 ) which he co-authored with Pete Wendling and Bantam Step (1916). His best known song is probably I Don't Want To Get Well (1917). Jentes also wrote for some Broadway productions including Earl Carroll's Vanities in 1925 During the 1920's, Jentes cut several piano rolls. He was born and died in New York City.
Jerome (b. 1865, Cornwall-on-the-Hudson, NY - d.
1932, New York, NY) One of Tin Pan Alley's and early Broadways most important
lyricists, he collaborated with many of Tin Pan Alley's greatest composers including
Walter Donaldson, Andrew B. Sterling, Harry Von Tilzer and Lewis Hirsch. His
main collaborator from 1901 too the 20's though was Jean Schwartz. Early in
his career, like many of his fellow songwriters, Jerome performed in Vaudeville
and Misntrel shows. He formed his own publishing house who's best known publication
is George Cohan's great hit war song, Over There. He wrote music for
a number of the Ziegfield follies as well as many stage shows including, In
Hayti (1909), Piff! Paff! Poof! (1904), and Vera Violetta
( 1911). His most famous songs include Bedelia
(MIDI), Chinatown, My Chinatown
(MIDI) and Get Out And Get Under The Moon.
Al Jolson, was the number one performer on the American song stage for
many years. A song sung by Jolson was almost guaranteed to be a hit. Jolson
billed himself as The Worlds Greatest Entertainer and who
could argue? Working in blackface, he sang songs about his southern Mammy
with a passion that endeared him to Broadway audiences. His voice, was probably
the most imitated and parodied in the world. As a musical comedy star, he belted
out songs like Swanee and Is It True What They Say About Dixie?
with flair and always demanding applause for his songs and jokes, he was rarely
disappointed. Electric, dynamic energy and like
a cyclone were some of the terms used to describe his performances on
stage; and after singing for three hours with incredible energy, he could still
call out: You aint heard nothin yet. Though kind and
sentimental, he left much to be desired as a human being. His was an enormous
ego. He could be arrogant, surly and a braggart and many of his contemporaries
disliked him. But he was a giant in the entertainment world, a hit maker, and
always last on the bill because no one could follow him. Though four times married,
the love of his life was an audience - any audience. He needed applause the
way a diabetic needs insulin.
Al Jolson did not just sing songs - he rattled your backbone and made you want
to get up and dance. He was probably the greatest entertainer the world has
ever known. (from the Al Jolson site at: http://www.times1190.freeserve.co.uk/jolson.
For more about Jolson, see our
in depth Jolson biography as well as ourspecial feature on his music.
Burges Johnson (B. 1880 - d. ??) has fared better
in history than some of our composers, not perhaps so much as a song writer
but as a poet and writer. Also a humorist, Johnson wrote a number of poems,
limericks and other works. His works include titles such as; Rhapsody On
A Dog's Intelligence, Contentment, A Lyric of The Llama, The Lost Art of Profanity
and The Funny Froggy Bubble Book (with Ralph Mayhew). The Funny Froggy
Bubble Book (1917) and a second issue, The Second Bubble Book (1918)
were compilations of songs, poems and stories for children.
Leslie Johnson was born in Kansas City, Kansas on
December 3, 1876. He started taking piano lessons at age six and at sixteen
was studying composition and music theory. Incredibly talented, he taught himself
to play the violin, banjo, guitar and mandolin. He not only was a composer and
performer but also an important patron of the arts in organizing a number of
string orchestras. Like many great composers of the times, he was a song plugger
early in his career, playing for J.W. Jenkins Sons' Music Company. His first
published rag was Scandalous Thompson, published by Jenkins in 1899.
Later, Johnson was associated with Central Music Publishing and then Carl Hoffman
Music Company. While working at Hoffman in 1906, Johnson was working on a new
rag when the bookkeeper walked in and asked him what the name of the new work
was. Johnson had not named the song yet but noticed the man carrying a carton
of dill pickles. Johnson supposedly replied, "I'll call it 'Dill Pickles
Rag.' " After the success of Dill
Pickles (Sibelius scorch format), Johnson started his own publishing
firm which was purchased by Will Rossiter in 1910 with the stipulation that
Johnson not re-enter publishing for at least one year.
Johnson became one of the most prolific composers of the period and expanded
his compositions to cover all types of music other than rags. He was published
by all of the major firms and was so productive he even resorted to using pseudonyms
to make it look like he had a staff of composers working for him. In all, Johnson
wrote thirty two rags including Porcupine Rag in 1909 and Blue
Goose Rag in 1913. His biggest money making song was Sweet and Low
in 1919. Considered a clever and creative composer, Johnson's high sense of
humor was often reflected in his works, as it is in Dill Pickles. Always
a homebody, Johnson stayed in his hometown of KC for his entire life and died
there on December 28, 1950.
Herbert Johnson (1857 - 1904) Ave
Maria (scorch format) may have been one of the last songs written by
Johnson for he died the year after its publication. We know that he wrote many
other hyms and sacred songs, many of which are stunning such as Ave Maria and
Face To Face (scorch
format) yet very little seems to have been retained about his entire output
and life. There also appears to be some evidence of a few secular songs by Johnson
although a catalog of his output seems to be lacking.
Howard Johnson (b. 1887, Waterbury, CT,
d. 1941, New York,NY) (not the restaurant man) was also one of the greatest
lyricists of the period, also with many hits to his credit. His name appears
over and over in our collection in such famous works as M-O-T-H-E-R, When
The Moon Comes Over The Mountain, Where
Do We Go From Here ( Scorch format, featured in the
first installment of our three part essay about World War I music) and Freckles.
Rosamund (1873 - 1964) and J. W. (James
Weldon) Johnson (1871 - 1938) were brothers from Jacksonville, Florida. In the vanguard of black popular song composers, the Johnson's enjoyed
a rare success in the world of early 20th century Tin Pan Alley. They were teamed
with Bob Cole in Vaudeville from 1901 to'06.They primarily worked together during
their entertainment careers, separating only on James' was appointed U. S. Consul
to Venezuela in 1906 and then on his death in 1938. Rosamond was educated at
the prestigeous New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. Together the Johnson's
wrote a number of popular and classical works. Among their works were; Walk
Together Children (for orchestra and chorus, 1915), Florida Cakewalk
(piano solo), De Chain Gang, Under the Bamboo Tree, Since You
Went Away, and Lift Every Voice and Sing, often called the "Negro
national Anthem." They also collaborated on two stage productions, The
Shoo-fly Regiment (1906) and The Red Moon (1908).
Isham Jones (1894 - 1956)Isham Jones was best known
as a dance band leader in the twenties well into the thirties. At the same time,
a number of his compositions have Jones was born in Coalton, Ohio but the family
moved to Saginaw, Michigan when he was very young.
Isham Jones & Orchestra
Passionate about music from an early age, at 18, young Isham started and led
his own band. Then in 1915, he moved to Chicago where he played tenor Sax and
led a trio. Later he led an orchestra at Green Mill, and at the Rainbow Gardens
in Erie, Pennsylvania. By the twenties, Jones was well established and was sought
after by some of the best venues. In 1924, he appeared in New York before sailing
to London, England.
During this time Jones and his band appeared on many recordings and he became
very popular. Jones became equally important as a composer during this period
and many of his songs have become standards. He managed to compose hits every
year through the twenties and thirties. His hits include; I'll See You In
My Dreams (1924), It Had To Be You (1924), My Castle In Spain
(1926), Song Of The Blues (1929), Let's Try Again (1932) , No
Greater Love (1936) and How Many Tears Must Fall (1948). After the
30's Jones involvement in music became spotty and he led bands at intervals
between near obscurity, mostly on the west coast. Jones died in 1956 in Hollywood,
Ca. (Essential biographical facts from kinkle, V.2, pp. 1196-1197
and The Wolverine
Antique Music Society ).
Albert Jungmann (B. Langensalza, (Prussia) Germany,
November 14, 1824; D. Pandorf, Austria, 1892 ) Jungmann studied music theory
with Liebrock and piano with Gotthilf W. Körner who later was one of his
primary publishers along with G. A. Spina, music publishers in Vienna. Jungmann
moved to Italy and was professor of music at the St. Cecilia Acadamy in Rome
for some time. He returned to Vienna in 1853. Jungmann also managed one publishing
house, Diabella & Co and ultimately succeeded Spina as owner and he changed
the publishing house's name to Jungmann and Lerch. He wrote hundreds of salon
pieces for piano. His music was quite popular due to its melodiousness and practical
technique. He composed some songs and orchestral music but it seems his piano
work Heimweh, is his most remembered work.
Gus Kahn (1886 - 1941) is one of America's greatest
lyricists. Born in Coblenz, Germany, his family came to the USA and settled
in Chicago in 1891. He worked mostly in non-music related jobs but persisted
in seeking outlets for his song lyrics. His first song was published in 1907
and after that, he concentrated on writing lyrics for vaudeville performers
in Chicago first, then in New York in the 1920's. In 1933, he moved to California
and focused on writing for movies. The many eminent composers he teamed with
over his long career include, Isham Jones, Walter Donaldson (My Buddy)
, Egbert Van Alstyne, George Gershwin and Ernie Erdman (Toot -Toot -Tootsie).
Many of his songs have become standards with Pretty Baby (1916) being perhaps
the most notable. Other standards by Kahn include, Carolina In The Morning
(1922), Makin' Whoopee, 1928 and Liza (1928). His movie biography,
I'll See You In My Dreams (1951) starring Danny Thomas and Doris Day
is an engrossing story that is filled with many of his hits. Kahn died in Beverly
Hills in 1941.
Bert Kalmar (b. 1884, NYC - d. 1947, Los Angeles)Kalmar
was one of Tin Pan Alley's more prolific and successful lyricists. Though he
primarily collaborated with Harry Ruby, he also collaborated with many of the
other great songwriters of the period such as Ted Snyder, Oscar Hammerstein
II, Con Conrad and Pete Wendling. Kalmar ran away from home at age ten and worked
in a travelling tent show as a magician. He performed in vaudeville primarily
as a comedian and began writing material for his own and other performers. He
was quite unsuccessful at writing songs till he met Ruby and they began working
together. Some of his best known hits include,
Oh! What A Pal Was Mary (MIDI), Who's Sorry Now?, I Wanna
Be Loved By You and Three Little Words. Kalmar's success as a lyricist
also brought him into the Broadway show business and he wrote the scores for
a number of very successful shows including Helen Of Troy New York (1923) and
Animal Crackers (1928). He also wrote scores for movies, his most memorable
being Check and Double Check starring Amos and Andy. One song from that
film, Three Little Words, is considered by most to be his greatest hit.
His last song, A Kiss To Build A Dream On became popular four years after
his death after it appeared in the 1951 film, The Strip. (basic
facts from kinkle, V.2, p.p. 1217-18 and Claghorn, p. 247)
James Kendis (b. 1883, St. Paul, MN, d. 1946,
Jamaica, NY) had some of his greatest success in his collaborations with James
Brockman with whom he composed his greatest hit, I'm
Forever Blowing Bubbles (MIDI). Kendis formed his own publishing company,
Kendis Music Company. Some of his other hits not collaborated with Brockman
include, If I Had My Way, Angel Eyes, and Come Out Of
The Kitchen, Mary Ann.
Amanda Kennedy had a successful career
as a composer, unusual for a woman during these times. Her greatest hit is Star
Of The Sea (Scorch format) (1883),
but she also wrote a number of other works such as the Adrienne Polka
(1885), Beyond the Stars (1883) and I'll Sleep 'Neath the Soft Grassy
Turf also published in 1883.One thing I have discovered in reserching composers
and lyricists from this period is the tremendous gap of information related
to women composers. Whereas men of feeble ability and few publications are easily
found in vbooks from the period, feminine composers are almost entirely ignored,
no matter how accomplished or successful. It is only grudgingly that we find
refernce to women composers and then only when they simply cannot be ignored.
I find this shameful but worse, we have lost valuable musical history and have
done the memory of these wonderful composers a terrible injustice.
Kern (b. Jan. 27, 1885, New York City, d. Nov. 11, 1945,
New York City) Kern was one of the most important pioneering composers of American
Popular Song, Jerome Kern was writing for Broadway shows in 1904 (age 19). He
wrote his first complete score for a Broadway musical in 191l. The Kern/Hammerstein
score for the musical Showboat was a landmark in the Broadway theater.
He starting writing for Hollywood as early as 1935. After his last Broadway
show Very Warm For May, Kern wrote exclusively for motion pictures.
During 1913, Kern and other composers and lyricists were experimenting, in the
small Princess Theater in New York, with American subjects for musicals. Kern's
first big hit was They Didn't Believe Me from the 1914 show The
Girl from Utah. In 1919, Kern had a minor hit with the song Ka-Lu-A,
with lyric by Anne Caldwell. The huge success of that year was the song Dardanella
(midi). Kern used the bass line of Dardanella in his Ka-lu-a,
and the publishers of Dardanella sued him. The case went all the way
to the Supreme Court where Kern eventually lost. (He was never accused of plagiarizing
the melody, only of using the Bass Line.) That case was a landmark for copyright
interpretation and protection. Several other hit shows followed in the late
1910's and twenties before his biggest hit musical Showboat. By the
end of the thirties Kern had composed his last Broadway musical.
The son of an upper-middle class new York family, Jerome studied at Heidleberg
University in Germany, returning to the U.S. with a Master of Music degree.
His first published song appeared in a Broadway show, 'Silver Slipper'.
Jerome was 19 years old at the time. During the next eight years, he had melodies
in over 24 Broadway shows before having his first big hit "They Didn't
Believe Me" from the 1914 show The Girl From Utah.
In the 1920's, he wrote material for many shows, but his greatest achievement
came with 1927's Show Boat, one of the finest shows Broadway has ever
produced. By this time, he had already written such songs as Look For The
Silver Lining, Ol' Man River,"Only Make Believe",
and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." In 1932, he wrote The Song
Is You with Oscar Hammerstein for the Broadway show Music In The Air.
That same year he signed with RKO Pictures for the films Roberta and,
in 1936, Swingtime with it's twin hits of The Way You Look Tonight
and A Fine Romance, both sung by Fred Astaire. His last Broadway show
was in 1939 Very Warm For May.
In the 1940's: Kern's Hits included: The Last Time I Saw Paris, Dearly
Long Ago and Far Away, "Just The Way You Look Tonight, Pick Yourself
Up and Start All Over Again, I'm Old Fashioned and the Judy Garland hit
vocal. "More and More."
In 1945 Kern suffered a fatal Stroke. He was 65 years old.
Albert Ketelby (b 1875, Birmingham, England -
d. 1958, Isle of Wight )displayed a talent for music at a young age, and by
his teens was composing classical pieces. He attended Trinity College of Music
in Oxford, beating out Gustav Holst in a scholarship competition. Although he
achieved some critical recognition for his choral and chamber works, his greatest
success was in descriptive pieces, much along the lines of Delius's "In
the Fens," but with much more exotic subjects. His "In a Persian Market,"
"In a Chinese Temple Garden," and "In a Monastery Garden"
were very popular with theater orchestras and in sheet music form. Although
this type of music is now out of style, it was well considered at the time--Ketelby
was in some ways the last of a line that included Johann Strauss and Franz Lehar.
Scott Key (1779-1843) was born in Frederick, Maryland,
and after an education at St. John's College, Annapolis, he worked as an attorney,
first in his home town, and then in Georgetown, in Washington, D.C. In 1814
the British seized Dr. William Beanes in retreat from Washington, and Key was
dispatched to arrange his release. This accomplished, Key spent the night of
September 13-14 on an American ship as the British shelled Baltimore. In "The
Star-Spangled Banner," written on an envelope as he was taken ashore and
revised in his hotel after night fell, Key recorded his feelings when dawn broke
and the American flag still flew. His sister-in-law, Mrs. Joseph Hopper Nicholson,
took it to a printer the next day. After being published on handbills, the anthem
was printed in the Baltimore American on September 21. The manuscript fair copy
now rests in the Walters Gallery in Baltimore. This poem was not Key's only
effort; his Poems were posthumously published in 1857. Married to Mary Tayloe
Lloyd in 1802, Key had 11 children. He died on January 11, 1843, and was buried
in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Frederick.
Ray Klages (1888 - 1947) Klages was an active
songwriter during the 1920's and 30's. Educated at Baltimore City College, he
first began songwriting in his 20's and as with many songwriters of the period,
began in vaudeville. Klages served in the military in WWI and during his early
musical career worked for various song publishing houses in New York. Klages
also collaborated and wrote a few Broadway productions including the score for
Sally in 1922. He collaborated with many of the best songwriters of the
period. Some of his more important works were; Doin' The Racoon, Just
You, Just Me; Pardon Me Pretty Baby and Early
In The Morning Blues.
Henry Kleber (1816 - 1897) There is some evidence that Stephen Foster had instruction in music from Henry Kleber, a concert artist, piano teacher and music dealer of Pittsburgh. It was Kleber who brought the first upright pianos to Pittsburgh in 1849, one of which was purchased by Mary Woods, in whose home Stephen Foster often played. Beyond that bit of information found on-line, there is no mention of Kleber in any of my references but did find his obituary published in The Pittsburgh Bulletin, 27 February 1897 which said: "He was born in Darmstadt, Germany, in 1816, coming to this city when a child, and at an early age manifesting his talents as a musician, teacher and composer. In 1845, with his brother, the late Augustus Kleber, he established the firm of H. Kleber & Bro., which, for half a century, has enjoyed a prosperous career. In the necessarily brief limits of this notice, an extended review of the worth and works of Henry Kleber cannot be given." In addition to The Atlantic Telegraph other works by Kleber include; I Am Coming, I Am Coming (1868), Meet Me March (1854) and Unfurl the Glorious Banner (1856). His most popular Schottisch was The Rainbow Schottisch which first appeared in 1852 and was issued in 120 editions. Kleber also wrote a funeral march on the occasion of the death of President Garfield who was assassinated in 1881.
F. Henri Klickmann (1885 -
1966) also wrote, Floatin' Down to Cotton Town in 1919 with Jack Frost
and Waters of The Perkiomen in 1935. Klickman was an extremely versatile
composer having written many instrumental and ragtime compositions such as A
Trombone Jag (1910) and High Yellow Cake Walk and Two Step (1915)
as well as a wide variety of songs. Interestingly, Waters of The Perkiomen
was originally a work for accordian. Klickmann wrote quite a few pieces for
accodian and is one of the more popular composers for that instrument. In addition
to all this, he also wrote "classical" style music, including a concerto
for tenor sax. Klickmann wrote a large number of ragtime works that are popular
in today's resurgence of ragtime interest. A simple search of the internet will
return many, many references to his music and a number of sites that feature
He was well known as not only a composer but as an orchestrator
and arranged music for a number of acts including the famous Six Brown Brothers
who were responsible for the popularization of the saxophone in vaudeville and
recording. Klickmann composed a number of pieces they recorded in 1916 and 1917
as well as published commercial arrangements of them including the tune
Chicken Walk. There is an audible improvement from 1914-15 in the sophistication
of the writing attributed to Klickmann. Klickmann composed in a wide range of
popular styles and his hits include; Sweet
Hawaiian Moonlight (Sibelius scorch format); Good-Bye (1914)
a "hesitation waltz"; Knockout Drops Rag; The Dallas Blues
(1912), and My Sweetheart Went Down with the Ship, a 1912 tear jerker
about the Titanic. With a long and fruitful life, Klickmann turned to arranging
in later years and arranged some of Zez Confrey's great piano jazz works such
as Kitten On The Keys.
Louis Koemmenich was born in Elberfield, Germany
in 1866 and emigrated to the US before 1890. He set down his roots in NYC and
studied with Anton Krause and Barmen. By 1890 he was a teacher and conductor
at Kullak's Academy. He held various other conducting posts, most notably conducting
the Brooklyn Sangerbund (1894), the New York Oratorio Society (1912 - 17) and
the New York Beethoven Society (1917 - 22). Along with his composition of marches
and other popular works, Koemmenich also composed a number of choruses and a
cantata. He died in NY in 1922 .
Ted Kohler (b. 1894, Washington, DC, d. 1973)
Kohler was raised in NYC and Newark, NJ. He was an accomplished pianist and
early in his career worked as a song plugger. He wrote a number of popular and
lasting hits including Get Happy in 1930; I LOve A Parade
in 1931 and the incredible Stormy Weather in 1933, all in collaboration
with Harold Arlen. Kohler also worked with other famous songwriters including
Burton Lane and Ted Fiorito. He also wrote for films in Hollywood. Kohler's
list of recognizble hits is impressive and also includes, The Devil and
The Deep Blue Sea, 1935; I've Got the World on a String, 1933
(considered the song that propelled Sinatra to his greatest popularity); Don't
Worry 'Bout Me, 1939 and Animal Crackers In My Soup in 1935.
