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Kahn, Gus

  • LC89002698
  • Persoon
  • 1886-11-06 - 1941-10-08

Born in Koblenz, Germany on November 6, 1886, Gustav Gerson Kahn emigrated to America with his family when he was four; the family settled in Chicago in 1892. Gus completed grammar school where he demonstrated an ability to create rhymes and won an essay writing contest. He worked at various jobs including a stint as a pottery wrapper in a china factory while continuing to write lyrics. In 1909, Kahn collaborated with Grace LeBoy, a song composer for music publisher Joseph H. Remick whom he met on New Year’s Eve, 1908. Their collaboration of his lyrics and her melody resulted in Kahn’s first hit “Gee, I Wish I Had a Girl,” and the marriage of Kahn and LeBoy after an 8-year professional relationship. The marriage produced two children, Donald and Irene.

In 1932, Kahn moved his family from Chicago to Hollywood where he worked as a lyricist for MGM and RKO. With Vincent Youmans, Kahn wrote the score for Flying Down to Rio, the cinematic debut of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Before his untimely death in 1941, Kahn worked on numerous films including The Merry Widow, Naughty Marietta, and Girl of the Golden West. His last hit, “You Stepped Out of a Dream,” appeared in the 1941 movie Ziegfeld Girl.

Kahn worked with and befriended many of the top composers of the period including Walter Donaldson, Richard Whiting, and Harry Warren; his circle of friends also included actors and singers like Eddie Cantor and Al Jolson and bandleaders Guy Lombardo and Isham Jones. An avid golfer, Kahn was known to write lyrics while playing a course with Walter Donaldson. Al Jolson served as godfather to son Donald. Kahn served on the ASCAP Board of Directors from 1927 to 1930 and was admitted to the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 1970. His 32-year songwriting career produced approximately 800 published songs, many of which remain standards today.

Harris, Phil

  • LC80146364
  • Persoon
  • 1904-01-24 - 1995-08-11

Faye, Alice

  • LC50003081
  • Persoon
  • 1915-05-05 - 1998-05-09

Zaret, Hy

  • LC96028707
  • Persoon
  • 1907-08-21 - 2007-07-02

Hy Zaret (August 21, 1907 – July 2, 2007) was born Hyman Harry Zaritsky in New York City to Max and Dora Zaritsky, who emigrated from Russia in the 1890s. Zaret attended public schools, but was not an enthusiastic student. Despite his small stature, he played football at a local community center. He attended West Virginia University and Brooklyn Law School, where he received his LLB. Zaret practiced law for a few years and legally changed his name in 1934. His first major lyrical success came in 1935 when he wrote the words to “Dedicated to You” with Saul Chaplin and Sammy Cahn. He served as a sergeant in the War Music Division during World War II and wrote many war-related tunes, including “Song of the Army Nurse Corps” and “Soldiers of God (The Chaplain’s Song).” He also wrote English lyrics for “The Partisan” and “La Marsellaise.” In 1944, he wrote the lyrics to “One Meat Ball”, which became a success for the Andrews Sisters. Zaret’s biggest hit, “Unchained Melody”, written for the 1955 prison film Unchained, received an Academy Award Nomination for Best Original Song. Recorded by more than 300 artists, the song saw renewed interest in the 1990s with its inclusion in the movie Ghost. In the ensuing years, it received multiple awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, and Rolling Stone magazine. Beginning in the early 1950’s, Zaret began writing lyrics (usually in conjunction with composer Lou Singer) for children’s educational songs and public service announcements for which he received numerous accolades. His efforts include Ballads for the Age of Science, Little Songs on Big Subjects, Little Songs for Better Schools, Little Songs for Busy Voters, Little Songs for Living Longer, Little Songs on Fire Prevention, Spotlight Ballads, Little Songs for the American Cancer Society, Sing-Along for Mental Health, and others. Zaret’s marriage to Shirley Goidel produced two sons, Thomas (who predeceased him) and Robert. Zaret passed away in 2007 at the age of 99.

Porter, Cole

  • LC80017862
  • Persoon
  • 1891-06-09 - 1964-10-15

Martin, Mary

  • LC50040943
  • Persoon
  • 1913-12-1 - 1990-11-04

Tatum, Art

  • LC84005894
  • Persoon
  • 1909-10-13 - 1956-11-05
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