- Harold Arlen
name = Harold Arlen
imagesize = 200px
caption = Harold Arlen, photographed by
Carl Van Vechten, 1960
birthname = Hyman Arluk
birthdate = birth date|1905|2|15
Buffalo, New York
deathdate = death date and age|1986|4|23|1905|2|15
New York City, New York
academyawards = Best Original Song
1939 "The Wizard of Oz"
Over the Rainbow"
Harold Arlen (
February 15, 1905– April 23, 1986) was an American composerof popular music. Having written over 400 songs, a number of which have become known the world over, Arlen is a highly regarded contributor to the Great American Songbook.His 1938 song " Over the Rainbow” was voted the twentieth century's No. 1 song by the Recording Industry Association of America [http://www.haroldarlen.com/honors.html [1 ]] .
Arlen was born Hyman Arluck, in
Buffalo, New York, the child of a Jewish cantor. His twin brother died the next day. He learned the pianoas a youth and formed a band as a young man. He achieved some local success as a pianist and singer and moved to New York Cityin his early 20s. He worked as an accompanist in vaudeville. [Laurie, Joe, Jr. "Vaudeville: From the Honky-tonks to the Palace." New York: Henry Holt, 1953. p. 328.] At this point, he changed his name to Harold Arlen. He performed on record with the "Buffalodians" orchestra, as well as those of Red Nichols, Henny Hendrickson and Arnold Johnson.
Between 1926 and about 1934, Arlen appeared occasionally as band vocalist on records by
The Buffalodians, Red Nichols, Joe Venuti, Leo Reismanand Eddie Duchin, usually singing his own compositions.
In 1929, Arlen composed his first well-known song: "Get Happy" (with lyrics by
Ted Koehler). Throughout the early and mid-1930s, Arlen and Koehler wrote shows for the Cotton Club, a popular Harlem night club, as well as Broadway musicals and Hollywood films. Arlen also continued to perform with some success, most notably on records with Leo Reisman's society dance orchestra.
Arlen's compositions have always been popular with
jazzmusicians because of his facility at incorporating a bluesfeeling into conventional American popular songs.
Arlen and Koehler wrote several hit songs during the early and mid-1930s.
In the mid-1930s, Arlen married, and spent increasingly more time in California, writing for movie musicals. It was at this time that he began working with lyricist
E.Y. "Yip" Harburg. In 1938, the team was hired by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayerto compose songs for "The Wizard of Oz". The most famous of these is the song " Over the Rainbow" for which they won the Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song. They also wrote "Down with Love", a song later featured in the 2003 movie " Down with Love".
Arlen was a longtime friend and former roommate of actor
Ray Bolgerwho would star in "The Wizard of Oz", the film for which "Over the Rainbow" was written.
In the 1940s, Arlen teamed up with lyricist
Johnny Mercer, and continued to write hit songs like " Blues in the Night" ("My Mama Done Tol' Me") and " Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive".
Harold Arlen timeline
1905 Arlen born in
Buffalo, New York
1920 (Age 15) He formed his first professional band, Hyman Arluck's Snappy Trio.
1921 (16) Against his parent's wishes he left home.
1923 (18) With his new band - The Southbound Shufflers, performed on the Crystal Beach lake boat "Canadiana" during the summer of 1923.
1924 (19) Performed at Lake Shore Manor during the summer of 1924.
1924 (19) Wrote his first song, collaborating with friend Hyman Cheiffetz to write "My Gal, My Pal". Copyrighting the song as "My Gal, Won't You Please Come Back to Me?" and listed lyrics by Cheiffetz and music by Harold Arluck.
1925 (20) Makes his way to
New York Citywith the group, The Buffalodians, with Arlen playing piano.
1926 (21) Had first published song, collaborating with Dick George to compose "Minor Gaff (Blues Fantasy)" under the name Harold Arluck.
1928 (23) Chaim (Life) (or Hyman) Arluck renames himself Harold Arlen, a name that combined his parents' surnames (his mother's maiden name was Orlin).
1929 (24) Landed a singing and acting role as Cokey Joe in the musical "The Great Day"
1929 (24) Composed his first well known song - (Get Happy) under the name Harold Arlen.
1929 (24) Signed a yearlong song writing contract with the George and Arthur Piantadosi firm.
1930-1934 (25-29) Wrote music for the
1933 (28) At a party, along with partner
Ted Koehler, wrote the major hit song "Stormy Weather"
1933 (28) Billboard heralded Shakespeare as the most prolific playwright in history, and Arlen as the most prolific composer.
1935 (30) Went back to California after being signed by
Samuel Goldwynto write songs for the film "Strike Me Pink"
1937 (32) Married 22-year-old
Anya Taranda, a celebrated Powers Agency model and former Earl Carrolland Busby Berkeley showgirl, actress, and one of the Original "Breck Girls."