Kummer ( b 1873 New York, d.1958 Carmel, California)
Related to Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," Kummer
was born Clare Rodman Beecher and married Frederic Kummer, also a writer of
novels and short stories. Kummer was also related to William Gilette, a film
writer and actor.With so much talent in the family, it's no surprise that Kummer
herself was a writer, somposer and also a notable director of Broadway stage
works. Her credits span a long career from 1903 til the mid fourties with no
less than twenty-three plays and musicals to her credit. Some of her more successful
shows/plays were; A Knight For A Day (1907), The Rescuing Angel
(1917), Bridges (1921), Annie Dear (1924), Her Master's Voice
(1933) and her final play, Many Happy Returns in 1945. Many of her most
popular songs also came from her shows including Only With You, My
Very Own, Dearie, Cheating,
The Garden of Dreams and her most whimsical song from 1904, In the
Dingle-dongle-dell. Many of Kummer's papers, scores, manuscripts and poems
are maintained at the Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special
Collections at Princeton University Library.
J. Lamb (b. 1870, Somerset, England - d. 1928, Providence,
R.I.) is perhaps most well known as the lyricist for the famous and still popular,
Asleep In The Deep (for a German version, see Des
Seemanns Los in our feature about music of the sea). This song though,
was his best selling hit song at the time. As with many songwriters, Lamb followed
up the success of "Asleep" with At The Bottom Of The Deep Blue
Sea in 1899 and another sea themed song, Out
Where The Billows Roll High (Scorch format) in 1901, both with music
by W.H. Petrie. Other popular songs by Lamb include Dreaming Of Mother And
Home, 1898, When The Bell In The Lighthouse Rings Ding, Dong,
1905, The Bird On Nellie's Hat, 1905, You
Splash Me and I'll Splash You, 1907 and the 1917 War song, Good
Luck To The USA.
R. (Ring) W. Lardner (1885 - 1933) an incredibly
versatile and talented man of letters, was an author, composer, poet and playwright
as well as writer of the lyrics for Little Puff of Smoke Good Night.
In 1916 he published a book, Gullible's Travels (New York: Charles Scribner's
Sons, 1917, 1925) and was a Sports Writer in Chicago for a time. Lardner actually
wrote several other books and short stories as well as lyrics for at least 20
other songs. Among his other song titles are; I Wonder What My Stomach Thinks
of Me (1910), Gee! Its A Wonderful Game (1911, music by "Doc"
White), Lydia Pynkham (1913), Teddy Youre A Bear (1916),
No Place Like Home (1917, for which he also wrote the music), Prohibition
Blues (1919), June Moon (1929) and If I Were You, Love (Id
Jump Right in the Lake) (1930). Lardner died in 1933 of a heart attack.
For very much more about this fascinating man, visit the "Lardnermania"
site which details his life and works.
Edward Laska ( dates unknown) Laska, a composer
and lyricist is probably most famous for his prohibition era hit, The Alcoholic
Blues (1919). However he wrote many other songs, several in collaboration with
some of Tin Pan Alley's greatest lyricists including several with Jerome Kern.
Laska also wrote at least one Broadway musical, We've Got to Have Money,
staged in 1923. Among his other works are; The Landlord Blues (1919),
How'd You Like to Spoon With Me? (1905) and Do Something (1917)
Charles B. Lawlor was part of a vaudeville team
including James Thornton. The lyricist, James Blake was a salesman in
a hatter's shop who liked to write verses. Lawlor, described as a "buck
and wing" performer² and amateur composer also had written some verses
about New York. Lawlor whistled the original tune to Blake, who took their combined
ideas and created the full lyrics we know today. The two convinced Gilson to
perform the song and it is said that the audience became so enchanted that they
joined her in singing a repeat of the chorus. As with many of the lasting hits,
it is the choruses that are most remembered. Very few people have heard the
full verse and choruses so we are pleased to present the complete songs and
lyrics to you through the scorch presentation format. Frederic Knight Logan
(1871 - 1928) also wrote the famous Missouri Waltz, (1916, actual title
Hush-A-Bye Ma Baby) and a popular song titled Pale Moon in 1920. The
Missouri waltz figured prominently in the 1939 movie, The Story Of Vernon
And Irene Castle, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (who else?).
As well, president Harry Truman was responsible for a revival of the tune as
he played it frequently and it became his theme song. Born in Oskaloosa, Iowa
in 1871, Logan was a prominent pianist and conductor as well as composer. His
musical studies were mostly with private tutors and he was also a music director
for a number of theater companies. Logan died in 1928. The "Missouri Waltz"
became the state song under an act adopted by the General Assembly on June 30,
Turner Layton was born in 1894 in Washington DC.One
of the few successful Black composers of the period, he was teamed with the
lyricist of After You've Gone, Harry Creamer in a vaudeville act.
Both Creamer and Layton left the United States (due largely to constraints on
them due to race) and settled in England where both enjoyed very successful
careers. With Creamer he also wrote another enduring hit, Way Down Yonder
In New Orleans in 1922 and Dear Old Southland in 1921. Layton
died in 1978.
Grace LeBoy (1908 - 1932) seems
to be another of those casualties of lack of female respect. Though we do know
that she composed a number of very popular songs such as I Wish I Had A
Girl (1908), Everybody Rag With Me (1914), Early in the Morning,
and On The Good Ship Mary Ann, (1914) as well as many others. She also
is credited with several instrumental only compositions. She seemed to have
a long lasting collaboration with lyricist Gus Kahn, about whom much is known.
Interestingly and somewhat ruddely, though Le Boy wrote the music for I
Wish I had a Girl, it is listed as "Gus Kahns first hit." Duh,
wouldn't that make it Le Boy's hit too? Am I the only one that notices the incredible
sexism that exists related to woman composers?
Jean LeFavre (dates unknown) LeFavre seemes to
have been exclusively the lyricist for works by W.C. Polla as all references
to works by LeFavre are also composed by Polla with Dear
Heart (1919 Scorch format), Buddy (1919) and My Sunshine Rose (1920) topping
all lists. Few if any other works by LeFavre can be found.
Marvin Lee Little is published about Marvin
Lee. We do know he wrote both words and music to the 1917 song Livery Stable
Blues which is distinguised by having been recorded by the Original Dixieland
Band and W.C. Handy's Orchestra. That song was briefly revived in 1938 by Bunny
Berigan and his band.
Lehár (30 April 1870 - 24 October 1948) was
an Austro-Hungarian composer, mainly known for his operettas. Lehár was
born in Komárom (Hungary) as the eldest son of a bandmaster in the Austro-Hungarian
army. He studied violin and composition but was told by Antonin Dvorak that
he had better give up playing and focus on writing music. After 1899 he lived
in Vienna. He was also wrote a number of waltzes, the most popular being Gold
und Silber as well as waltzes drawn from some of his famous operettas. The era
in which his music thrived came to be known as the Silver Age.
Among his more famous operettas are; The Merry Widow (Die lustige Witwe)
(1905), The Count of Luxembourg (Der Graf von Luxemburg) (1909), Frederica
(1928) and Land of Smiles (Das Land des Lächelns) (1929).
Individual songs from some of these have become standards, notably Viljafrom
The Merry Widow and You Are My Heart's Delight ("Dein ist
mein ganzes Herz") from The Land of Smiles. (From
Wikipedia, available under the terms of the GNU Free)
Edgar Leslie ( b. Dec. 31, 1885 Stamford, CT.,
Leslie was educated at Cooper Union in New York and published his first song,
Lonesome in 1909. Among his many hit songs are; He'd
Have to Get Out - Get Out and Get Under, (scorch format) co-lyricists
were Grant Clarke and Maurice Abrahams; the great hit For
Me and My Gal, (scorch) music by Ray Goetz and Geo. W. Meyer; Oh
What a Pal Was Mary, (MIDI) with Pete Wendling. In 1927, Leslie traveled
to England. While there, he wrote some songs with composer Horatio Nicholls,
a pseudonym for music publisher Lawrence Wright. Among their work was: Among
My Souvenirs, the same song that became a Connie Francis hit in 1959; Mistakes,
a Vera Lynn hit record and Shepherd of the Hills. Leslie continued writing
hits well into the 30'a and beyond. His trademark style included many "place
named songs such as Kansas City Kitty, Rose of the Rio Grande
and of course, California and You as well as the great America,
I Love You (MIDI) and humorous titles such as When Ragtime Rosie
Ragged the Rosary and Where Was Moses When The Lights Went Out? Among
the many composers with whom Leslie worked, are: Harry Ruby; Fred Ahlert; Joe
Burke; Jimmy Monaco, and Walter Donaldson. (Adapted from the
Tunesmiths database, http://nfo.net/.CAL/index.html)
Henry David Leslie (1822 - 1896) Though many American composers were developing during the mid 19th century, much of our music was still deeply rooted in England and to a lesser extent, Europe. Leslie was a very prominent and successful conductor and composer born in London. His parents were John Leslie, a tailor and enthusiastic amateur viola player, and Mary Taylor Leslie. He had eight brothers and sisters. He attended the Palace School in Enfield Town and worked with his father. As a teenager, he studied the cello with Charles Lucas and later played that instrument in concerts at the Sacred Harmonic Society for several years. Leslie began to compose music, and was best known for his large scale choral works (operettas, and oratorios), his conducting and his many successful popular songs.
Edith Maida Lessing is credited with a few other
works besides Oh! You Circus
Day. Perhaps her most lasting song was Just as the Ship Went Down,
a 1912 an emotion laden tribute piece to the Titanic's lost souls. Also in 1912
she published Goin' to the Country Fair and When Crazy Joe Did The Alligator
Slide (music by Dennison Cook). In 1915, she wrote the lyrics to The
Jitney Bus with music by Roy Ingraham. Her dates and biographical information
seems to be well hidden.
Maurice Levi, was a relatively prolific
writer of Broadway shows and also wrote the music for at least three of Ziegfelds
musical revues, 1908, 1909 and 1911. His other credits include; The Soul
Kiss (1908), Twiddle-Twaddle (1906) Higgledy-Piggledy (1905)
The Rogers Brothers in Harvard (1902) The Rogers Brothers in Washington
(1901) and The Rogers Brothers in Central Park (1900). Aside from his
many credits, I've been unable to find out anything else about his life.
Robert Levenson (1897 - 1961) was born
to Samuel and Paulina Levenson in Boston, Ma. (Dorchester/Roxbury area) on July
19, 1897. He had two brothers, an older one, Louis, and a younger one, Henry.
The three of them used to play music at social occasions in the area. Henry
went on to be a professional musician, playing piano and singing solo with his
whiskey baritone voice (he wasn't a drinker, just sounded that way). You could
see him 35 years ago as the regular piano player at Bill's Gay Nineties Bar
in New York. Brother Henry wrote music too and Rudy Vallee liked one song enough
to tinker with it and added his own name as a co-composer.
Robert attended Brimmer School in Boston and later Boston Latin School, the
oldest public school in the country. In the early 1900s a student had to pass
an entrance exam to attend. Graduating in 1913 he was accepted at Harvard (Class
of 1917). It was during this time that he began to haunt the Boston music publishers
with his lyrics, particularly, succeeding in winning first prize for his words
to the famous WW I marching song, The National
Emblem March (Scorch format) by E.E. Bagley, Jr. This march is easily
the equal of any American march and is also one of the most popular and often
played marches from our early musical heritage. After Levenson wrote the lyrics,
all future editions of the march included them.
After Harvard, Levenson worked in Boston, particularly as a salesman. He continued
to write songs in collaboration with others who appreciated his poetic talent
and gracious personality. He did some acting and directing of plays and reviews,
continuing also to write fun lyrics for many organizations' annual meetings
and music nights.
He moved to New York City in the mid-1920s, met and married, Evelyn Lippman,
and though he ended up working for Boston Knitting Mills, stayed in NY as their
top salesman and designer of polo shirts and other knit clothing. He was very
active in the community in which he lived, Lawrence, LI, serving as Village
Trustee, Village Historian, and Honorary Fire Chief. He put in a great deal
of time in the Jewish community as well, as Treasurer, Board Member, Chairman
of the Music and Religious School committes of Temple Israel of Lawrence, as
well as President of Long Island Lodge, B'nai B'rith.
Robert Levenson continued to sing wherever he went, performing his own songs
as well as opera, and Broadway numbers at the invitation of local organizations.
He died suddenly at the age of 63 in the airport in Rome, Italy in 1961 as he
was returning home with the Temple group from a pilgramage visit to Israel and
Jerusalem. He is survived by two children, Paul and Judith, five grandchildren,
and three great-grandchildren. Among his other credits are a 1925 song Drifting
'Neath the Silver Moon
(Levenson biography graciously provided by his son, Paul Levenson)
Sam M. Lewis (b. 1885, New York, NY, d. 1959,
New York, NY ) As with many songwriters, Lewis was a performer first and he
sang gigs in nightclubs in New York before song writing took over his life.
Lewis was actively writing from 1912 through the 1930's. From 1916 into the
1930's, his principal collaborator was Joe Young, but he did write with some
other well known composers including Walter Donaldson, Ted Fiorito and Harry
Warren. Sam Lewis and Joe Young were a powerhouse Tin Pan Alley combination.
They collaborated only on lyrics but the list of lasting hits for them is astounding.
Among their many hits are; Rockabye Your
Baby With A Dixie Melody (Scorch format)
1918 , music by Jean Schwartz sung by Al Jolson in B'way play 'Sinbad';
Dinah, with music by Harry Akst, from the Broadway show Sinbad
starring Al Jolson later, also in Plantation Revue starring Ethel Waters;
Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue, music by Ray Henderson and I'm
Sitting on Top of the World, again with Ray Henderson's music (1926). Sam
Lewis is a deserved inductee into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame.
Lieurance, Thurlow Weed (b. 1880; d. 1963) Lieurance
studied music as a young man in Iowa. In 1897 he was appointed bandmaster of
the 22nd Kansas Volunteer Infantry. He served with that regiment during the
Spanish-American War. Then he studied at the Cincinnati College of Music where
he worked with Preston Ware Orem. In 1902 he became interested in Native American
music. During the rest of his life he made thousands of field recordings of
Sioux, Crow, Cheyenne, and Taos Pueblo tribes among others. He also collected
Native American flutes. He came to Nebraska in about 1917 and was a member of
the faculty of the University School of Music from 1918 to 1927. In 1927 he
was named Dean of Fine Arts at Wichita State University and was there until
1945. In 1952 he moved to Colorado. He married Edna Wooley in Omaha in 1917.
They toured throughout the country specializing in Indian music. He wrote several
hundred pieces, more than half of which are examples of Indianist Movement compositions.
(Lieurance biography From Zoominfo.com.)
Harry J. Lincoln also published under the name
of Abe Losch and also as a Vandersloot. Writer of a number of works we have
featured over the years, his most famous work may arguably be The
Midnight Fire Alarm (Scorch format), written by Lincoln in 1900 and
republished by E.T. Paull
in 1908. Lincoln did write a few songs including; Jennie (1920), In
The Valley Where The Robins Used to Sing (1908) and Triumphant Lindburg
(1928) but it is his rags and marches that he is best known for. All the works
written as Losch were also marches.
Lockhart, the lyricist for The World Is Waiting
For The Sunrise was best known not as a songwriter but as a playwright and
actor on stage and screen. Lockhart was Born in London, Ontario/Canada July
18, 1891. He is immediately recognizable to fans of old movies as the kindly
and cornered Judge who must decide if "Santa" is real from Miracle
on 34th Street, but it's likely that the vast majority of people under 60
would recognize him. His biography mentions nothing of his songwriting and I
believe the lyrics for this song were simply an outgrowth of his having writen
a play by the same name. Among his plays are; The Pierrot Players,
Heigh-Ho, and The World Is Waiting
for the Sunrise. During the 1920s and 1930s, he appeared in a number
of Broadway productions, including Sun Up, The Little Father of the
Wilderness, The Way of the World, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and Ah,
Wilderness. Among the films he appeared in were; Algiers, Meet
John Doe, The Sea Wolf and The Devil and Daniel Webster. Lockhart
began a career in TV in 1955 but unfortunately, a heart attack took him in March
of 1957 cutting his last acting activities off while he was still quite popular.
George Loder, (1816 - 1868) the composer of Take Your Time Miss Lucy (1842) is titled simply as "Music Director" inside the sheet on the title page. He was in fact, the music director of the Olympic Theater in New York and listed there as an arranger, composer, producer and writer. He is credited with the production of several stage shows at the Olympic and other New York theaters from 1840 through 1851. His first production here was La Musquito, a musical comedy, in May of 1840 at the Olympic. Loder was born in Bath, England in 1816 and emigrated to the US in 1836 and settled in Baltimore. He first appeared on the musical scene in New York as a composer and conductor in the 1839-40 season. In 1842, he was a founding member of the New York Philharmonic Symphony Society and also played double bass in the orchestra for several seasons. He conducted the American premiere of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in May of 1846 and continued as a conductor for the Philharmonic for seven seasons.In 1844 he became the principal of the New York Vocal institute and compiled The New York Glee Book for them in 1843 . He also published The Philadelphia and New York Glee Book in 1857.
In 1856 Loder traveled to Australia to conduct an opera company and then in 1860 was in London where he published two comic operettas, Pets of the Parterre and The Old House at Home for performance at the Lyceum. In 1863 he returned to Australia for another visit and conducted the first Australian performance of Les Hugenots. While in Australia he contracted a lingering illness and died in Adelaide in July of 1868.
Though Loder was not a native American, he is one of the more prominent contributors to the development of music in America during the 1840's and it was certainly our loss that he was unable to return to America to continue writing, producing and leading the continued development of the musical society in New York. (Principal biographical facts from the New Grove Encyclopedia of American Music, Vol3, p.97)
Frank Hoyt Losey was born in Rochester,NY in 1872
and died in Erie, PA in 1931. Known as a composer arranger and teacher, his
primary instruments were brass. He composed and arranged for Fischer publishing
as well as Vandersloot. In 1914, he founded Losey's Military Band School in
Erie. He became most famous for his marches, many of which are still played
by marching bands. His most famous march, is Gloria. Losey made more
than 2500 band arrangements some of which were for Edison Phonograph Co. and
Henry Ford's personal orchestra. He wrote over 400 original compositions. If
you have the patience for an MP3 download, you can get an MP3 copy of Gloria
as well as Losey's The Magnet at: March
Music Online The USAF Heritage of America Band site. If you have a 56k connection,
the download will take 12 - 15 minutes. It might be easier to go buy the CD!
Gustav Luders (b. Dec. 13,1865 Bremen, Germany
d. January 1913, New York, NY.) wrote a fairly large
number of musicals and stage plays from the period 1900 to 1913. After a long
abscence, he produced one work in 1930 and nothing after that. His work, Sho-gun
opened October 10, 1904 at Wallack's Theater and ran for 125 performances (Internet
Musically trained in Europe, Luders emigrated to Milwaukee, WI, in 1888,
when he was 23 years old, and started conducting theater and beer hall orchestras.
The eminent composer, Charles
K. Harris (After the Ball) encouraged him to follow career in music
publishing, in Chicago. He found work as an arranger, in the Chicago office
of Isidore Witmark Publishing, but also continued to conduct theater orchestras
In 1899, Luders' first operetta Little Robinson Crusoe opened in Chicago.
It starred Eddie Foy. Henry W. Savage heard it and commissioned Luders to score
the operetta 'The Burgomaster', which also opened in Chicago. At this
time, Luders formed a team with Frank Pixley, the editor of the Chicago Times-Herald
Newspaper, with Pixley writing text and lyrics.
Ballard MacDonald (1882 - 1935) was born in
Portland Oregon. He was educated at Princeton and became best known as a lyricist
who collaborated with some of the greatest Tin Pan Alley composers of the period.
His best known works are The Trail Of The
Lonesome Pine, (MIDI) writtten in 1913 with Harry Carrol and Back
Home Again In Indiana with James M. Hanley, 1917. He also wrote Play
that Barber Shop Chord in 1910 which resulted in an interesting court case.
In 1910, publisher/composer Fred Helf published Play That Barbershop Chord,
by Lewis Muir and William Tracey, or at least that is how Helf published it.
Songwriter Ballard Macdonald had begun work on the song and had written dummy
lyrics before leaving the song behind. The piece was finished by Lewis Muir
and William Tracey, and Macdonald was incensed that Helf left his name off the
sheet music. He sued Helf successfully, and the award of $37,500 forced Helf
into bankruptcy thus ending his foray into publishing. MacDonald died in Forest
Hills, New York in 1935.
Alexander MacFayden (1879 - 1936) pianist, composer, music teacher, b. Milwaukee. He received his musical education under Julius Klauser and William Borchert in Milwaukee, and also studied under Rudolph Ganz, Felix Borowski, and Arthur Friedheim in Chicago. He graduated from the Chicago Musical College (B.Mus., 1905), and the same year made his debut as piano soloist in the Auditorium Theater in Chicago. He taught in Milwaukee at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music (1912-1921), and at the Wisconsin College of Music (1922-1935), as well as in conservatories in New York and Chicago. MacFayden appeared frequently as soloist with the Chicago Symphony and with many other well-known orchestras, and toured with the Leonora Jackson Concert Company and Orpheum Circuit. He was a member of numerous musical organizations, and was the composer of more than 100 piano works, men's choruses, violin compositions, organ pieces, and songs. Among his best known songs are "Inter Nos," "Love is the Wind," "Cradle Song," "Spring Singing," and "Daybreak." He died in Chicago. Who's Who in Amer., 19 (1936); Wis. Blue Book (1929); A. E. Wascher, Who's Who in Music and Art in Milwaukee (Milwaukee ); Milwaukee Journal, June 7, 1936; N.Y. Times, June 7, 1936.(Wisconsin Historical Society)
Madden (b. 1878, New York City, d. 1952, Hollywood,
CA.) was a charter member of ASCAP and a respected lyricist best remembered
for a pair of moon songs"; By The Light Of The Silvery Moon, a 1909
collaboration with Gus Edwards, and Moonlight
Bay (Scorch format) a 1912 collaboration with renowned composer Percy
Wenrich Madden collaborated with a veritable who's who of American popular song
composers including Theodore F. Morse, Harry Von Tilzer, Louis A. Hirsch and
Jerome Kern. Madden was educated at Fordham University and was a writer for
the great Fanny Brice and other singers as well. He founded his own publishing
firm and enjoyed great success as a key member of the Tin Pan Alley inner circle.
Frank Magine History has not been kind to Magine
for little can be found about him. Magine had one other megahit besides the
1922 song Dreamy Melody, (Sibelius
scorch format) Save The Last Dance For Me in 1931. This is not the
1960 song by the Drifters. In our very
first Parlor Songs edition in October of 1997, we featured one other Magine
song, Venetian Moon from 1919 (MIDI).
Mahoney was the pen name for Ruben Kusnitt, born
in Buffalo New York in 1882 and died in New York City in 1945. Mahoney's greatest
lyrics hit was When You
Wore A Tulip, (Scorch format) with Percy Wenrich but as one of the
early 20th century's more popular lyricists, he also wrote a number of other
popular (at that time) works including, Kentucky
Days (1912, MIDI), A Ring On The Finger Is Worth Two On The Phone
(1911), On A Monkey Honeymoon
(1909 scorch format) and While Others Are Building Castles In The Air
in 1919, The Girl I Left Behind Before, with Bob Miller (1937), The
Statue of Liberty Is Smiling, with Halsey K. Mohr, (1918), Good bye Betty
Brown, with Theodore Morse (1910), and The Ghost of The Terrible Blues,
with Harry Von Tilzer in 1916.
Julia Marion Manley as with many of the woman
composers of the Tin Pan Alley era is nearly lost to us as far as any meaningful
information about her life. I did manage to find one other work by her published
as a newspaper supplement to the Chicago American on March 31, 1901. That song
was I Guess You'd Better Hush, Hush, Hush. Interestingly, some 19 years
later, the same performer, Norma Whalley is on the cover.
Alex Marr is another off the many enigmas from
the early days of music in America, by him. In 1921 he published Who's That
Pretty Baby? in collaboration with Bobby Heath. His partner on this work,
Bernie Grossman collaborated on a few other songs including at least one other
war song, We're Going Over.
Henry Marshall and Stanley Murphy were
a successful songwriting team from the early teens. In addition to this song,
they also collaborated to write Be My Little Baby Bumble Bee, also
in 1912. Alone, Marshal wrote a popular train related son titled On the
5:15 in 1914. In 1915, Marshal and Murphy again were together for Loading
up The Mandy Lee, a song that saw a rather short lived success. Murphy
also collaborated with Harry Von Tilzer (They Always Pick On Me, 1912),
Percy Wenrich (Put On Your Old Gray Bonnet, 1909) and Albert Von Tilzer
with Oh, How She Could Yacki Hacki Wicki
Woo, in 1915.
Michael Maybrick, (1844 - 1913) born in
Liverpool, England in 1844. He completed his music studies there and moved to
Leipzig and Milan to study further. He became a well known baritone singer.
His first appearance was in the New Philharmonic Concerts in London in 1870.
His songs were popular in both England and America. (from the
Our Lady Of Fatima Parish
Website where you can hear a beautiful recording of the hymn) There
is a rather bizarre theory abroad that Maybrick's brother, James may have been
the elusive "Jack The Ripper." Very few of Maybrick's songs ever reached
the lasting level of The Holy City but a few do survive. Among them are
To The Front, The Star Of Bethlehem, The Midship Mite and Mona.
Maybrick also wrote songs and hymns under the name of Stephen Adams.
Jack McGowan (b. 1894 - d. 1977) started his
career in Broadway primarily as a performer and writer. His first few years
from about 1919 to 19276 were as a performer in such shows as Take it From
Me (1919), The Blue Devil (1920), George White's Scandals (1922)
and The Rise of Rosie O'Reilly (1923). In 1926, McGowan began writing
shows and continued to write, direct and produce Broadway shows up till his
last, Say When in 1935. His other Broadway credits include; Mama Loves
Papa (1926), The Lady Lies (1928), Heads Up (1929) and Girl
In 1933 McGowan began writing screenplays for Hollywood. "After collaborating
on the script of Paramount's Sitting Pretty (1933), he moved to MGM,
where he'd spend the rest of his movie career. He contributed gags and storylines
to such big-budget MGM musicals as Born to Dance (1936), Babes in
Arms (1939), Little Nellie Kelly (1940), Girl Crazy (1943)
and Broadway Rhythm (1944). Jack McGowan also co-wrote the 1936, 1938
and 1940 editions of MGM's Broadway Melody series." (Qote
demarked information by Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide as found on Yahoo!
I found one other song attributed to Mc Gowan; I Have To Laugh, from
F.W. Meacham was born around 1850 in Buffalo
New York and his death occurred sometime after 1895. Meacham's primary fame
came with the famous American Patrol
(Scorch version) but he composed other works, among them There Is No Place
Like New York After All in 1895 and obviously many, many other works as
American Patrol carries Opus number 92.
Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (born Hamburg, 3 February
1809; died Leipzig, 4 November 1847). Born into a prominent family in Berlin,
he grew up in a privileged environment (the family converted from Judaism to
Christianity in 1816, taking the additional name 'Bartholdy'). He studied the
piano with Ludwig Berger and theory and composition with Zelter, producing his
first piece in 1820; thereafter, a profusion of sonatas, concertos, string symphonies,
and piano quartets revealed his increasing mastery of counterpoint and form.
A period of travel and concert-giving introduced Mendelssohn to England, Scotland
(1829) and Italy (1830-31); after return visits to Paris (1831) and London (1832,
1833) he took up a conducting post at Düsseldorf (1833-5), concentrating
on Handel's oratorios. During this period he composed a number of excellent
works that reflected the influence of his travels.
With its emphasis on clarity and adherence to classical ideals, Mendelssohn's
music shows alike the influences of Bach (fugal technique), Handel (rhythms,
harmonic progressions), Mozart (dramatic characterization, forms, textures)
and Beethoven (instrumental technique), though from 1825 he developed a characteristic
style of his own.
Mendelssohn found inspiration in art, nature and history for his orchestral
music. The energy, clarity and tunefulness of the Italian have made
it his most popular symphony. In his best overtures, essentially one-movement
symphonic poems, the sea appears as a recurring image, from Calm Sea and
Prosperous Voyage and The Hebrides to The Lovely Melusine. Less
dependent on programmatic elements and at the same time formally innovatory,
the concertos, notably that for violin, and the chamber music, especially some
of the string quartets, the Octet and the two late piano trios, beautifully
reconcile classical principles with personal feeling; these are among his most
striking compositions. Of the solo instrumental works, the partly lyric, partly
virtuoso Lieder ohne Worte for piano are elegantly written and often
Blanche Merrill wrote lyrics for a number
of Broadway productions including parts of at least two of Ziegfeld's famous
follies series. She also wrote complete songs as for example her 1936 song Trailing
Along In A Trailer. She wrote a number of songs in collaboration with a
number of major composers including Jazz Baby (1919) with M. K. Jerome
and Just 'Round The Corner
From Broadway (1914) with Gus Edwards. Jazz Baby was later revived by
Carol Channing in Thoroughly Modern Millie in 1967.
J. Messina could be Joe Messina but the two are
listed separately in most library collections and there is no cross duplication
in the titles attributed to them. "J." has a nuimber of later works
attributed to him as composer and several where he is credited as the arranger.
The original works by him include the Twentieth Century (1900), Love
and Passion (1902), In The Valley of Roses With You (1919) and Wayside
Chapel Reverie (1930). He arranged a number of other popular works including
one arrangement of the famous Robin's Return in 1926.
Florence Methven is listed in "Lissauers"
(see our resources page
for details) as "Methuen"(the listing is incorrect) , and this is
the only song attributed to her in that reference work. The work is stated to
be "The Melody Ballad Hit of The Better Ole" which I assume
is a stage work. In searching other sources, I did find one other work by her,
Little Lights of Home, date unknown. This song was a very popular one and one
of the biggest hits of 1918. It was recorded a number of times. Theodore
H. Metz (b. Hanover, Germany, 1848 - d. New York, 1936) was the bandleader
for a popular minstrel group, the McIntyre and Heath Minstrels who first introduced
the song (hence the coon song structure).
W. Meyer (b. 1884 Boston, Mass.- d. 1959 New York,
NY) was one of the more prolific composers of the period with many, many hits
to his credit that spanned many years. Meyer's biggest hit was probably For
Me and My Gal in 1917 but he also wrote many favorites that have lasted
such as; My Song Of The Nile, Lonesome, My Mother's Rosary and the
great novelty song Where Did Robinson
Crusoe Go With Friday on Saturday Night? (Scorch format)
Austin Miles (1868-1946) Miles attended the Philadelphia
College of Pharmacy and the University of Pennsylvania. In 1892, he abandoned
his career as a pharmacist and wrote wrote his first Gospel song, List
Tis Jesus Voice which was published by the Hall-Mack Company.
He served as editor and manager at the Hall-Mack publishers for 37 years.
He wrote many other popular hymns including, Answering Thy Call; A New Name
in Glory; He Is Mine; I Love to Think of Jesus and Look for Me!, however, it
is In The Garden for which he is most remembered. ( Base biographical
data & photo from the cyberhymnal.com
Kerry Mills (1869 - 1948) was an American composer
of popular music during the Tin Pan Alley era. His stylistically diverse music
ranged from ragtime to cakewalk to marches. He was most prolific between 1895
and 1918. Mills was born Frederick Allen Mills in Philadelphia. He trained as
a violinist and was working as head of the Violin Department of the University
of Michigan School of Music when he began composing.
Mills moved to New York City in 1895 where he started a music publishing firm,
F. A Mills, from which he published his own music.His first published song was
Rastus on Parade written in 1893. That song was one of the first published
"Cakewalks." He went on to publish some more of his own songs that
may have been instumental in popularizing syncopation with the Tin Pan Alley
writers. Among his many published works are: Any Old Port in a Storm
(1908), At A Georgia Camp-meeting (1897 or 1899, accounts vary), Impecunious
Davis, In The City Of Sighs And Tears (1902), Just For The Sake Of Society,
Kerry Mills' Barn Dance, Let's All Go Up To Maud's, Like A Star That Falls From
Heaven, The Longest Way 'Round Is The Sweetest Way Home (1908), Red Wing
(1907, words by Thurland Chattaway). Mills adapted the melody from Schumann's
Merry Peasant and perhaps his greatest hit, Meet Me In St Louis, Louis
which was originally written in 1904 with words by Andrew B. Sterling and was
revived in the 1944 movie, Meet Me In St. Louis starring Judy Garland.
Mills died in Hawthorne, California.
Some facts for this biography were taken from From Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia, in accordance with the GNU Free Documentation License.
Harrison Millard (1829 - 1895)
Son of Samuel and Maria (Ham) MIllard born in Boston. As a boy he sang in church choirs and is chorus with musical societies. He was the first boy alto soloist that sang with the Boston Handel & Hayden Society. In his twenty-second year he went to Europe for musical study, spending nearly three years in Italy and appeared as a concert singer in several parts of England. In 1854 Mr. Millard returned to Boston, and after two years located in New York city as a teacher of vocal music, concert singer and song composer. During the Civil War he served as lieutenant of volunteers and was wounded in battle. As a private in the 71st regiment of New York he created a sensation by singing his "Viva L'America" at a social gathering in Washington, composed chiefly of southerners, Lincoln hearing of the incident, sent for him and commissioned him as lieutenant of the 19th U.S. infantry: he was afterward on Rousseau's and Rosecran's staffs. He composed a grand opera called "Deborah," four masses and a requiem mass, about three hundred songs and wrote many of the words of his songs. He was married to Laura Thompson of Baltimore in 1860. She died in 1874 leaving four children. Mr. Millard was never married again. In 1864 he became connected with the custom house in New York city and devoted his leisure time to the composition of secular songs and church music. His "Waiting," "When the Tide Comes in," "Under the Daisies," "Ramona" and "Viva L'America, Land of the Free" are of uncommon merit, and have many admirers. Many place Mr. Millard at the head of American song composers. (From the National Cyclopedia of American Biography, 1897 James T. White & Co, NY)
Halsey K. Mohr was a moderately successful composer
of the period. He also wrote Piney Ridge in 1915 with Ballard MacDonald
and They're Wearing 'Em Higher In Hawaii, in 1916, a great comedy song
that was very popular with vaudevillians including the great Eddie Cantor and
Al Jolson. During the earlier years of the war while antiwar sentiment was high,
Mohr was one of the few composers who wrote patriotic, pro-war music with several
songs to his credit such as Played by A Military Band in 1915.
James Lynam Molloy was one of the 19th century's
most gifted Irish songwriters. Born in Cornalaur, Rahan, which is near Tullamore,
King's County, Ireland in 1837. He was well known there and wrote a number of
idiomatic works in his homeland that reached high levels of popularity including
The Old Cottage Clock and The Kerry Dance. Few of Molloy's works
reached hit status in the US save his crowning achievent, Love's old Sweet
Song, written when Molloy was nearly 60. Unfortunately, much of Molloys
music is lost to us today though copies are still undoubtedly to be found in
attics and piano benches around the world. For an excellent look at this composer's
life and works, be sure to visit the Molloy biography site, lovesoldsweetsong.com
from which these basic facts are taken.
Jimmie V. Monaco (1885 - 1945) Born in Genoa
Italy, (some sources list Fornia as his birthplace.) Monaco came to the U.S.
(Chicago) in 1891 with his parents. Wikipedia states the family emigrated to
Albany, New York when Jimmy was six. He worked as a ragtime player in Chicago
before moving to New York in 1910. Monaco's first successful song Oh,
You Circus Day was featured in the 1912 Broadway revue Hanky Panky.
Further success came with "Row, Row, Row" (lyrics by William
Jerome) in the Ziegfeld
Follies of 1912. Perhaps his best remembered song is You Made Me Love
You (lyrics by Joseph McCarthy) introduced by Al Jolson in 1913 and famously
performed by Judy Garland with revised lyrics as Dear Mr Gable in 1937.
Monaco worked with a number of lyricists before moving to Hollywood where he
teamed with lyricist Johnny Burke to produce songs for several Bing Crosby films.
Four of Monaco's songs received Academy Award nominations for Best Song: Only
Forever (lyrics by Johnny Burke) from the 1940 film Rhythm on the River,
We Mustn't Say Goodbye (lyrics by Al Dubin) from the 1943 film Stage
Door Canteen, I'm Making Believe (lyrics by Mack Gordon) from the
1944 film Sweet and Lowdown and I Can't Begin to Tell You (lyrics
by Mack Gordon) from the1945 film The Dolly Sisters. Monaco died in Beverly
Hills, California. (Essential biography retrieved from wikipedia.org
Luella Lockwood Moore (Born 1864, Pontiac, MI;
died November 1927, Detroit). Usually referred to as Mrs. Luella Lockwood Moore
in the press, this highly respected Michigan composer was the daughter of Timothy
Lockwood, a popular music composer of the Civil War era. Her Nov. 21, 1927 obituary
said that she "never received any conventional music education, but as
a child she played in the churches of Pontiac after learning the hymns by ear
from her mother." In 1915 the Detroit Symphony Orchestra presented Moore's
orchestral suite, "My Lady's Boudoir," at one of their Wednesday night
programs. Moore was the first Detroit composer ever to be so honored. By then
she had several popular instrumentals and ballads to her credit.
Her father was a contemporary of Stephen Foster; composed approximately 55
songs and piano pieces, taught music and was a partner in a music business in
Pontiac, MI before dying in 1870 at the age of 35. His wife, Luella's mother,
also a musician, supported the family by teaching large music
classes and putting on musical extravaganzas. Luella and her brother LeBaron
sang in these musicals from the age of five to their upper teens.
She was married to George Frederick Moore II, a principal stockholder of Edison-Moore
Wholesale Dry Goods Merchants. They had a son, George Frederick Moore III, and
a daughter, Ruth. Her husband preceded her in death by 30 years. She then lived
with her son at 1129 Atkinson Ave., Detroit until his death in 1926. In November
of the following year, she suffered a three-day illness and passed away in this
home. She was survived by a brother, Baron Lockwood, of Sault St. Marie, MI,
and a grandson, Jack Wiant, of Detroit. She was buried in Detroit's Elmwood
Her published works include. Montana Anna.,1909; Paprika "Hot
Stuff," March Two-Step; 1909; That Auto Ought to Go, 1909; Arcadia,
Intermezzo, 1910; Snowflakes, A Novelette, 1910; Unspoken Words,
A Melody for Piano, 1910; This World Would Be A Lonesome Land,Without
You, Dear, 1911; Laddie, A True Blue, 1914; Love's Eternity,
1915 and Faded Love Letters (of Mine), 1922. Moore also
wrote under the pseudonyms of Marion Arlington, and Phil & Beth Moore (Biographical
information in part supplied by Nora
Hulse, ragtime pianist, recording artist, author and one of the premier
researchers on women composers.)
Neil Moret (b. 1878, Leavenworth KS. - d. 1943,
Los Angeles, CA.) Moret was the pen name for Charles N. Daniels, a composer
with a fairly limited output but whose works are significant in musical history.
He collaborated with several of Tin Pan Alley's best including Harry Williams,
Gus Kahn and Richard Whiting. He began composing at 17 and in 1904 co founded
the Daniels and Russell Publishing Company in St. Louis. He also was an executive
with Remick and later formed his own publishing house in 1915. He moved to Los
Angeles in or around 1923 and then in Los Angeles formed Villa Moret publishers
for whom he presided as President from 1924 - 31. Moret's most important works
were; Hiawatha (1901, Scorch format),
You Tell Me Your Dream (1908), On Mobile Bay (1910), Mickey
(1918)(Scorch format), Moonlight and Roses (1925) and Chlo-e
(1927). The highly regarded Ragtime researcher, author and music lecturer Nan
Bostick of Menlo Park, California is Daniels' grand niece and has written a
biography of Daniels.
J. Arndt Morris & Mary Wood are
two of our many creative composers and lyricists whose life story has become
so obscure as to be nearly impossible to find. This song appeared in the New
York American and Journal on Sunday November 29, 1903 as a music supplement.
As with most of our newspaper music supplements, it has deteriorated badly and
soon will be nothing more than a pile of dust.
F. Morse (b. 1873, Washington, D.C., d. 1924, New
York, N.Y.) was oneof the most important composers of the period before and
up to the First World War. He wrote many, many popular songs as well as the
scores to several popular stage shows. His wife, Theodora Morse was also an
accomplished composer and performer who often composed under the name of Dorothy
Terriss. Theodore Morse was a privately tutored student of piano and violin
and began his education at the Maryland Military Academy. At age 14 (1887),
he ran away from the Academy and went to New York where he became a clerk in
a music store. His first song was sold when be was only 15 and by age 24 he
had his own publishing house, The Morse Music Co, which was in existence from
1898 to 1900. Morse is well represented on ParlorSongs and has a long list of
popular hits to his credit. Among his most famous works are, Blue
Bell (1904), M-O-T-H-E-R
(1915), Down In Jungle Town (1908) and Hail, Hail, The Gang's All
Here (1917). In 1903, Morse wrote Hurray For Baffin Bay for a
new stage show that would become the basis for a blockbuster movie, The
Wizard of Oz.
Otto Motzan is a little more difficult to find
information about. There is some evidence that Motzan was the pen name for composer
Josie De Guzman (not to be confused with the currently popular actress of the
same name) but I'm unable to find biographical information on either. Besides
In China, Motzan/DeGuzman wrote the music to the musical The Passing
Show of 1916, with Sigmund Romberg; Where Is My Daddy Now Blues,
(1920) with Abe Olman, Bright Eyes,
(MIDI) (1920) with MK Jerome, The Traffic Was Terrific as Josie de Guzman
and Mandy 'N' Me (1921) with Con Conrad.
Lewis Muir (1884 - 1950) was a pianist
and famous ragtime composer of the period. He performed at honky tonks in St
Louis on 1904 and in New York City n 1910. He was also an acclaimed performer
in London. His credits include, Play That Barber Shop Chord (1910), When
Ragtime Rosey ragged The Rosary (1911) and Cowboy Joe in 1912.
Stanley Murphy was born in 1875 in Dublin, Ireland
and died in 1919 in New York. Known mostly as a lyricist, Murphy did manage
to compose a number of songs as well that were successful After his family emmigrated
to America, Murphy became a US citizen and started a successful career as a
songwriter. His most famous work is Put
On Your Old Grey Bonnet (Scorch format) from 1909 with music by Percy
Wenrich. Among his other hits are; Be My Little Baby Bumble Bee (1912)
, Malinda (1912) and Sugar Moon (1910), also with Wenrich.
William Harold Neidlinger (1863 - 1924) was
born in Brooklyn, New York and was perhaps best known for his more lofty works
as a composer. He also was a prominent conductor and respected teacher. Besides
Sweet Miss Mary (1914) he also wrote The Birthday of a King (1890),
Spirit of God and a cantata Prayer, Promise and Praise.
Ed. G. Nelson (1885 - 1969). Nelson's career
for a few years fairly was tied to Will Hart with whom he wrote (composed) several
songs during the WWI era, most having been patriotic in nature. However, Nelson's
output was included many more songs and extended well into the 1950's with many
of his songs having been published in the 20's. He collaborated with some of
Tin Pan Alley's greatest to include Harry Pease, Paul Whiteman, Ira Schuster
and Milton Ager. His output includes several titles in our collection that we
have featured and ASCAP credits him with 130 titles. Given that output, I'm
puzzled by the apparent lack of mention of him in many of the references I have
and on the internet. Among the titles by Nelson we have featured are Peggy
O'Neil (1921), My Gal
(1919) and of course, When Yankee Doodle Learns to Parlez Vous Francais
Norworth ( 1879, Philadelphia - d. 1959, Laguna
Beach, Ca.) Norworth was a famed vaudevillian who also composed and wrote songs
as well as Broadway musicals. Norworth was married to the great Nora Bayes,
also a songwriter and with her wrote one of Tin Pan Alley's greatest hits,
Shine On Harvest Moon (MIDI). Norworth performed in a variety of
modes including blackface as a minstrel and even at sea with Nora. He starred
in a number of Broadway shows (again, with Bayes) including; The Jolly Bachelors
(1909), Little Miss Fix-It (1911) and Roly Poly (1912). Norworth
collaborated with other famed songwriters and wrote the words to baseball's
greatest hit, Take Me Out To The Ball Game in 1908. Other Norworth compositions
include; I'm Sorry, Honey Boy, Smarty and Way Down In Cuba. He collaborated
with Von Tilzer in writing the Broadway show Odds And Ends of 1917. The 1944
film, Shine On Harvest Moon portrayed the life of Bayes and Norworth and starred
Ann Sheridan and Dennis Morgan in the title roles.
Nugent (1877 - 1958) is best known as the writer of
a much more remembered and popular song, Sweet Rosie O'Grady, published
in 1896. As with many accomplishments by women, Nugent's authorship of the song
was cast into doubt by some at the time who felt it must have been written instead
by her more well known husband, composer William Jerome. However, Nugent's own
performances of the song brought it into popularity and her reputation as a
songwriter became cemented as a result. Nugent was born in Brooklyn NY and showed
a great deal of musical and performing talent. She was a successful singer,
actress vaudeville performer and songwriter.
Many of her songs had an Irish theme and include several "Irish"
titles besides "Rosie", including, Down At Rosie Reilly's Flat, My
Irish Daisy and Mary From Tipperary. Much to her credit, she retired from the
stage at the tender age of 28 to raise a family. Obviously, she continued to
compose as this song would have been written some four years after her "retirement."
In her later years she returned to the stage to perform in nostalgic "gay
nineties" shows and was featured a number of times on television in the
1950's while in her eighties! Nugent died in New York in June of 1958.
James O'Dea ( dates unknown at this time) was
a composer, lyricist and writer most known for his stage productions and plays
that include; Chin Chin (1914), The Lady of the Slipper (1912),
Uncle Sam (Play, 1911), The Top o' th' World (1907) and Madge
Smith, Attorney (Play, 1900). He collaborated with a number of Tin Pan Alley
composers including Neil Moret and was Moret's collaborator on the famous song,
Hiawatha in 1901. He also wrote the lyrics to Ragtime Temple Bells (1914)
with Ivan Caryll.
Chauncey Olcott's (1858 or 1860- 1932) ancestors
came from Ireland. His mother was born in Ireland and came to America with her
family when she was eight years old. They went first to Montreal, Canada, and
then came to Lockport, NY in the 1840's. They lived in what Chauncey Olcott
would later call "an Irish shanty" on the banks of the Erie Canal.
The "Irish shanty" was located on the east end of West Genesee Street
next to a sawmill on the Clifford Lumber Company lumberyard. Newspaper articles
concerning Chauncey Olcott's early life are very contradictory. His mother is
reported in some articles to be "Margaret Buckley" while other articles
say his mother was "Margaret Doyle." One news article reports that
his mother married Mellon Whitney Olcott in Lockport, then moved to Buffalo
where Chauncey Olcott was born July 21, 1860.(in conflict with other published
birth dates) Other articles note Chauncey's birthplace as Lockport. Two years
after Mellen Olcott died, Margaret Olcott married Patrick Brennan. Chauncey
was Margaret's only surviving son, two others having died.
It would seem though that Chauncey Olcott was most probably born in Buffalo
in 1860. After his death, his widow told of his having taken great delight when
they were first married in showing her his birthplace, above his father's stable
in Buffalo. His mother's second husband, Patrick Brennan, was Chief Engineer
for the Buffalo Water Works for many years.
Chauncey's mother and stepfather continued to live in Buffalo, and Chauncey
attended Buffalo public schools. His early musical traing took place at the
Buffalo Academy of Music. His maternal grandmother continued to live in the
"Irish shanty" on West Genesee Street where Chauncey would spend his
summer vacations from school in Buffalo. Chauncey Olcott's musical career actually
began when he was very young. Some Lockport residents recalled times when Chauncey,
while visiting in Lockport, was hoisted onto a table at the Washington Hose
firehouse on Church Street where he would sing Irish ballads. In 1879, at the
age of 19, Chauncey Olcott appeared with Emerson and Hooley's Minstrel Company
in Chicago. The next year he joined a group called Haverly's Mastodons at Buffalo,
New York, and they opened at the Drury Lane Theatre in London, England. In October
1881, he opened with Billy Emerson's Minstrels in San Francisco. Chauncey was
very successful in the minstrel shows, but because of the special quality of
his light lyric tenor voice, theatre managers encouraged him to sing Irish ballads
and take leading
roles in plays, operas and operettas.
In March 1886, Chauncey Olcott made in New York City debut at the Union Square
Theatre as Pablo in Pepita. Later he starred in The Old Homestead,
Pinafore, and The Mikado. In 1890 he went to London where he made
stage appearances and studied voice for three years. An accomplished composer,
Olcott wrote musical scores for a number of plays including Minstrel of Clare
(1896), A Romance in Athlone (1899) and Old Limerick Town (1902).
Despite his tremendous success and stage appearnaces in New York and London
and touring extensively, Chauncey Olcott always remembered his NY roots and
regularly returned to Lockport for appearances at the Hodge Opera House. In
1900 he appeared in Eileen Astore, in 1903 in Sterrance; in 1907
it was Old Limerick Town, and in 1912 it was Machusla.
In 1897, he married Margaret O'Donovan of San Francisco. Margaret Olcott was
a co-author of two plays in which her husband appeared, Ragged Robin
and Lusmore. After his death in 1932, she wrote Song In His Heart,
a biography of Chauncey Olcott. This later was made in a motion picture called
appropriately, My Wild Irish Rose. She died in 1949, age 70.
In November 1925, while on tour in The Rivals, Chauncey Olcott was stricken
with a serious
illness and he never appeared on stage again. He retired to Monte Carlo and
died there March 18, 1932. At his bedside during his last hours were his wife
and his son, Earl Lefevre, and his daughter, Jeannie Olcott. Both son and daughter
were adopted. His adopted daughter had been born in Monte Carlo and was 15 years
old at the time of Chauncey Olcott's death. His son was an instructor at Heidelberg
at the time of his death. According to his obituary, which appeared in the New
York Times, Olcott's body would be returned to New York on board the Conte Biancamaro
for burial in Woodlawn Cementery.
Other Irish ballads that Chauncey Olcott made famous were Mother Machree,
A Little Bit of Heaven, Sure They Call It Ireland, and When
Irish Eyes Are Smiling. In many respects, Olcott could fairly be called
the father of the Irish ballad in America.
Abe Olman (b. Cincinnatti, 1888. d. D: Rancho Mirage,
CA - 1984 ) Olman was an active member of ASCAP, and became a Director of ASCAP
from 1946 to 1956. He also was the co-founder of the Songwriters Hall of Fame
in 1968 whose most prestigeous award is named after Olman. The Abe Olman award
is for excellence in somgwriting and is also accompanied with a scholarship.
He wrote two all-time standards Oh Johnny, Oh! in 1917 with Ed Rose and
Down Among The Sheltering Palms with Jack Yellen. Among his many other
works are included, Come Back To Wai-Ki-Ki, Along Miami Shore,
and several rags including the Red Onion Rag.
Kathleen O'Neil. Kathleen was
an American-born daugher of Irish immigrants in New York, probably born in 1852.
She was later better known as a dancer rather than a singer under the name "Kitty
O'Neil" and died in Buffalo in 1893.
At the time she was singing "No Irish Need Apply," she was only about
years old and a newly discovered protegee of the famous variety showman Tony
Pastor. Pastor had a habit of visting the English music halls and bringing
songs back to New York, so he probably gave this obviously English song to
Kathleen and credited her as the composer in order to build up her name.
As "Kitty O'Neil" she became the most famous variety "jig dancer"
1870s and 1880s, performing most frequently in the New York theaters run by
Josh Hart, Tony Pastor, Ned Harrigan and Harry Miner. She also toured the
variety circuit as far afield as San Francisco.
Nat Osborne (b.? - d?) I'm a little surprised
that I can find no meaningful biographical data on Osborne given his relatively
robust publishing credits. Among his works published are: Bow-Wow Blues (1921),
Here's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry? (1903), Another Good Man Gone Wrong (19??)
and You Wanted Someone To Play With (1929) and Take Me Back To The Garden Of
Love (1911). Osborne collaborated with a number of other major songwriters including
Cliff Freind and Ballard MacDonald.
Charles Henry Pace was born in Atlanta on August
4, 1886 and died in Pittsburgh on December 16, 1963. In 1925 he formed the Pace
Jubilee Singers, an early conservative gospel group which recorded songs by
Pace, Tindley, and others for Victor and Brunswick. Pace moved to Pittsburgh
in 1936 and shortly afterwards organized the Pace Gospel choral Union, a 25-member
ensemble that was enlarged to as many as 300 singers for special celebrations;
its reperatory consisted of gospel songs and spirirtuals. Pace also founded
two highly successful music publishing houses n Pittsburgh - the Old Ship of
Zion Muisc Company (1936-51) and Charles H. Pace Music Publishers (1952-63)
- from which he published most of his 104 sacred compositions and arrangements
and 26 secular songs. Pace's gospel songs, the best known of which are "Bread
of Heaven," "Hide My Soul," and "Nobody but you, Lord,"
are in the syle of Tindley's songs, with a verse-chorus structure, memorable
melodies, and simple, effective harmonies.
Herman Paley (dates unknown) Though Paley is credited with quite a few
(at least 28) songs from the early Tin Pan Alley era it seems all that we can
find about him are those song credits. Besides Sweet
Little Buttercup, in 1917 Paley wrote the music for; I Can Hear The
Ukeleles Calling (1916), Down South (1917), Don't Cry Dolly Grey
(1916), Sail On To Ceylon (1906), Billy ( I Always Dream of Bill)
(1911) and Good Advice (1906). Many of his songs were in collaboration
with notable TPA composers and lyricists.
Mrs. E. A. (Susan) Parkhurst (1836-1918) Mrs. Parhurst had a long career as a composer of almost every style of song popular during the mid 19th century. Widowed in 1864, she made a good living for herself and her family composing and performing. She wrote songs from gospel, temperance, Sunday school songs and patriotic and we have many songs by her from the period in our collection. Her music was written in the style of the most popular composers of the period such as Foster and was a huge success. She most likely is the mpost prolific and important woman composer of the period. Unfortunately, because she was a woman, her legacy has failed to reach the recognition or praise of the likes of Foster. Though she wrote in the period style, her music cannot in any way be viewed as "copycat.' She showed a great deal of creativity both musically and in subject and was exceptionally well known at the time. Besides songs, she also wrote piano works such as a set of variations on the tune Yankee Doodle. Among her many songs written during the war, a number were written the same year as Dey Said We Wouldn't Fight including; Our Dear New England Boys (1864);Richmond Is Ours (1864), The Soldier's Dying Farewell (1864) and No Slave Beneath That Starry Flag (1864). After the war she continued to espouse the black people's cause with songs such as The Freedman's Lament (1866).
(Edward Taylor) Paull (February 16, 1858 - November
27, 1924) Was the son of Virgina farmers and started his musical career as manager
of a music store, selling pianos and organs in Martinsburg , Virginia around
1878. It is unclear as to his activities for the next 20 years but his first
successful march was The Chariot Race or
Ben Hur March (MIDI) in 1894. The great sucess of this march caused
Paull to begin a steady stream of works. He started his own publishing company
around this same period and continued publishing under his name till his death
(at which time the company was bought and continued to publish under the same
name for two years afterward). Though best known today for his marches, Paull
did write other works and even wrote one piece for silent film Armenian
Maid in 1919. Marches were wildly popular and though Paull was capable
of composing fine works, he often obtained works by others and arranged them
and released them under his banner. This work is one such work. His last work
was the 1924, Spirit Of The U.S.A., copyrighted just six weeks before
his death. See our in-depth
biography of Paull as well as our two features on his music from July
2001 and June
1998 to learn more about this man and his music.
John Howard Payne, (1791 - 1852) The lyricist
of Home Sweet Home, was a noted American poet, sometime actor and playwright
born in New York. He was the son of William Payne, of an old Massachusetts family,
and Sarah Isaacs of East Hampton. John Howard was the sixth of nine children.
Payne's father was
a successful teacher of elocution. He came to East Hampton to teach at Clinton
Academy, the third oldest school in New York State. He trained John Howard well
in diction and delivery and then was alarmed when the boy expressed a desire
to go on the stage.
A wealthy merchant offered to bear the expenses of a college education and
in 1806 young Payne was sent to Union College to study under the great educator,
Dr. Eliphalet Nott. While a student there he was active in the college societies
and contributed poems and essays to neighboring newspapers. His life at Union
was short, however, for two years later his father's bankruptcy and failing
health made it necessary for him to leave Schenectady and assist in the support
of his family. This gave him an opportunity to put his dramatic talents to use
and in 1809 he made his debut as actor on the New York stage in the tragedy,
Douglas,in which he scored an instant success. His triumph was brief
and the next year found him without backing and without funds.
In 1813 he sailed for England with money raised by friends to finance a year
He stayed not one year but twenty, a period of fame, prosperity, and failure.
realized that as an actor he could never again attain the success of his earlier
and so turned his attention to dramatic writing. During his stay in Europe he
translated, or adapted for the English state more than sixty plays. He was the
American who as actor or playwright attracted attention in England.
Home, Sweet Home, his one claim to immortality, was included in the
opera, Clari; or, The Maid of Milan, with Music by Sir Henry Rowley Bishop
which was performed at the Covent Garden Theater in London in 1823. Many stories
have been told as to how this song came to be written, but it seems to have
been composed merely as a sentimental poetic ballad during his residence in
Paris. For the play he received fifty pounds, but not one penny for the song.
A disillusioned man, Payne returned to America in 1832 with passage money provided
by friends. Ten years later he was appointed American consul at Tunis, Africa,
where he died on April 9, 1852.
From, Our Hall of Fame, pp. 16-17, 1938, the Schenectady
Rob Roy Peery (b. 1900 Saga, Japan) Peery's parents
were missionaries in Japan when he was born. They moved to denver in 1903 and
then to Atcheson Kansas. A graduate of Midland College, Peery taught in Omaha,
Hickory, N.C. and studied at Oberlin Conservatory of Music. In 1931, Peery became
the principal music critic for the Theodore Pressser Company in Philadelphia.
Peery wrote a number of works including Byrd (O God Creator, in Whose
Hand). Peery also arranged a compilation of melodies from the masters for
Presser in 1941 titled Once Upon A Time Stories of the Great Music Masters
For Young Pianists Containing Thirty-six Favorite Compositions From Twelve Master
Composers Made Easy To Play For Piano. The title itself is a production!
He also arranged other works by classical masters for voice, organ and piano
duets including an unusual choral transcription of Tchaikovsky's Waltz from
Serenade for Strings. As well, Perry arranged a number of liturgical
and gospel works which are still in use today.
Florence Percy was a pseudonym for the American poet, Elizabeth Akers (1832 - 1911). The poem (of the same title) accompanying the music was first written in 1860 and is Akers' best known poem. Akers was born Elizabeth Anne Chase, she grew up in Farmington, Maine, where she attended Farmington Academy. She began to write at the age of fifteen, under the pen name Florence Percy, and in 1855 published under that name a volume of poems entitled Forest Buds. In 1851 she married Marshall S. M. Taylor, but they were divorced within a few years. In subsequent years she traveled through Europe; in Rome she became acquainted with the feminist Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis. While in Europe she served as a correspondent for the Portland Transcript and the Boston Evening Gazette. She started contributing to the Atlantic Monthly in 1858. She married Paul Akers, a Maine sculptor whom she had met in Rome, in 1860; he died in 1861. In 1865 she married E. M. Allen, of New York. In 1866 a collection of her poems was published in Boston.
Henry W. Petrie (1857 - 1925) was born in Bloomington,
Illinois and enjoyed a successful career as a popular composer. Petrie's songs
were quite popular and he wrote a number of works that are still performed from
time to time. His frst published song, I'm Mamma's Little Girl was
written in 1894. Later that same year, Petrie published a song titled, I
Don't Want To Play In Your Yard (scorch format) which was a huge hit.
The following year he tried to "answer" his own hit with You Can't
Play In Our Yard Anymore; it flopped. A number of his more popular
works were sea or ship related including his most famous work was and continues
to be, Asleep In The Deep, written with A.J. Lamb . That song was first
introduced by Jean Early in 1898 in Chicago in a performance with the Havery
Minstrels. We featured a fabulous German version of that work titled, Des
Seamanns Los (scorch format). He also collaborated with Lamb in writing
At The Bottom Of The Deep Blue Sea in 1900. Most of his hits came earlier
in his career and none have matched the staying power of Asleep In The Deep
which was a colossal hit and immediately became a "war horse" for
bass singers. It is still quite popular today and bass singers love to slide
down the scale on the word "beware". Petrie wrote some additional
"water" songs, perhaps again to capitalize on "Asleep" including
At The Bottom Of The Deep Blue Sea (1900) and Out
Where The Billows Roll High (scorch format) in 1901. Petrie died in
Paw Paw, Michigan in 1925.
A. Fred Phillips is yet another of the many
"missing in action" composers from the early 20th century golden age of song,
there is virtually no information available on him other than listings for three
of his songs, the present one and Got Her Off My Hands But Can't Get Her
Out Of My Mind from1951, and popularized by the Mills Brothers and Got
The Bench, Got The Park But I Haven't Got You from 1931. It seems he wrote
a song every twenty years or so. He also seemed to have a penchant for long
titles. It seems his partner in writing this son, Richard Howard, has
suffered the same fate with only three songs to his credit and little else about
him to be found. His works include this one and Face To Face With The Girl
Of My Dreams, 1914 and When The Leaves Come Tumbling Down, 1922.
Al. Piantadosi ( b. 1884, New York City -
d. 1955, Encino, CA ) Piantadosi was one of Tin Pan Alley's more prolific writers
of sentimental ballads from 1906 well into the 1930's. Though many of his wrks
were quite popular, unfortunately few have come down to us in the permanent
repertoire. During his heydays he collaborated with some of the best lyricists
of the times including Alfred Bryan, Grant Clarke, and Edgar Leslie. Piantadosi
was a pianist in resorts and night clubs and an accompanist in vaudeville early
on. He toured Europe and Australia and was responsible for popularizing much
of America's music in those countries. For a time, he owned his own publishing
house. Perhaps his most famous work is the tearjerker, The Curse of An Aching
Heart from 1913. Among his many other popular works are; Good-Bye Mr
Caruso (1909), Melinda's Wedding Day (1913), Good Luck Mary
(1909) I Did'nt
Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier (1915, Scorch format), Rusty-Can-O Rag
(1910), That Italian Rag (1910) and Baby
Shoes, (1916, MIDI).
Maceo Pinkard was born in Bluefield, West
Virginia on June 27, 1897. Educated at the Bluefield Colored Institute (BCS),
in his early career he formed his own orchestra and toured throughout the US
as the conductor. In 1914, Pinkard founded the theatrical agency in Omaha, Nebraska
and eventually founded Pinkard Publications, a music publishing firm in New
Primarily writing as the composer and lyricist, Pinkards catalog includes
such hit songs as Sugar, Gimme a Little Kiss, Will Ya Huh?,
At Twilight, Them There Eyes, Sweet Georgia Brown,
Here Comes the Show Boat, Sweet Man, Ill
Be a Friend (With Pleasure), Dont Cry Little Girl, Dont
Cry, Congratulations, Is That Religion?, Liza,
Lila, There Must Be Somebody Else, Okay Baby,
That Wonderful Boy Friend of Mine, Lets Have a Showdown,
My Old Man and Mammy O Mine.
Pinkard also wrote and produced the Broadway show Liza. Pinkard died in New
York City on July 21, 1962. Each year, BCS holds a weeklong festival in honor
of its famous alumnus. ( from the songwriters hall of fame biography
of Pinkard, copyright the Songwriter's
Hall of Fame.)
William C. Polla (1876 - 1939) Composer, lyricist
and arranger. Arranged a number of W.C. Handy tunes for band and orchestra.
Polla was a profific composer writing a large number of popular songs and several
ragtime works as well as some orchestral works. Most of his rags were written
under the pseudonym "W.C. Powell." One wonders why, unless he somehow
felt that he did not want to mix his classical and heart songs side with a rather
coarse and wild ragtime persona. Many of his works were graced with beautiful
woman covers, several by the now famous "pinup" artist, Roldf Armstrong
whose early 20th century portraits are among the best female portraits ever.
As with many successful composers, Polla also owned his own publishing house,
the W.C. Polla Company, for a few years. Among his works are; Gondolier,
The (1903), Missouri Rag (as W.C. Powell 1907), Johnny Jump Up
(as WC Powell 1910), Dope Rag (as W. C. Powell 1909), Dancing Tambourine
(1927), Night In June (1927), You Know (1919), Mama's Gone
Goodbye (1924), Funny Folks (as W. C. Powell), Dear Heart
(1919 ), Drifting (1920), My Castles in the Air are Tumbling Down
(1919), My Sunshine Rose (1920)
Lew Pollack ( b. 1895, New York City - d. 1946,
Hollywood, CA ) Pollacks musical career started at age 14 when he began singing
with the Walter Damrosch choral group as a boy soprano. Not long after, he played
piano in movie theaters and moved on to vaudeville as a singer-pianist. He was
multi talented in that not only could he sing and play piano but he also was
an accomplished writer of material for his own as well as other acts and wrote
many popular songs, stage scores and movie scores. As a popular song composer,
he collaborated with the best Tin Pan Alley had to offer including; Erno Rapee,
Sidney Clare, Jack Yellen and Ray Gilbert. Though his song credits are impressive,
it is his movie scores that produced the greatest of his compostitions. Pollack
wrote movie scores for Captain January (1936), One In A Million
(1937), In Old Chicago (1938), My Son, My Son (1940) and Lady,
Let's Dance in 1944. His most memorable songs include; Sing, Baby, Sing
(1936), Charmaine (1927), Two Cigarettes in The Dark (1934) and
One In A Million (1937)
Cole Porter (b. 1892 - d. 1964) Born in Peru,
Indiana, Porter attended Yale and graduated in 1913. While at Yale he wrote
the "Bulldog" song, (Bulldog! Bulldog! Bow Wow Wow! Eli, Eli Yale!
Bulldog! Bulldog! Bow Wow Wow! Our Team will never fail!) the official fight
song of Yale. A rather inauspicious start to his songwriting career. After Yale,
Porter attended Harvard where he did not write a song (as far as I can find).
During the First World War, Porter joined the French Foreign Legion and served
as an officer during the war. This aspect of his career was given coverage in
the 1946 film biography of Porter Night and Day, starring Carey Grant
as Porter. In the film, the composition of Porter's Night and Day takes
place on the battlefield during a lull in fighting. However, the song was not
really composed until 1932. After the war, Porter stayed in France and studied
with the composer Vincent D'Indy in Paris. A more recent film about Porter,
also titled after one of his songs, D'Lovely starring Kevin Kline was
issued in 2004.
In 1937, Porter was seriously injured in a horseback riding accident that put
him in a hospital; for two years and resulted in further confinement to a wheelchair
for five more years. Continuing problems over twenty years culminated in the
amputation of his leg in 1958. Despite his hardships, Porter managed to produce
some of America's greatest songs and Broadway productions. His first show, See
America First, described as an opera in two acts was not very well-received
by audiences and only ran for 15 performances before closing. Among his other
Broadway productions are: Paris (1928), Fifty Million Frenchmen
(1929) The Gay Divorcee (1932), Anything Goes (1934), DuBarry
Was A Lady (1939), The Man Who Came To Dinner (1939) and Kiss
Me Kate (1948).
Porter's hit songs are more than I can list here but among his best known are:
Old Fashioned Garden (1919) You Do Something To Me (1929), What
Is This Thing Called Love (1929), Let's Do It (1928), Night and
Day (1932), I Get A Kick Out Of You (1934), Begin The Beguine
(1935), I Love Paris (1953) and I've Got You Under My Skin (1936).
Porter died in Santa Monica, California in 1964
Jessie Brown Pounds.(1861 - 1921) was primarily
a hymnist and wrote a number of popular hymns. Besides Beautiful Isle of
Somewhere (1897) she wrote; O Scatter The Seeds, Preach Through
The Cross and We Are Going Down The Valley.
Harry Puck, (b. May 15, 1891 in Brooklyn, NY - d.
January 2, 1964 in Metuchen,
NJ.) From about 1898-1911 he was part of a brother sister vaudeville act with
his sister Eva, known as the Two Pucks. (They were also song "pluggers"
and were the featured artists in numerous song sheets, several by Von Tilzer
... so they were familiar even as children with Tin Pan alley). After his sister's
marriage, he turned his attention to composing and music publishing (Kalmar
& Puck 1913-1915; and Kalmar,
Puck & Abrahams 1915-1918). He was most active in these fields 1913-1918.
After his sister's return to the stage, they had a short-lived reunion as a
vaudeville act, before going their separate ways onto the Broadway musical stage,
were they both became well known musical comedy feature actors. In later years
he worked for the Shubert
brothers in New York and for Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, CA, eventually
returning to New York to go into business.Among the songs which he wrote are:
Loving Eyes (1907), Over the Garden Wall (1913), Everybody
Snap Your Fingers With Me (1913), That's Why I Never Go Home (1913), Where
Did You Get That Girl? (1913), My Hidden Treasure, (1913), Kiss
Me Like You've Never Been Kissed Before (1913), California
and You (scorch format) (1914), The Little House Upon the Hill
(1915) and Johnny, Get a Girl in 1916. As a performer, he appeared in
a number of Broadway shows including; 1921 - Tangerine, 1924 - Lollipop,
1926 - Twinkle Twinkle and 1930 - Three Little Girls. In 1913,
the year that the US Post Office inaugurated parcel post service Puck wrote
My Parcel Post Man with lyrics by Bert Kalmar. (Biographical
information graciously provided to us by Georgina Z. McWherter)
Dave Reed Jr. Little of Reed's life has been
preserved for us. We do know that wrote at least one Broadway production, The
Catch of the Season. The show opened at Daly's Theater on August 28, 1905
and closed November 25th after 93 performances. Among his other works are Elisa,
Listen (1926 with Max Morath), Sammy
Sampson's Semmigambian Band (1903), Love Me, and the World is Mine!(1906
with Ernest R. Ball)
Jerome H. Remick was born on Nov. 15, 1868 and
died July 15, 1931, he is buried in Detroit Michigan. He founded, Jerome H.
Remick & Sons in Detroit and established an office in New York in the heart
of Tin Pan Alley. Remick was another of the most influential publishers of Tin
Pan Alley. Oddly enough, hours of searching Detroit Newspaper archives and the
New York Times archives (on-line) turned up nothing more than a photo of Remick's
headstone in a Detroit cemetery. Remick along with the other pioneering publishers
have seemed to disappear of the face of the earth. We do know that Remick's
played a key role in the development of popular music and that many of America's
greatest composers got their start there. One of the luminaries was George Gershwin
who when he was fifteen, persuaded his skeptical mother to allow him to leave
school and he took a job as a song-plugger at Remick's in the heart of Tin Pan
Alley. George learned the business quickly, and just as quickly became bored
with the ordinary quality of the material he had to play all day. He even had
a song published, When You Want 'Em You Can't Get 'Em, for which he received
the grand sum of $5.
Madame Caroline Rivé, in the decade of the 1850's, Rivé was stated to be "a dramatic singer of rare powers and a teacher unsurpassed in America." Besides this work, I've only found a record of one other song published by her; The Music of the Foot Fall (1865), however given her reputation I suspect she wrote many more songs. Interestingly, her daughter Julie Rivé-King born in 1857 gained more fame than the mother as a performer who also studied under Lizst and Reinecke.
C. Lucky (Charles Luckeyeth) Roberts (1841-1968)
was a black pianist bandleader and composer. His band was a major presence in
the 1920's and he performed at Carnegie Hall in 1936. He later had a club in
Harlem. Billy Boy is a rare work by him as he is best known for his rags
and jazzy songs. The war and the bravery of the 369th in the War inspired Roberts
to write this song to honor Mitchell and the men of the regiment. Among his
better known works are; Junk Man Rag (1913), Pork and Beans (1913), Music Box
Rag (1914), Helter Skelter (1915), Railroad Blues (1920) and M'lasses (1923).
Roberts also wrote several concert works including a suite for orchestra and
a rhapsody for piano and orchestra.
J. Russel Robinson (1892 - 1963) was a
United States ragtime and jazz pianist and a composer of popular tunes. Robinson
was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He started publishing ragtime compositions
in his teens; his early hits included Sapho Rag and Eccentric
(Rag). With his drummer brother he toured the US South in the early 1910s, including
an extended stay in New Orleans. He was known for his heavily blues and jazz
influenced playing style; advertisements billed him as "The White Boy with
the Colored Fingers".
In 1919 Robinson joined the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. He then went to work
with W.C. Handy's publishing company, supplying new arrangements and lyrics
for popular editions of tunes like Memphis
Blues (MIDI) and Ole Miss in the 1920s. He also played piano
with verious popular and blues singers in phonograph recording sessions, accompanying
singers such as Annette Hanshaw, Lucille Hegamin, Marion Harris, and Lizzie
Miles. (From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia in accordance
with the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2)
Among his works are The Sappho Rag (1909), Dynamite
Rag (MIDI) (1910), The Minstrel Man (1911), Whirlwind Rag
(1911), That Eccentric Rag (1912), Te-na-na (1912), Margie
(1920), Aggravatin' Papa (1933) and St. Louis Gal (1923).
Robert F. Roden (? - 1934) Though I've been able to find virtually no biographical information on Roden, I have found a number of songs and/or writings by him. Roden was primarily a film writer having written the story or adaptation to several silent era films including Little Miss Nobody (1917), Greater Than Love (story) and Suspicious Wives (1921). His most popular song (lyrics) is probably the 1908 song When It's Moonlight On The Prairie.
Caro Roma (1866 - 1937) was the stage name for Carrie
Northly (as we said, use of pseudonyms is one of the problems in finding
reliable information about many women composers). Northly was born in California
in 1866 to a father who had moved there to take part in the gold rush and by
age three was performing on stage. Her talent prompted her family to send her
to Boston to study at the prestigeoius New England Conservatory of Music at
an early age. By the time she was a teenager, she was retained by a French Opera
company on tour in Canada as their orchestra conductor. When she returned to
Boston she joined the Henry Savage Opera Company and soon became prima donna.
She sang opera in San Fransisco as well as Europe and performed for Royalty
in several countries.
At the same time she was developing as a classical performer, she developed
her writing and compositional skills. From early childhood, she wrote songs
and poetry and wrote over 2,500 poems during her life, many of which she set
to music. Interestingly, she wrote a number of sea songs and composed at least
one song cycle, The Wandering One, with lyrics by Clement Scott. Besides
her most famous song, Can't Yo' Heah Me Calling, she also wrote; Faded
Rose, The Angelus, Thinking of Thee and Resignation.
In collaboration with the famed "Irish" song composer Ernest R. Ball
she also wrote lyrics for In The Garden Of My Heart, Love Me Today
and Tomorrow May Never Come. In 1932 Roma gave a concert at age 71 in
Los Angles where she personally performed 19 of her own compositions. She died
in California in 1937
George F. Root (1820 - 1895) American vocal composer and writer, Root was bornin Sheffield, Mass. The son of a farmer and the eldest of eight children he had little early opportunity to cultivate his musical talent. He studied later under George Webb in Boston and in 1839 became assistant teacher in the music school of A. N. Johnson, and organist in that city. Root also became Johnson's partner and assistant organist at the Winter Street and Park Street churches. In 1844 he moved to New York and became organist at the Presbyterian Church at Mercer Street, known as the "church of the strangers." He also took jobs as teacher of singing in various schools there. Around this time he married Mary Olive Woodman a church and concert singer.
In 1850, Root went to Paris for a year to study and on his return began to compose music. His early works and a few later ones were published under the pseudonym "Wurzel," the German word for root. His first song, Hazel Dell was a success and his cantata, The Flower Queen produced in 1881 was quite successful as well. For several years he devoted time to composing, occasionally conducting musical conventions. One convention brought him in contact with Lowell Mason and in 1852 Root originated a summer normal school of music in New York City. The faculty included Lason, William Bradbury and Thomas Hastings.
About 1860 he removed to Chicago and there became head partner in the music publishing firm of Root & Cady which realized quick financial results from the sale of Root's popular songs and collections. The firm sustained heavy losses in the fire of 1871 and soon afterward was dissolved. Mr. Root continued to live in Chicago where he composed, edited works and conducted conventions as before. In 1881 he received his degree of Doctor of Music and in 1886 visited Europe a second time. He died in his summer home on Baily Island near the Maine coast.
Many of Root's productions were immesnsely popular in their day, especially the songs belonging to the time of the Civil War. While they do not belong to the classics, they are at least superior to the majority of the popular songs of the present day in purity of sentiment.
Aside from his songs, Root also wrote a number of cantataa, quartets, church music music curricula, and instruction books for piano and organ. Among his most popular songs are; Battle Cry of Freedom; Just Before The Battle; Tramp, Tramp, Tramp; The Vacant Chair; A Hundred Years Ago; Hazel Dell and Just After The Battle. In case you are wondering about some of the odd sentence constructions and word usage in this biography, it is taken from a 1908 music encylopedia.
Vincent Rose (b. 1880 - d. 1944) Rose's primary
fame revolved around his bandleading and many recordings made in the 1930's.
Rose moved to the US at age 17 in 1897 having received his musical education
in Italy. He settled in Chicago and there worked in orchestras as a pianist
and violinist. He formed his own orchestra there in 1904. Though he did not
compose many songs most of his songs were successes. He also collaborated on
several stage shows including BOMBO (1921) Earl Carroll's Sketch Book
(1929) and Earl Carroll's Vanities of 1931. Among his greatest works
are; Avalon (Scorch format) &
Nightingale (1920), Linger A While
(1923), Fascinating You (1929), Tonight or Never (2931), The
Umbrella Man (1938) and Blueberry Hill (1940).
Hugo Riesenfeld (1879 - 1939) "From 1917-1925,
Riesenfeld was the manager of the Rivoli, Rialto and Criterion Theatres in New
York. A conductor and violinst, Riesenfeld was educated at the Conservatory
of Music in Vienna and the University of Vienna, he then conducted with the
Imperial Opera House in Vienna. In 1907 he came to America with Oscar Hammerstein
and for four years worked with the Manhattan Opera Company in New York. While
on Broadway, Riesenfeld demonstrated the entertainment and box office possibilities
of having intelligent music accompany films. In 1928, Hugo was appointed general
musical director in charge of musical productions for United Artists Pictures."
(Preceeding biographical sketch written by Tony Luke Scott from
his book The Stars
of Hollywood Forever, reprinted with permission from the author.)
Riesenfeld wrote only one Broadway musical, Betty Be Good however, as
a film score writer he was incredibly productive. In all he wrote scores for
over 100 films. Some of his film credits occurred 40 years after his death through
the re-use of prior scores from earlier works. His impressive list of scores
includes The Ten Commandments (1923), The Hunchback of Notre Dame
(1923), King of Kings (1928), The Iron Mask (1929), Tarzan
The Fearless (1933), Dick Tracy (1937) and Dick Tracy Returns
in 1938. He continued writing right up to his death.
Romberg (July 29, 1887 November 9, 1951) was a composer best known
for his operettas. He was born in Nagykanizsa in Hungary. He went to Vienna
to study engineering, but also took composition lessons while there. He moved
to the United States of America in 1909 and, after a brief stint working in
a pencil factory, was employed as a pianist in cafes. He eventually founded
his own orchestra and published a few songs, which, despite their limited success,
drew him to the attention of the Schubert brothers who hired him to write music
for their shows in 1914. That year he wrote his first significant operetta,
The Whirl of the World.
Romberg's adaptation of melodies by Franz Schubert for Blossom Time
(1921, produced in the UK as Lilac Time) was a great success. He subsequently
wrote his best known operettas, The Student Prince (1924), The Desert
Song (1926) and The New Moon (1928) which are in a similar style
to the Viennese operettas of Franz Lehár. His later works, such as Up
in Central Park (1945), are closer to the American musical in style, but
they were less successful.
Romberg also wrote a number of film scores and adapted his own work for film.
He died in Hartsdale, New York. Romberg was the subject of the 1954 Stanley
Donen-directed film Deep in My Heart, in which he was played by José
Ferrer. (From Wikipedia, "the free encyclopedia" used
in accordance with the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.)
Alvin W. Roper, was a pianist with the E.O. Excell
Company when he wrote Roper's
Piano Chimes. Roper also was associated with William Biederwolf, an
evangelist, theologan and author from around 1910 - 20. The Excell company was
a publishing house and Excell (Edwin O.) was also a composer having composed
or arranged several well known and popular works such as Amazing Grace
and Count Your Blessings as well as many other christian songs. Unfortunately,
little else is known or can be found about Roper.
Monroe H. Rosenfeld (b. 1861, Richmond, VA
- d. 1918, New York) Rosenfeld was more well known as a journalist than a composerand
lyricist and his main musical claim to fame was the 1886 song, Johnnie Get
Your Gun. However, his biggest contribution to America's musical heritage
was the naming of Tin Pan Alley. He was the journalist who coined the term while
writing a series of articles about America's popular music industry in 1903.
His other works include; Alabama Walk-Around (1891), The New Berlin,
The Virginia Skedaddle (1892), Clean
Hands and Tainted Gold (Scorch format) (1904) and A Mother's Lullaby.
M. E. Rourke was an English born lyricist.
Born in Manchester, England in 1867, very few of his works bear his real name
for he mostly wrote under the name of Herbert Reynolds. Under that name her
wrote the lyrics for the great Jerome Kern composition, They
Didn't Believe Me (scorch format) in 1914. With Kern he also wrote If
I Find The Girl (1915) and collaborated with Sigmund Ropmberg on Auf
Wiedersehn, also in 1915.
Paul A. Rubens wrote a substantial number of
books, lyrics and music for Broadway shows. Though his dates are not to be found
in any of my references (and searches for him on the net are flooded with articles
about the Flemish painter Paul Rubens) but we do know the titles of many of
the shows he wrote. Few of his songs found success outside the context of the
shows they appeared in. His first musical was A Country Girl in 1902
and he continued writing shows till at least 1925. Among his other works are;
Three Little Maids (1903), Miss Hook Of Holland (1908), The Sunshine Girl (1913)
and Naughty Cinderella (1925).
Ruby (1895 - 1959) was born in New York in 1895. He
began his career as a pianist in cafes and vaudeville and worked as a song plugger
for several publishers, including Von Tilzer and Gus Edwards. He performed as
a part of a vaudeville act called Edwards & Ruby. His primary lyricist partner
throughout his career was Burt Kalmar (1884 -1947) however he also often teamed
with Edgar Leslie. In addition to writing hundreds of popular songs with Kalmar,
they also collaborated on several stage works and film scores. Their most notable
film scores included the Marx Brother's hit Duck Soup in 1933. They
also wrote the music for the Marx brothers' stage production of Animal Crackers
Some of Ruby's greatest hits are; Timbuctoo, My
Sunny Tennessee, (MIDI) I Wanna be Loved By You and Hooray for Captain Spaulding.
What? You say you neverheard of Hooray For Captain Spaulding? I'll
bet you heard it many times if you were born before 1960. That song was the
theme song of Groucho Marx for many years. Jean Schwartz (b. 1878 Budapest -
d. 1956, Los Angeles)came to America in 1891 with his family. He started his
musical career as a song plugger and pianist for Shapiro Bernsten. His first
song composition was Don't Put Me Off At Buffalo He wrote quite a few
popular songs over many, many years, teaming up with most of the great lyricists
of the times. Perhaps his greatest known work was Rock-a-bye
Your Baby With A Dixie Melody (Scorch format) in 1927. Ruby died in
1959 in the city of his birth, New York City.
Harry Sanderson; Sanderson was a fairly prolific writer of Polkas, Schottisches, Galops and other dances as well as a smattering of a few songs. His composing period extended from around 1850 well into the 70's. Sanderson and Gottschalk were close friends and Sanderson was more well known as an accomplished piano virtuoso than a composer. We gain some insight into Sanderson's talent from an article published in the Wall Street Journal on December 14, 1864:
"Mr. HARRY SANDERSON. -- It is not altogether a happy conjunction of circumstances that induces this well-known pianist to seek, each returning Winter, both profit and health in the torrid regions of the West Indies. At most, it is but fortunate that his talents enable him thus to affect two objects at once, for without health there are no riches. Mr. HARRY SANDERSON sails to-day for Havana, and in all friendliness we wish him good speed. He is in every respect a remarkable artist. Without possessing the routine-technical ability of the schools, he yet commands a facility of his own that is almost unattainable by others. His execution is as singularly brilliant as it is original. No one who has heard Mr. SANDERSON play his "Study in Octaves," can withhold from that gentleman the largest measure of applause and astonishment. It is in passages where this specialty can best be exhibited that he takes the conceit out of more pretentious performers, but it is not alone here that he is meritorious. His touch is good, and in certain compositions of his own he plays with a certain small-muscled American vigor and vivacity that are thoroughly irresistible. Wherever Mr. SANDERSON exhibits his powers he captivates the audience at once, and has never, to our knowledge, failed in obtaining an encore. This, we are aware, is no criterion of his merit, but it illustrates at all events the dash and spirit of his style, and how happily it accords with the desire for those qualities. As a composer, Mr. SANDERSON has already attained a leading position. His ideas are clear and good, and his inborn sense of effect enables him to express them in the best possible manner. The "Electric Polka" is one of the most brilliant pieces of the kind ever published, The subject is catching, yet elegant, and the elaboration bold and commanding. Among other works which we have only time to mention, but which we hope will become better known, are "A Lullaby," a "Transcription from Rigoletto," the "Irving Quickstep," and the "Bridal Eve Polka."
Mr. SANDERSON's personal qualities are known to his friends and appreciated by them. It is a large circle and we join them in the hope that this amiable young American artist may speedily return to us rich both in health and in pocket."
Wilfrid Sanderson (1878-1935) an organist and
choirmaster, is known to have written the melodies to other hymns, including
Great Master, Touch Us. As well, Sanderson also wrote a secular songs
and arranged other works by various masters for organ including an arrangement
Meyerbeer's Coronation March ('Le Prophète')
Known as a writer of fine ballads, among his other works are Until, (1910),
Friend O' Mine, Neglectful Blues and Charm me Asleep (recorded
1932 by Johgn McCormack). Some of his songs have been recently recorded on collections
of ballads and anthems and his music continues to live on through his hymns
Charles Carroll Sawyer (1833 - ca. 1890) Sawyer's involvement in music was an unlikely happenstance as he was the son of sea captain and shipbuilder (Joshua Sawyer) in Mystic Connecticut. In 1845 at age twelve he moved to New York City and very little is known of his activities there besides being a lyricist for Weeping Sad and Lonely, and a few other patriotic and war related songs such as Shake Hands With Uncle Sam (1866) and He Was Not Afraid to Die (1864). Sawyers exact death date is unknown to me at this time. A 1908 reference book simply states he died "after 1890."
John C. Scherpf seemed to have made his mark in the musical world primarily as an arranger of music more than an original composer. During the decade of the 1850's a number of works arranged by Scherpf were pubished, many of which were dances. Among the other titles arranged by him are: a quartet version of Sleeping I Dreamed Love (Quartett) (seen in our article about music of the 1840's), The Prima Donna Waltz, African quadrilles, and Favorite Dances of the Rousset Family. In a book about music in this decade, Scherpf was cited as a composer, percussionistand secretary of the musical society (of New York).
James Sylvester Scott was born in Neosho Missouri
in 1886, he studied with other notable black composers of the period including
John Coleman and later, Scott Joplin. He was one of Scott Joplin's disciples
and along with Joseph Lamb, helped create the Missouri "school" of
rag music. In 1902 he moved to Carthage, Mo. and started work as a handyman
in Dunmar's music store where one day he was discovered playing the piano. When
Dunmar learned that Scott had been musically schooled, he promoted him to salesman
and song plugger. Dunmar encouraged Scott and he thought so much of Scott's
music that he became Scott's publisher. In 1903 he issued two of Scott's works,
A Summer Breeze and Fascinator. His first works clearly showed
the influence of Joplin but showed his own originality. Scott stayed on with
Dunmar for twelve years or so and during that time he visited St. Louis where
he connected with Joplin. Through Joplin, he was introduced to John Stark who
published for Joplin and Stark took up Scott's publishing. In 1914 he moved
to Kansas City where he was married and began teaching. From around 1916 to
'26, Scott also was an organist and musical arranger at the Panama Theater.
All this time, Scott continued to write rags all the way till his last one,
Broadway Rag in 1922. Frog
Legs Rag (Scorch format) is one of his earlier rags and perhaps one
of his most popular. He also wrote the Kansas City Rag (1907) and The
Great Scott Rag (1909). In addition to rages, he also wrote some more traditional
songs including Take Me Out To Lakeside (1914) and The Shimmie Shake
in 1920. In his later years, Scott suffered from dropsy and was often in pain
yet still continued playing the piano. He died in a hospital in Springfield,
Mo. in 1938. His music is often compared to Joplin's and some experts have described
it as clearer and more lyrical than Joplin's.
Schwartz (b. 1878, Budapest, Hungary, d. 1956, Los
Angeles, CA.) The Schwartz family emigrated from Hungary to New York City in
1891. Starting his American musical career as a songplugger at Shapiro and Bernstein,
Schwartz went on to become one of America's greatest songwriters. His collaborations
with the likes of Jerome Kern, William Jerome and Milton Ager resulted in some
of our greatest songs and musical stage works. Schwartz was involved in music
early in life and received his first musical training with his sister, who had
received her training with the great composer and piano virtuoso, Franz Liszt.
After his family emigrated to New York City, for several years they lived on
the city's lower east side, in abject poverty. Jean worked at a number of odd
jobs to help support his family. Although he did work as a cashier in a Turkish
Bath house, mostly he was able to find musical work. One of his jobs was as
a sheet music demonstrator in New York's Siegel-Cooper Department Store. This
was the first sheet music department to appear in a major department store.
During this time, he also found some musical emplyment and performed with an
ensemble at Coney Island. Finally, he became a staff pianist and song plugger
in Shapiro-Bernstein Inc., a Tin
Pan Alley music publisher. In 1899, at age 21, Schwart'z first published
work appeared, a cakewalk titled Dusky Dudes.
William Jerome, a well known lyricist, and Schwartz met in 1901. It was the
start of a fruitful songwriting partnership. Over the next few years, they wrote
some very successful songs for different Broadway shows, among them were: Don't
Put Me Off at Buffalo Anymore, Rip van Winkle Was a Lucky Man, Hamlet Was a
Melancholy Dane and what was one of their most popular works from the1903
show The Jersey Lily; Bedelia sung by Blanche Ring. All of this
success made the team of Schwartz and Jerome a popular act for the vaudeville
circuits, where they were headliners for many years. Schwartz also was employed
as the pianist for the Dolly Sisters' vaudeville act, and in time, he married
one of the sisters, Rozika.
In 1913 Schwartz teamed up with lyricist Harold Atteridge to write songs for
a number of popular shows including The Passing Show of 1913, and The
Honeymoon Express that same year. In 1914 Schwartz, with Grant Clarke as
lyricist wrote, I Love The Ladies and Back To The Carolina You Love
. One of Scwartz's greatest collaborations was with Sam. M. Lewis. In 1917 they
teamed up to write songs for the great Al Jolsen and ca,e up with Rock-a-Bye
Your Baby With A Dixie Melody; Hello
Central, Give Me No Man's Land (Scorch format) and Why Do They All
Take The Night Boat To Albany?
Schwartz continued to team up with talented lyricists and produced song after
song for numerous shows as well as individual popular songs that did well. From
1931 until 1937, Schwartz and Milton Ager collaborated on several hits, including:
Trouble In Paradise; Little You Know and Trust In Me, a
1937 hit. Schwartz wrote few songs after 1940 and lived in relative seclusion
till his death in Los Angeles, CA, age 76 years.
James Royce (J. R.) Shannon (1881 - 1946) Shannon,
born James Royce in Adrian, Michigan became one of America's more prominent
actor, composer/lyricists of the Tin Pan Alley era. Royce added Shannon to his
name to create a pseudonym for his writing efforts. He organized his own theatrical
company and toured the US and Europe. Shannon also was the drama critic for
the Detroit Free Press for several years. His most famous song is Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral,
written in 1913 for the musical production Shameen Dhu which was staged
in New York in 1914. He also wrote the lyrics to The Missouri Waltz in
1916. That song had originally been published by the composer, Frederick Knight
Logan in 1914 as a waltz without words. Shannon added the words and the song
has since enjoyed the status of a lasting hit, becoming the state song of Missouri
and also as a song regularly played by president Harry Truman in the White House.
Helen Selina Sheridan, (1807–1867), was a British song-writer, composer, poet, and author. As well as being admired for her wit and literary talents, she was a fashionable beauty and a well-known figure in London society of the mid-19th century.At seventeen, Helen was engaged to Commander Price Blackwood, the future Lord Dufferin, although his parents wanted him to marry more advantageously. After their London wedding in 1825 they went to live in Florence, but returned two years later with their baby son Frederick. From childhood Helen had written poems, songs and prologues for private theatrical productions. After she and Caroline jointly brought out a Set of ten Songs and two Duets, she started to publish her verse, sometimes set to her own music. Her name was not usually printed at first, but she did not stay entirely anonymous. Her most famous song is the The Irish Emigrant however she wrote many more including; They bid me forget thee and Miss Myrtle, the Charming Woman.
Terry Sherman is credited with several songs
from 1912 - 14 but none after or before. I've not found any biographical information.
Among his published songs are: Pawnee Dear (1913), By The Old Wishing
Well (1913), Harmony Bay (1914) and the Boogie Man Rag (1912),
published in a rag and song version.
Shields (b. 1868, Chicago, IL - d. 1913, Massapequa,
NY) Shields started his career as have many songwriters as a youth in minstrel
shows and vaudeville. He sang as a part of the Empire State Quartet in vaudeville
from 1890 - 1894 and also performed with Max Million beginning in 1894. Somewhere
along the way, Shields met George Evans, composer and fellow vaudevillian and
the two collaborated on a number of songs many of which are still remembered
more than a century later. Among his hit lyrics are; In
The Good Old Summertime (1902) (Scorch format), In The Merry Month
of May (1903), Come Take a Trip In My Air-Ship (1904), Steamboat
Bill (1910, and Waltzing
With The One You Love (Scorch format) (1905).
Charles Shisler (1886 - 1952 ) is one of the
many composers who have faded away with time. In fact, this month all but a
precious few of the composers and lyricists are virtually unknown today. We
do know that he wrote a number of songs and continued to publish well into the
1940's with songs such as Lolita (1943) and Love Is A Melody (1949).
Beyond that, we've found little else.
Louis Silvers (b.1889, New York City - d.1954,
Hollywood). A composer pianist and conductor, Silvers was a vcaudeville pianist
and then later music director for Gus Edward's vaudeville shows for ten years.
(Scorchformat) is his biggest hit however he also wrote the film score for 1927's
The Jazz Singer and One Night of Love in 1934.
Chris Smith (b. Charleston, S.C. 1879 - d.
New York City, 1949) One of a very few African American composers to be successful
during ths era, Smith distinguished himself with a large oevre of published
works including several hits. He taught himself to play the piano and the guitar.
His first appearances on the stage was with Elmer Bowman, who had a medicine
show. Bowman never paid him, and he had to walk back home to Charleston. At
some point, Chris traveled to New York, and in 1900, he began to write popular
songs. His first song, Never Let The Same Bee Sting You Twice was published
in 1900 with lyrics by Cecil Mack. His collaboprations included a number of
major lyricists of the time including Silvio Hein ( He's A Cousin Of Mine),
Jack Drislane ( After All That I've Been To You) and Avery and Hart
(Down Among The Sugar Cane). Sadly, after WW1, Smith stopped writing.
He lived in an apartment in Harlem's St. Nicholas Avenue, in seclusion and neglect
till his death at age 70.
John Stafford Smith (1750 - 1836), composer
of the melody to the Star Spangled Banner, was an English organist, composer
and talented tenor born in Gloucester. He studied under his father who was organist
at Gloucester Cathedral and William Boyce, composer of the Liberty
Song (Scorch format) melody. Organist for the Cahpel Royal and a vicar
at Westminster Abbey, Smith composed numerous anthems, chants and songs. A musical
scholar, Smith also edited one of the best collections of early music, The Musica
Antiqua. Smith died in London in 1836.
Orean Smith (?? ) Though I have several works that
are attributed to Smith either as primary composer or arranger, I've been unable
to find much of anything about his life or contribution to American music. The
photo is from the cover of the 1902 Star Dance Folio Nr. 2. That folio of songs
was arranged by Smith for publication by Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. In addition,
there are several other folios I have, including the Albert Von Tilzer collection
from 1905, The Star Dance Folio Nr. 1 from 1901 and the Crown Dance Folio from
1903 published by Sol Bloom. Among his original works are Campin' On De Ole
Suwanee (1899), King Crap (1900), Anona (1903), The
Old Wedding Gown (1913) and La Flor del Amazona (1914).
Ted Snyder (b. 1881, Freeport, Illinois d. 1965,
Hollywood, CA) Ted Snyder is the person who gave Irving Berlin his start in
the music business by hiring him in 1909 as a song plugger for his publishing
company. But Snyder is also recalled as a composer in his own right who wrote
hits such as The Sheik of Araby (1921) and Who's Sorry Now? (1923).
Little is known of Ted's early life, other than he attended the public schools
in Boscobel, WI., and as a very young man, he posted theater bills for a living.
Later, he was a cafe pianist, and then a staff pianist and song plugger in Chicago
and New York music publishing houses. Like Berlin, his first publications came
in 1907 with his first song There's a Girl in This World for Every Boy,
with lyrics Will D. Cobb. Snyder wrote a number of other tunes in collaboration
with other important lyricists of the day and in 1909 he began his association
with Berlin. Some of their firat tines included, Sweet Italian Love,
Kiss Me, My Honey, Kiss Me, and Next To Your Mother, Who Do You Love?
as well as 1910's That Beautiful Rag.
In 1913, Irving Berlin was writing his own melodies, as well as his own lyrics
and Snyder's firm is re-organized and is called, Waterson, Berlin and Snyder.
Ted Snyder also continued writing his own melodies, often with other lyricists
such as Bert Kalmar and Edgar Leslie. Among the songs he wrote with Kalmar and/or
Leslie are: Moonlight on the Rhine, In The Land of Harmony and
The Ghost of the Violin.From the end of the first World War till 1930,
Snyder continued writing songs with other talented lyricists.
In 1930, Ted Snyder retired from the songwriting business, settled in Hollywood,
CA., and went into the restaurant business. He died in Hollywood. He is a member
of the Songwriters' Hall of Fame.
(Adapted from kinkle, pp 1784-85)
Alfred Solman (1868 - 1937) Was one of Tin Pan
Alley's more prolific lyricists who collaborated with a number of composers.
In spite of his output, little biographical information is available for him.
His most successful work is probably his 1916 song, There's a Quaker Down
in Quaker Town. Other works from his pen include; The Bird On Nellie's
Hat, 1906; Why Did You Make Me Care, 1912; In the Sweet Long Ago,
1916; The Heart You Lost in Maryland, You'll Find in Tennessee, 1907;
My Lonely Lola Lo (In Hawaii), 1916, Clean
Hands and Tainted Gold (Scorch format) (1906) and In the Valley of the
George L. Spaulding was born December
26, 1864, at Newburgh, New York. He studied piano with local teachers. When
he was sixteen he moved to Brooklyn, where he studied harmony for a short time
with an organist of that city. Since that time he has been entirely self-taught.
For many years he was in the music publishing and selling business, first as
a music clerk, and then in partnership with others.
His first adventures in musical composition were in the form of popular songs.
Among these were the Volunteer Organist, Two Little Girls in Blue and others
which had very large sales at the time.
It was discovered, however, that he had a splendid talent for writing simple
pianoforte pieces with well defined melodies and effective harmony. These he
turned out in great number, among his most popular being: Sing, Robin, Sing
- Pretty Little Song Bird, Airy Fairies, Child's Good Night, Dollie's Dream,
June Roses, Just a Bunch of Flowers, Mountain Pink.
His Tunes and Rhymes for the Playroom, Souvenirs of the Masters, Well Known
Fables Set to Music are among the most widely used collections of easy pianoforte
pieces in book form. Two little operettas for children, A Day in Flowerdom and
The Isle of Jewels have placed Mr. Spaulding in the front rank among writers
of juvenile entertainment material. His wife, Jessica Moore, a talented poetess,
wrote many of his verses.
Mr. Spaulding's works have served an important purpose in juvenile education.
Fortunately they were of a nature and of a quantity which will make this felt
for many years to come. His elementary technical books have also made an interesting
place for themselves. (Biography
courtesy of Wikepedia, the free encyclopedia taken from an Etude magazine
article. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this article
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later
version published by the Free
Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts,
and with no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section
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Oley Speaks (b. June 28, 1874, Canal Winchester,
OH, d. Aug. 27, 1948, New York, N.Y.) As a young man, Speaks was a railway clerk
in the Columbus, Ohio station. He then decided to follow a career in music and
took lessons from such teachers as W. Macfarlane; Karl Dufft; Emma Thursby;
Armour Galloway; and Max Spicker. He became a baritone soloist in a Columbus
church, but in 1898, he settled in New York City. He was the baritone soloist
at the Church of the Divine Paternity until 1901, and from 1901 until 1906,
at the St. Thomas' Church. During this period, he also pursued a successful
career as a singer, touring the U.S.giving recitals and also appearing in oratorios.
He also wrote many 'art' songs, which for many years, were unsuccessful. His
first published song was "Thou Gazest at the Stars".
Speaks composed over 250 songs, among them; The Bells of Youth, Fuzzy Wuzzy,
When The Boys Come Home and Life's Twilight. His greatest successes, each selling
over a million copies of sheet music were On The Road To Mandalay, Morning (1910)
, lyric by Frank Stanton and his 1914 Sylvia, with lyric Clinton Scollard. Speaks
was one of those amazingly skilled composers who often wrote tunes at a single
sitting. His technique was to fully memorize the lyric, then piece together
a suitable melody while sitting at the piano, improvising. From 1924 until 1943,
he was the director of ASCAP. He declined re-nomination due to ill health. Speaks
died in 1948, age 74.
Richard Stahl seemed to have flourished from
about 1881 to 1900 or so for that is the only period from which I can find works
he published. None of his biographical information seems available through our
library and the nest. Here are a few of the woks he published; President
James A. Garfield's Grand Inauguration March (1881), Lillian Russell
Waltz (1883), I've Spent My Last Dime (1883), The Pretty Girl
Across the Street (1893), My First and Only Love. Song (1896) and
Mary Jane Marie (1897).
Anthony J. Stastny Born in Czechoslovakia, he
emmigrated to the US sometime before 1905. Stastny was a respected composer
and music publisher.He and his publishing company were originally located in
Cleveland where he used and published his name the original Czech way, "Stastny";
In 1918 he he relocated to New York City, and adopted the spelling "Stasny."
He personally wrote a number of popular songs and piano solo works and his publishing
house was instrumental in the publication of many popular songs from circa 1905
to well into the 1920's. Among his personal compositions are; High Stepper
March & Two Step (1907); Dance Of The Moon Birds (1911); An
Arabian Fantasy (1923) and Don't Waste Your Tears Over Me (1923).
B. Sterling (b. 1874, New York City, d. 1955, Stamford,
CT) is perhaps one of the greatest American popular song writers from the period.
His most lasting partnership was with the great Harry Von Tilzer but he wrote
numerous songs in collaboration with other composers such as Lange. Lange was
a successful song composer for many years and went on to write motion picture
scores culminating in his Oscar nominations in 1943 and 1944 for his songs The
Woman in the Window and Casanova Brown.
Strauss (1870 - 1954) was born in Austria, and
a pupil of Max Bruch in Berlin, Oscar Straus followed the advice of Johann Strauss,
Jr., who told him to gain experience by conducting in provincial theatres. In
Berlin he won some fame in the Überbrettl cabaret, for which Schoenberg
also wrote. Returning to Vienna at the turn of the century, he began to write
operetta in a series of works that rivalled in popularity those of Lehár.
In 1939 he moved to Paris and then to New York and Hollywood, returning after
the war to Bad Ischl, (Austria) where he died in 1954. Interestingly, though
most of his life was lived in Europe,he found his most fame in America. He wrote
a number of successful Broadway shows after the success of the song My Hero
in the comic opera The Chocolate Soldier in 1909. His most famous individual
songs were My Hero
(Scorch format) and While Hearts Are Singing in 1931. Strauss also
enoyed a career that included writing scores for a number of films in America
and Europe. Among his film scores were; Married in Hollywood (1930),
The Smiling Lieutenant (1931), One Hour With You (1932) and Make
A Wish (1937). Some of his other musicals were; My Lady's Glove (1917),
The Last Waltz (1921), A Wonderful Night (1929) and The Three
Waltzes in (1938). Straus was brother to the famous Isidor Straus, and his
wife, who, refusing to be parted, went down to their death together when the
Titanic foundered. On that occasion, Strauss was inundated with messages of
sympathy from, among others, Among the first to send messages were Teddy Roosevelt
and Mrs. Roosevelt, Mrs. Grover Cleveland, President Finley of New York University
and Mrs. Finley and Mr. and Mrs. Andrew D. White.
John Stromberg (b. 1853, New York City - d.
1902, New York) was a popular composer during the 1890's and worked almost exclusively
with lyricist Edgar Smith. Together they wrote a number ofshows for Webber and
Fields stage works including, The Geezer (1896), The Glad Hand
(1897) Hurley-Burley (1898) and Whirl-i-gig (1899). Famed performer
Lillian Russell introduced several of his songs in that 1899 production including
When Chloe Sings A Song. Stromberg teamed up with Harry B. Smith to write
several popular songs including, I'm Making A Bid for Popularity (1899),
The Kissing Bug (1899), My Josephine (1899) and De Cake Walk
Queen (1900). Unfortunately, little of Stombergs music is heard today and
none seems to have made it into the lasting hit category. Stromberg died by
his own hand in 1902. That same year, after his death, Russell introduced his
previously unperformed song Come Down, Ma Evenin' Star in a performance
Mrs. M. D. (Marion Dix) Sullivan, (1802 - 1860) A native of New Hampshire. She was a sister of the distinguished soldier and statesman General John A. Dix, of New York, and of that noble philanthropist Dorothy L. Dix. Oddly considering her importance as a groundbreaking woman composer in America, very little seems to have been preserved about her life (an unfortunate common situation with female composers before the current period.)
Fred C. Swan is an elusive persona but we did find
that Swan wrote a number of other songs, among them are Perhaps (1919),
Rose Of My Dreams (1919), There's No Friends Like The Old Friends
(date unkn.) and I'm In Love With The Rose Of My Dreams (date unkn.).
Clearly Swan was fixated with roses himself for 60% of his songs revolved around
the rose theme.
Tanguay (1878-1947), was one of the silent film era's
hottest stars. She began her career as a vaudeville entertainer and was a headliner
of the caliber of Nora Bayes & W.C. Fields. There was a movie made about
her life titled The I Don't care Girl starring Mitzi Gaynor, Oscar Levant,
and David Wayne in which three men recount the life of Eva Tanguay. I've never
seen the film, but am going to have to find it to learn more about this beautiful
Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892) was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom and remains one of the most popular English poets. Tennyson was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire, a rector's son and fourth of 12 children. He was one of the descendants of King Edward III of England. Reportedly, "the pedigree of his grandfather, George Tennyson, is traced back to the middle-class line of the Tennysons, and through Elizabeth Clayton ten generations back to Edmund, Duke of Somerset, and farther back to Edward III. Tennyson excelled at penning short lyrics, including "In the valley of Cauteretz", "Break, break, break", "The Charge of the Light Brigade", "Tears, idle tears" and "Crossing the Bar". Much of his verse was based on classical mythological themes, although In Memoriam A.H.H. was written to commemorate his best friend Arthur Hallam, a fellow poet and classmate at Trinity College, Cambridge, who was engaged to Tennyson's sister, but died from a cerebral hemorrhage before they were married. Tennyson also wrote some notable blank verse including Idylls of the King, Ulysses, and Tithonus. During his career, Tennyson attempted drama, but his plays enjoyed little success in his lifetime. Tennyson wrote a number of phrases that have become commonplaces of the English language, including: "nature, red in tooth and claw", "better to have loved and lost", "Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die", and "My strength is as the strength of ten, / Because my heart is pure". He is the second most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare!
Much of his verse has been used as the basis for lyrics in a number of popular songs including The May Queen, an 1848 song that is based on his poem of the same title. (Partly extracted from Wikipedia and used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.)
Dorothy Terriss (1890 - 1953) also often known
as Theodora Morse, was born in White Plains New York in 1890. There are
conflicting reports in several sources regarding her name. Probably the most
reliable source; American Women Songwriters by Virginia Grattan states she was
born Terris. Other sources say Terris was a pseudonym. Those sources offer no
other indication of her maiden name so I'm inclined to believe Grattan's version.
Terris later married Theodore Morse and wrote under the name of Theodora Morse.
She also wrote using the name Dolly Morse and D.A. Esrom (Morse backwards).
She was one of American popular music's finest lyricists and contributed to
many of her husband's songs. Terriss & Morse were one of the earliest Tin
Pan Alley husband-wife songwriting teams. Theodora not only wrote with her husband,
but also collaborated with other composers. Though her work helped with her
husband's success, her most successful songs were not with her husband, but
with others. Some of those successes were: Siboney, with music by Ernesto Leucuona
and her most famous work, Three
O'Clock in the Morning, (Scorch format) with Julian Robeldo and the
beautiful waltz song, Wonderful One in collaboration with jazz great,
Paul Whiteman. Terriss also wrote many Hawaiian themed songs and was the lyricist
for the great 1917 Morse song, Hail, Hail The Gang's All Here. In April
of 2003, I heard from one of Theodora's relatives, Teddy Furst Martin who is
Morse's granddaughter. Martin offered a few corrections that are very helpful.
Martin tells us that Morse was actually born in Brooklyn, NY in 1883, not 1890,
and thather maiden name was Alfreda Theodora Strandberg. She married Theodore
Morse on March 7, 1907. Ms. Martin said that "Dada", as she called
her, was quite a strong and independent woman and a role model for her. Martin
lived with Morse from 1942 till 1950.
J.(John) R. Thomas (1829 - 1896)Born in South Wales, Thomas was a celebrated baritone and composer. He first came to America with the Sequin English Opera Company and became interetested in the music of America that was developing. He sag with Bryant's Minstrels and settled in New York. He composed a great many songs including; She was a Beauteous Flower (1858), Annie of the Vale (1852), Goodbye, Farewell (1853), Beautiful Isle of the Sea (1860), The Patriot Flag (1861), Rose of Killarney (1876) and Golden Hours (1875). Thomas died in 1896 in his adopted New York City.
James Thornton (1861 - 1938) Born in Liverpool,
England, Thornton came to America early in life where he made his first mark
in entertainment as a part of a Vaudeville team comprised of himself, his wife
Bonnie (born Lizzie Cox) and Charlie Lawlor. Thornton wrote the songs for the
group and Bonnie was the primary songstress who plugged his songs. Thornton
was an alcoholic who would squander their money so Bonnie always collected his
pay at the stage door before James could get his hands on it. Thornton's most
famous and lasting hit was When You Were Sweet Sixteen written in 1898.
Aside from writing words and music for a couple of stage productions, Thornton's
other songs of note were; My Sweetheart's The Man In The Moon (1898),
Maggie Mooney (1894), On The Benches In The Park (1896), It
Don't Seem Like The Same Old Smile (1896) and There's A Little Star Shining
For You in 1897.
Theodore Moses Tobiani (b. Hamburg, Germany,
1855 - d. New York, 1933) though born in Germany, became a notable American
composer and arranger. He was an accomplished violinist who was performing in
concert by age ten. His family brought him to the USA when he was a child but
he later returned to Europe to futher his musical education. In 1870 he returned
to the US and worked as a composer and performer in various theaters in Philadelphia.
Tobiani composed over 550 works and made over 4500 arrangements! Many of his
works were arranged or published under the pseudonyms Florence Reed, Andrew
Herman and Theodore Moses. Of all his works, Hearts
and Flowers (Scorch format) is is only enduring original popular song
composition however, his band arrangements continue to be played at traditional
William Tracey wrote or co-wrote a number of big
hit songs, including , It's a Shame That We Have to Grow Old with Nat
Vincent and Dave Berg in 1917, It's Too Late Now with Albert Von Tilzer
in 1914, Naughty! Naughty! Naughty!, also with Nat Vincent and Joe Goodwin
in 1916. His most lasting hit was Them There Eyes with Maceo Pinkard
and Doris Tauber in 1930 a song made famous by Billie Holliday. In spite of
what appears to be a healthy output and at least one huge hit, little else seems
to have been documented about Mr. Tracey's life.
Al. Trahern, published a number of songs other
than Lights of Home including Topsy's in Town with Warner Crosby in
1899 and In Sunny Africa with Ted S. Barron in 1902. In spite of that,
we still are unable to find out much else about his life
Van Alstyne (b. Chicago, Ill 1882 - d. Chicago,
1951) A musical prodigy, he played the organ at the Methodist Church in Marengo,
Illinois when only seven! Schooled in the public school system in Chicago and
at Cornell College in Iowa, he won a scholarship to the Chicago Musical College.
After graduation, he toured as a pianist and director of stage shows and performed
in vaudeville. In 1902 he went to New York and worked as a staff pianist for
a publisher in Tin
Pan Alley and began to devote himself to writing songs teamed with Harry
Williams as his lyricist. The teams first success came in 1903 with Navajo,
one of the earliest commercial songs to exploit Indian themes. They wrote two
Songs"; Cheyenne in 1906 and San Antonio in 1907.
In 1905 they produced one of the greatest songs of that early decade, In
The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree which sold several million copies. For
several years, the team cranked out hit after hit and music for two Broadway
musicals, A Broken Doll in 1909 and Girlies in 1910.
Von Tilzer ( nee Albert Gumm, b. 1878, Indianapolis
- d. 1956, Los Angeles)was the brother of the famous Harry Von Tilzer.( 1872
- 1946) Albert, was one of five children, and found a career in music, more
or less following his older brother Harry. It was Harry who decided to change
his name to the more "gussied
up" Von Tilzer (their mother's maiden name was Tilzer and Harry added the
"Von" to make it more impressive) and Albert followed to capitalize
on Harry's success.
Though Albert followed his brother in many ways, he
was definitely a fine composer in his own right. He started his career as a
plugger in 1899 and also worked for his brother's firm, von Tilzer Music Publishers.
In 1900 he wrote The Absent Minded Beggar Waltz, a rather unauspicious
start. He went on to write hundreds of songs, many of them hits at that time
and several of which are enduring hits still heard today.
Among his greatest works are I'll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time,
(1920), Take Me Out To The Ball Game (1908) and the present, Put
Your Arms Around me Honey.
Von Tilzer (b. July 8, 1872, Detroit, MI, d. Jan.
10. 1946, New York, NY nee: Harry Gumm.) Harry, one of five children, was to
find a career in music as did his younger brother Albert. When still a child,
his family moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where his father acquired a shoe
store. A theatrical company gave performances in the loft above the store, and
that's where Harry learned to love show business. His career really started
in 1886 when, at age 14, he ran away from home and joined the Cole Brothers
Circus. By 1887, he was playing piano, composing songs, and acting in a traveling
repertory company. He changed his name at that time. His mother's maiden name
was Tilzer, and he 'gussied' it up by adding the 'Von'. Thereafter he would
be called Harry Von Tilzer, and later his younger brother Albert would adopt
the name also. Harry met Lottie Gilson when the burlesque troupe with which
he was working reached Chicago. The popular vaudevillian took an interest, and
induced him to go to New York. In 1892, Harry, working as a groom on a trainload
of horses, arrived in New York, with just $1.65 in his pocket. He rented a room
near the Brooklyn Bridge and became a $15.00 per week saloon pianist. He left
New York briefly to work in a traveling medicine show, but returned to again
work in saloons and later as a vaudevillian in a 'Dutch' act with George Sidney.
At this time, Harry was writing songs, literally hundreds of songs that were
never published. He would sell them outright to other entertainers for $2.00
each. But the tide was about to turn for Harry. One of his songs was published,
My Old New Hampshire Home, lyric by Andrew B. Sterling. William C.
Dunn, owner of a small print shop, purchased it outright for $15.00, and issued
it in 1898. It was a hit that sold more than 2 million copies. In 1899, three
more of Von Tilzer's songs were published: I'd Leave My Happy Home for You,
lyric by Will A. Heelan I Wonder If She's Waiting, lyric by Andrew
B. Sterling Where The Sweet Magnolias Grow. The success of My Old
New Hampshire Home prompted Maurice Shapiro of Shapiro-Bernstein Music
Publishers to make Von Tilzer a partner, and the firm was renamed 'Shapiro,
Bernstein and Von Tilzer'. Harry then wrote his next big hit in 1900, A
Bird In A Gilded Cage (Sibelius scorch format). In 1902, Von Tilzer
quit the partnership and formed his own firm 'Harry Von Tilzer Music Company'.
Henry Tucker (1826 - 1882)
Not much is known about Tucker however one web site (pdmusic.org) states that he sang bass in the choir of St. John's Chapel on Varick Street, New York City in 1861. During 1850 to 1882 he wrote approximately 121 songs and one cantata, Joseph in Egypt, in 1870. His most popular songs were Weeping Sad and Lonely, or, When This Cruel War Is Over (1863), Jeff in Petticoats (1865), and Sweet Genevieve (1869).
Roy Turk was born in New York City on September
20, 1892. He attended City College, and during World War I he served in the
United States Navy. After the war, be began writing song lyrics, including special
material for such successful vaudeville performers as Rock & White, Nora
Bayes and Sophie Tucker. He then became a staff writer for music publishers
on Tin Pan Alley, and later went to Hollywood where he wrote song lyrics for
Among his collaborators were Harry Akst, George Meyer, Charles Tobias, Arthur
Johnston, Maceo Pinkard, and J. Russel Robinson. From 1928 through 1933, he
worked especially closely with Fred Ahlert, with whom he had many popular successes.
Probably his best known song is Mean To Me, written in 1928 to music
by Ahlert, which has become a jazz standard, memorably recorded by Billie Holiday
Other successes include I'll Get By (1928), Walkin' My Baby Back
Home (1931), I Don't Know Why (I Love You Like Do) (1931), Love,
You Funny Thing (1932), Beale Street Mama (1932) and Aggravatin'
Poppa (1933) which was a 1933 hit for Sophie T ucker. With additional lyrics
by Bing Crosby and music by Fred Ahlert, Where The Blue Of The Night Meets
The Gold Of The Day (1931) became famous as Bing Crosby's theme song.
Roy Turk died in Hollywood, California on November 30, 1934, However, his songs
have proven to be timeless - in 1960, Colonel Parker convinced Elvis Presley
to record a song written in 1927 by Roy Turk and Lou Handman. The song was Are
You Lonesome Tonight and became one of Presley's greatest hits.
( From the songwriter's Hall
of Fame biography of Roy Turk)
Barclay Walker, 1859-1927, an Indiana born composer
also collaborated with his daughter, Mary Josephine (Walker) Wolff. to write
several other songs, however Long Boy is his most lasting work.
Oliver G. Wallace (1887 - 1963) was born
in England and his family moved to Canada, probably sometime before 1900. He
began his musical career as a pianist in Vaudeville and when a teenager, he
moved to Washington state and worked for a while as pianist in theaters accompanying
silent films. In 1908 he became the first theater organist at the Dream Theater
in Seattle. During this period he began writing music and his first song, Hindustan
became a big hit in 1913. In the 30's Wallace moved to Hollywood where he began
writing scores for films at Columbia and Universal. In 1936 he joined the Disney
Studio where he began writing scores for animated films. His first was for a
Mickey Mouse short, Mickey's Amateurs. He wrote music at Disney till 1956 having
completed over 150 scores for them. He was nominated for several Academy Awards
for his work at Disney. Perhaps his most talked about work was the 1942 song,
Der Fuhrer's Face, written for a Donald Duck feature, it became a huge
hit in 1943. Some of the more notable works by him including his most remembered
work, Der Fuhrer's Face (1942), Louisiana (1920), Hindustan
(1913), Along the Way To Damascus (1919) and Victory March (1942).
William Vincent Wallace (March 11, 1812 - October 12, 1865) Wallace was born at Colbeck Street, Waterford, Ireland. Both parents were Irish, his father, of County Mayo, was a regimental bandmaster. Wallace learned to play several instruments as a boy, became a leading violinist in Dublin and a fine pianist. Under the tuition of his father he early wrote pieces for the bands and orchestras of his native area. At the age of 18 he was organist of the Thurles Roman Catholic Cathedral and taught piano at the Ursuline Convent. He fell in love with a pupil, Isabella Kelly, whose father consented to their marriage in 1831 on condition that Wallace became a Roman Catholic and took the name of Vincent.
Wallace, with his wife and infant son, his sister Elisabeth, a soprano, and his brother Wellington, a flautist, emigrated in 1835 to Australia and gave family concerts. The family went to Sydney in 1836 and opened the first Australian music school.
Sometime after this, Wallace separated from his wife and began a roving career. Wallace claimed that from Australia he went to New Zealand, made a whaling-voyage in the South seas, visited most of the interior provinces of India and spent some time in tiger-hunting, and finally visited Chile, Peru and Argentina, giving concerts in the large cities of those countries. It is suspected that many of these stories were manufactured or embellished by Wallace. In 1841 Wallace conducted Italian opera in Mexico, and in the early 1840s he made a successful tour of the United States and helped to found the New York Philharmonic Society.
He returned to London in 1845 and made various appearances as a pianist. In November of that year, his opera Maritana was performed at Drury Lane with great success and was later presented in Vienna, at the Covent Garden and in Australia. Wallace's sister, Elisabeth, appeared at Covent Garden in the title role in 1848. Maritana was followed by Matilda of Hungary (1847), Lurline (1860), The Amber Witch (1861), Love's Triumph (1862) and The Desert Flower (1863) . He also published a number of compositions for the piano.
In 1850, Wallace became an American citizen after a marriage in New York with Helen Stoepel, a pianist. In later years he became almost blind, and he died in poor circumstances at the Château de Bagen, Sauveterre de Comminges, near Barbazon, Haute Garonne, France on 12 October 1865 leaving a widow and two children; he was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, London.(Extracted from Wikipedia and used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)
Anton Wallerstein, (1813-1892)
Wallerstein was a German violinist who also was a writer of popular dance music. He also wrote a number of songs that were popular at the time in Germany. Born in Dresden, he appeared as a violinist at an early age. It was said that his playing was very expressive however he became much more well known for his compositions. At sixteen he was a member of the Court band in Dresden and later went to Hanover to play in the Court band there. He resigned from that post in 1841. Sometime before that date he had begun composing dances and songs and contemporary sources say that he composed nearly 300 dances in addition to numerous songs and variations for violin and orchestra. His dance music "appealed to all grades of society" and it is said his music attained great popularity abroad as well as in Germany. (From The American History and Encyclopedia of Music, Vol. 2, 1908)
J. Brandon Walsh is another songwriter who has
left us with a sunstantial number of published works but for whom little can
be found about his life. Among his published songs are: Irish Tango (1914),
Happy Days (1913), When It's Springtime In Virginia, (1913), Telephone
For Me (1914), Forest Queen (1913), Harmony Bay (1914) and
Charles B. Ward ( 1865 - 1917) was born in London
and composed at least one other enduring hit during his life, Strike Up The
Band, also in 1895. He died in New York in 1917. I've been unable to find any
information about the lyricist, John F. Palmer.
Frederic Edward Weatherly (1848-1929), was
a songwriter and in his later years, a radio entertainer. Born in Portishead,
Somersetshire in England he studied law at Braesnose College and was a barrister
of the Inner Temple in 1887. Weatherly also wrote a number of books including
children's books and several quite serious titles including Questions in
Logic, Progressive and General; The Rudiments of Logic, Inductive and
Deductive and Musical and Dramatic Copyright. He also was a prolific
poet, which was the source of his song lyric talent as well.
Weatherly wrote hundreds of songs among them few if any that have survived
the decades since like Danny Boy has. Among his "lost works"
are; In Sweet September, The Deathless Army, The Midshipmate
and Polly. He also wrote other works that have survived the ages and
are still well known including London Bridge, and When We Were
Old and Gray. Little noticed today, Weatherly ranks at the top of the list
of 19th and early twentieth century songwriters in terms of output having produced
thousands of songs.
According to Michael R. Turner and Antony Miall in The Edwardian Song-Book:
Drawing-Room Ballads 1900-1914, Methuen, London, 1982
According to his Brasenose biography, Weatherly came to Brasenose College in Oxford,
England from Hereford Cathedral School in 1867, and was awarded a B.A. in Classics
in 1871. In 1868 he achieved a certain fame on, or in, the river. The Brasenose
IV had practised for Henley Regatta without a cox; on being informed that they
must carry one they decided to do so, but for him to jump overboard immediately
after the beginning of the race. Weatherly volunteered to take the dive and the
crew went on to win the race; although subsequently disqualified, they had established
a precedent from which the Coxswainless Fours were to develop.
The most prolific poet of the Edwardianand for that
matter Victorian and Georgianballad, the genial and indefatiguable Fred
E. (Frederick Edward) Weatherly (1848-1929) was virtually a one-man song factory.
Seven of his lyrics appear in this book, but he wrote thousands, of which
at least fifteen hundred were published, with music by dozens of composers
who vied to get their hands on his verses.
The law was as much a love
as poetry, and he studied and was called to the Bar at the age of thirty-nine,
thereafter enjoying a comfortable career on the Western Circuit, often appearing
in criminal cases, almost invariably for the defence. According to his own
account, in court he was remarkably keen-witted and effective. Songs poured
from him, he translated opera (including Cav. and Pag.) and he published quantities
of verse and children's books. He revelled in his considerable celebrity.
A little man physically, he had, as a friend put it, 'a blithe and tender
soul'. He may have been self-satisfied but he was much loved and was certainly
no fool, cheerfully dismissing his facility as a lyricist as no safe ticket
to Parnassus. His most commercially successful ballad was 'Roses of Picardy'
which became one of the great popular songs of the Great War, and it made
its writer a small fortune.
Weatherly earned his living first as a coach in Oxford and subsequently at the
Bar, but he is best known as a songwriter.(information about Weatherly's
Brasenose association courtesy Brasenose
Pete Wendling (b. June 6, 1888, d. April 1974)
Wendling was one of the true Tin Pan Alley type of musicians, a composer and
lyricist. Between the years 1919 to 1929, he made a great many piano rolls,
for the player pianos that were then in vogue. Over his career, he produced
a huge number of songs, written with a great many different collaborators. Among
his hits are; He Loves It (1922), Red Lips, Kiss My Blues Away, Yaka
Hula, Hickey Doola (MIDI), I'm Growing Fonder of You, Oh
What A Pal Was Mary (MIDI), How Long Has This Been Going On, and Crying
Myself To Sleep. (adapted from a biography at the tunesmiths
Percy Wenrich. (b. Jan. 23, 1887, Joplin, MO,
d. 1952, NYC). Wenrich wrote a number of hit songs many of which were of the
rag genre (see The Smiler in our catalog for one of his best). Wenrich,
came from a musical family. His mother taught him to play the organ and the
piano while he was still a child. A little later, he would write melodies and
his father would write the lyrics. Often, his songs were heard at conventions
and political rallies. When he was 21 years old, he enrolled in the Chicago
Music College, and while there had two of his songs published by a Chicago publisher;
Ashy Africa and Just Because I'm From Missouri" Among his
biggest hits were: 1909, Put On Your Old
Gray Bonnet( Scorch format), lyric Stanley Murphy, 1912 Moonlight
Bay (Scorch format), lyric by Edward Madden, 1914 When
You Wore A Tulip, (Scorch format) lyric by Jack Mahoney. In 1914 he
scored the Broadway show Crinoline Girl and in 1921 the Broadway show
The Right Girl, 1926 the Broadway show Castles in the Air and
in 1930 scored the Broadway show Who Cares?. He was married
to the famous performer, Dolly Connelly and performed with her in vaudeville.
For more information, see our complete
biography of Wenrich from our "In Search Of" series as well as
our feature on his music published in September
Richard Whately (1787-1863) an Anglican priest
and author. Educated at Oriel College, Oxford, he ultimately rose to become
Bishop of Dublin in 1831. He wrote a number of hymns as well as books on non
religeous topics including Elements of Logic, in 1826.
Guy Harris "Doc" White (April 9, 1879
- February 19, 1969) was an American left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball.
He played for two teams, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago White Sox,
during his career which lasted from 1901 to 1913. Born in Washington, D.C.,
"Doc" White was a graduate of a dental school in Georgetown which
explains the "Doc" nickname. He led the league in ERA in 1906 with
1.52 and wins in 1907 with 27. White died at age 89 in Silver Spring, Maryland,
just 8 months after witnessing Don Drysdale surpass his record of 45 consecutive
scoreless innings on June 4, 1968. (From Wikipedia)
Harry Williams (b. 1879, Minn. - d. 1922, Calif.)
Williams is considered an important early Tin Pan Alley lyricist who collaborated
with several of the greatest composers of the time including Niel Moret, Jean
Schwartz and most frequently with Egbert Van Alstyne. He also collaborated on
several Broadway scores including A Yankee Circus On Mars (1905), Girlies
(1910) and A Broken Idol (1909). He began his musical industry career
in vaudeville with Van Alstyne and then they began writing songs together. Williams
formed his own publishing company and also became a director of silent movies
in 1914. Among his most important and lasting hits are; In The Shade Of The
Old Apple Tree, Goodnight Ladies, It's A Long Way To Tipperary
and Mickey.(Scorch format) (Essential
facts from Kinkle, V. 3, p. 1960)
W. R. Williams I've found no biographical information
on Williams which is a bit of a puzzle for he was lyricist for quite a few popular
songs of the period. He collaborated with some of the best composers such as
Walter Blaufuss and George Cobb as lyricist but most of his work was done with
Will Rossiter (the publisher) as composer. Would
You Care If We Were Parted is the only work I've found where he also
wrote the music. Among his other credits are: Ev'ry Day (1918), Oh!
You Georgia Rose (1912), Pretty Little Maid of Cherokee (1909), You're
All I Had (1913), I'd Love To Live In Loveland With A Girl Like You (1910)
and Don't You Remember The Time? (1919).
Charles Albert White was born in Boston in 1830
and died there in 1892. Clearly one of America's earliest popular music composers,
White also was an important publisher, forming the White-Smith Publishing Company
with W. Frank Smith and John F. Perry in Boston around 1867. Besides his wonderful
children's duet, Two Little
Birds Are We (Scorch format) in 1881, White wrote The Widow in the
Cottage by the Seashore (1868), Come Birdie (1870), I'se Gwine
Back To Dixie, The President Cleveland March (1883) and Marguerite
in 1883, and Please Sell No More Drink To My Father (Scorch format)
(1884) . (Claghorn, p. 470)
Whiting (b. 1891, Peoria, IL, d. 1938 Beverly Hills,
CA) is one of America's greatest songwriters. He taught himself the piano and
music theory and talked his father into publishing his first songs.He worked
for Jerome Remick for a time and in 1912 became manager of Remick's Detroit
office. He wrote many, many of the classic American songs we still know today.
Till We Meet Again
(Scorch format) is one of his earlier works. In 1919 he moved to New York where
he wrote songs for musicals.Among his best known songs from he 20's is the great
Breezin' Along With The Breeze and Sleepy Time Gal. Later
hits included Beyond The Blue Horizon and The Good Ship Lollipop.
He was the father of the great popular singers Margaret and Barbara Whiting.
His melodies have been described as having a graceful and effortless style.
Charles Willeby (1865 - ??) An Englishman, his
songs were popular during the early years of this century; they include titles
like Little pilgrim (A child's fancy), published 1907; Crossing
the Bar, The Fortune Hunter, Summer Rain, Autumn Days, The Sea Gipsy,
Coming Home and Flower Fetters plus the cycles Bow Bells:
Five London Silhouettes and the (three) Songs of the Madonna.
Willeby was also a music critic and writer and wrote a biographical work about
Gilbert & Sullivan circa 1893. In his notes for that work, he commented
about one of their less performed works, The Sorcerer and said; "the style
of the entertainment was so novel, that people did not understand it at first,
and the opera was only fairly successful." Willeby also wrote a Chopin
biography, FredericFrancois Chopin, published in Edinburgh, 1902. A
broadly talented man, Willeby also dabbled in Ragtime, producing at least one
Ragtime work, his 1905 The Silver Lining using a poem by James Whitcomb
Septimus Winner (1827 - 1902)
Winner was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the seventh child to Joseph E. Winner (an instrument maker specializing in violins) and wife Mary Ann. Mary Ann Winner was a relative of Nathaniel Hawthorne, hence Septimus' use of the Hawthorne name as part of his pseudonym Alice Hawthorne. He also used other pseudonymns during his career, including Mark Mason, Percy Guyer, and Paul Stenton.
Winner attended Philadelphia Central High School. Although largely self-taught in the area of music, he did take lessons from Leopold Meignen around 1853, but by that time he was already an established instrumental teacher, and performed locally with various ensembles.
From around 1845 to 1854, Septimus Winner partnered with his brother Joseph Eastburn Winner (1837 - 1918) as music publishers. Septimus continued in the business with various partners and names up until 1902.
Winner was especially popular for his ballads published under the pseudonym of Alice Hawthorne, which became known generically as "Hawthorne's Ballads". His brother was also a composer, publishing under the alias Eastburn. Septimus Winner was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.
In addition to composing popular songs, Winner also produced more than 200 instruction method books for more than twenty-three instruments. He wrote more than 1,500 easy arrangements for various instruments and almost 2,000 arrangements for violin and piano. The most popular Septimus Winner songs include:"How Sweet Are the Roses" (1850), "I Set My Heart Upon a Flower" (1854), "What Is Home Without a Mother" (1854), "Listen to the Mockingbird" (Scorch version) (1855), "Abraham's Daughter" or "Raw Recruits" (1861), "Der Deitcher's Dog" (1864), "Ellie Rhee" or "Carry Me Back to Tennessee" (1865), "What Care I?" (1866), "Whispering Hope" (1868), "Ten Little Indians" (originally "Ten Little Niggers") (1868), "Come Where the Woodbine Twineth" (1870) and "Love Once Gone Is Lost Forever" (1870) (From Wikipedia)
J. Wood as with far too many performers and songwriters
of the times is lost to us, at least to me. I'm unable to find any information
about him and this one song ( You're The Brightest Star Of All My Dreams
)seems to be the only one to his credit that has survived. The song is not mentioned
in any of our references, nor is he. His photo is inset on the cover.
Leo Wood (1882–1929) Is best remembered as the songwriter of the 1920’s hit Somebody Stole My Gal. Wood wrote lyrics for many of the top songwriters of the day, including Theodore F. Morse. Other popular songs written by Leo Wood include the Paul Whiteman jazz standard "ang Wang Blues, "Runnin' Wild, Play that 'Song of India' Again, a no.1 hit for 5 weeks for Paul Whiteman in 1921, and Down Among The Sheltering Palms.
Leo Wood died in New York City. (From Wikipedia)
Amy Woodforde-Finden (1860-1919) was born
Amelia Ward in Valparaiso, Chile, where her American father was British Consul.
Later the family settled in South Kensington, after which Amy travelled in Kashmir
and married a lieutenant-colonel who had served with Colonel Nicolson. Perhaps
surprisingly, she experienced difficulty getting her songs published, until
the singer Hamilton Earle took them up. Among artists who have recorded the
Kashmiri Song, the most unlikely is perhaps Rudolph Valentino in
his only recording.(from CD liner notes where this song as well as I'll Sing
Thee Songs of Araby appears on Hyperion More
Songs My Father Taught Me )
Clay Work was born in 1832 in Middletown, CT and died
in 1884 in Hartford. His family moved to Illinois when he was still a child
and he was educated there. The family later returned to Connecticutr and young
Henry was apprenticed to a printer. He studied music and wrote verse on his
own and soon began to write songs, both the music and lyrics. He was inspired
by the Civil War to write Marching Through Georgia, Wake, Babylon is Falling and other songs of the war that became popular. During the 1870's he wrote a
number of temperance songs that were popular. He also was known for sentimental
songs such as The Ship That Never Returned and wrote the famous, My
Grandfather's Clock (1876, his last successful song). A man of many talents,
Work was also an inventor and patented a rotary engine, a knitting machine and
a walking doll. He lost his personal fortune by investing in a fruit farm that
failed and lived in New York before returning to Connecticut before his death.
His primary publishing associations were with Root and Cady and
Cody. An interesting anecdote about his printer background is that he often
composed by typesetting the music as he composed and completely bypassed the
usual steps of a hand manuscript or even trying his music on the piano first!
Considered a first rate melodist and his songs had a nearly universal appeal.
Though his song Come Home Father is somber, and he was an intense supporter of causes,
Work also had a playful side and his 1862, Grafted Into The Army was and still
is a funny song and it has contiued in the repertoire for over 100 years. Much
of his music stands on its own against that of Stephen Foster and though less
well known today, Work is probably one of only a few of the truly original American
popular song composers to invent American popular music style and who influenced
the following generations of songwriters.
Wrighton, W. T. (William Thomas), 1816-1880
I've found little about Wrighton but it appears he was a native of England and we do know he wrote quite a few songs including "The Dearest Spot." Other songs attributed to him are; Bright Star of Eve, Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still (1870), The Postman's Knock, O Chide Not My Heart and many others. There is some artwork also attributed to Wrighton however I cannot confirm this aspect of his talents. According to one source, Wrighton also died in England so his stay in America may have been brief, if ever.
Yellen (b. 1892, Poland, d. 1991) Jack was brought
to the US in 1897 and was a songwriter and reporter for the Buffalo (NY) Courier
in his early years. Yellen's best known songs today are probably his 1932 work,
Happy Days Are Here Again, used in Franklin D. Roosevelt's Presidential
campaign and Ain't Sge Sweet from 1927. Yellen, like many writers of the times,
also founded a publishing house with his long time collaborator Milton Ager
and Borenstein. After graduating with Honors from the University of Michigan
in 1913 Jack went to work for the Buffalo Courier as a sports writer.
His first collaborator on a song was George L. Cobb with whom Jack wrote a series
of Dixie songs including Are You From Dixie?, Alabama Jubilee
and All aboard for Dixieland. Besides his individual songs, Yellen was
a prolific writer of Broadway scores and his credits in this area include; What's
In A Name (1920), Rain Or Shine (1929), You Said It (19310 and Son O' Fun (1941).
Yellen also wrote motion picture screen plays and several novelty songs for
Sophie Tucker. His chief songwriting collaborator was Milton Ager but he also
worked with other greats including George L. Cobb, Lew Pollack, Harold Arlen
and Sammy Fain.
Vincent Millie Youmans (1898 - 1946) Youmans
was born in New York City on September 27, 1898.Youmans attended the Trinity
School in Mamaroneck, NY and Heathcote Hall in Rye New York. Originally, his
ambition was to become an engineer but then took a brief job in a Wall Street
brokerage firm. In 1914, he joined the United States Navel and served during
World War I. Returning to the States in 1918, Youmans began working on Tin Pan
Alley first as a song plugger for TB Harms Company and then as a rehearsal pianist
for famed composer Victor Herberts operettas.
Eventually, Youman began writing and publishing songs and achieved his own
success with several Broadway productions including Two Little Girls in Blue,
Wildflower, Mary Jane McKane, No, No, Nanette, Oh, Please!,
Hit the Deck, Rainbow, Great Day!, Smiles, Through the Years
and Take a Chance. He also wrote the film score to Flying Down to
Rio, one of the many Bing Crosby/Bob Hope "road" pictures. The
score included the Academy Award nominated song Carioca.
Youmans collaborated with the greatest songwriters on Broadway: Herbert Stothart,
Otto Harbach, Oscar Hammerstien II, Irving Caesar, Anne Caldwell, Leo Robin,
Clifford Grey, Billy Rose, Edward Eliscu, Edward Heyman, Harold Adamson, Mack
Gordon, BG De Sylva and Gus Kahn.
His extensive catalog holds many of the great standards from the period, most
notably Tea For Two, Through the Years, The Carioca and
More Than You Know!. Other hits include Wildflower, Dolly,
Bambalina, Tie a String Around Your Finger, No, No, Nanette,
I Want to Be Happy, Why, Oh Why, I Want a Man, The One Girl,
Who Am I?, Great Day, Oh, Me! Oh, My!, Without a Song, Time on My Hands, Rise
N Shine, Oh, How I Long to Belong to You, Orchids in the Moonlight
and Music Makes Me.
Vincent Youmans died in Denver Colorado on April 5, 1946. (
Biography courtesy of and © 2002-2005 The Songwriters Hall of Fame, permission
for use pending)
Joe Young (b. 1889, New York, N.
Y., d. 1939, New York, N. Y. )
Joe Young was most active from 1911 through the late 1930's. Joe began his career
working as a singer-songplugger for various music publishers. During WW1, he
entertained the U.S. Troops. Starting in 1916, he and co-lyricist Sam M. Lewis
worked as a team up until 1930. Among his earliest lyrics (without Lewis) included:
Don't Blame It All On Broadway; When The Angelus Was Ringing; Yaaka
Hula, Hickey Dula, (MIDI) written with Pete Wendling & Ray Goetz
and the great novelty song Where Did Robinson
Crusoe Go With Friday on Saturday Night? (MIDI) an Al Jolson favorite.
In 1930, Young and Lewis collaborated with composer Harry Warren on an early
talking motion picture Spring is Here. It was one of the Young and
Lewis team's last projects together. From 1930 on, Young mostly wrote lyrics
by himself and continued writing nearly to his death with his last known songs
published around 1935. Joe Young is a member of the Songwriters' Hall of Fame.
Henry Zeiler enjoyed an apparent
brief career as a published composer in that only a few of his works seem to
have made it to today's libraries. In 1903 he published My Lady Love Waltzes,
in 1904 he wrote a set of variations on Nearer My God To Thee and then
in 1908 he wrote and published Flight of the Air Ship. All of his works
are for piano solo.