1938 (33) Hired by
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayerto compose songs for "The Wizard of Oz".
1938 (33) While driving along
Sunset Boulevardin Hollywoodand stopping in front of Schwab's Drugstorecame up with the song " Over the Rainbow"
1941 (36) Wrote "
Blues in the Night"
1942 (37) Along with
Johnny Mercer, he wrote one of his most famous songs, " That Old Black Magic"
1943 (38) Wrote "My Shining Hour"
1944 (39) While driving with songwriter partner
Johnny Mercercame up with the song " Accentuate the Positive".
1945 (40) In a single evening's work in October with
Johnny Mercercame up with the song " Come Rain or Come Shine"
1949 (44) Collaborated with Ralph Blane to write the score for "
My Blue Heaven".
1950 (45) Worked with old pal
Johnny Merceron the film "The Petty Girl", out of which came the song "Fancy Free".
1951 (46) His wife Anya was institutionalized in a sanitarium for 7 years after repeatedly threatening her husband and others with physical harm.
1952 (47) Teamed up with
Dorothy Fieldson the film "The Farmer Takes a Wife"
1953 (48) Harold's father, Cantor Samuel Arluck, died.
1954 (49) The Musical "A Star is Born" starring
Judy Garlandsinging the now classic, Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwincollaboration, " The Man That Got Away"
1954 (49) Becomes dangerously ill with a bleeding ulcer and is hospitalized but recovers to work with
Truman Capoteon the musical "House of Flowers".
1956 (51) His mother Celia Arluck dies and Harold doesn't touch music for over a year, mourning her loss.
1961-1976 (55-71) Wrote over 50 songs and continued a successful career.Fact|date=February 2007
1970 (65) Arlen's wife
Anya Tarandadies from a brain tumor. Arlen begins to lose interest in life, withdrawing from friends and family and becoming more and more reclusive.
1986 (81) Harold Arlen dies in
New York Cityand is interred next to his wife in Ferncliff Cemeteryin Hartsdale, New York.
Works for Broadway
*"Earl Carroll's Vanities of 1930" (1930) -
revue- contributing composer
*"You Said It" (1931) - musical -
*"Earl Carroll's Vanities of 1932" (1932) -
revue- co- composerand co- lyricistwith Ted Koehler
*"Americana" (1932) -
revue- contributing composer
*"George White's Music Hall Varieties - (1933) -
revue- co- composer
*"Life Begins at 8:40" (1934) -
*"The Show is On" (1936) -
revue- contributing composer
Hooray for What!" (1937) - musical - composer
Bloomer Girl" (1944) - musical - composer
St. Louis Woman" (1946) - musical - composer
*"House of Flowers" (1954) - musical -
composerand co- lyricist
*"Mr. Imperium" (1951) - Movie Musical - featured
*"Jamaica" (1957) - musical -
composer- Tony Nomination for Best Musical
*"Saratoga" (1959) - musical -
A Sleepin' Bee" - lyrics by Harold Arlen and Truman Capote
Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive" - lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home" - lyrics by Johnny Mercer
As Long as I Live" - lyrics by Ted Koehler
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" - lyrics by Ted Koehler
Blues in the Night" - lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Come Rain or Come Shine" - lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead" - lyrics by E.Y. Harburg
For Every Man There's a Woman" - lyrics by Leo Robin
* "Get Happy" - lyrics by
* "Down with Love"
Happiness is a Thing Called Joe" - lyrics by E.Y. Harburg
Hit the Road to Dreamland"
Hooray for Love" lyrics by Leo Robin
I Could Go On Singing" - lyrics by E.Y. Harburg
If I Only Had a Brain" - lyrics by E.Y. Harburg
* "If I Only Had a Heart" - lyrics by
* "I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues" - lyrics by
Ill Wind" - lyrics by Ted Koehler
It Was Written in the Stars"
I've Got the World on a String" - lyrics by Ted Koehler
* "It's Only a Paper Moon" - lyrics by
E.Y. Harburg, Billy Rose
Last Night When We Were Young"
Let's Fall in Love" - lyrics by Ted Koehler
Let's Take a Walk Around the Block" lyrics by Ira Gershwinand E.Y. Harburg
My Shining Hour" - lyrics by Johnny Mercer
One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)" - lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Out of This World (Johnny Mercer song)" - lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Over the Rainbow" - lyrics by E.Y. Harburg
Sing My Heart" - lyrics by Ted Koehler
* "Stormy Weather" - lyrics by
That Old Black Magic" - lyrics by Johnny Mercer
The Man That Got Away"
This Time the Dream's on Me" - lyrics by Johnny Mercer
When the Sun Comes Out" - lyrics by Ted Koehler
*2003 - "Stormy Weather: The Music of Harold Arlen". Directed by Larry Weinstein.
* [http://www.haroldarlen.com/ Official web site for Harold Arlen]
* [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=4042 Profile Page for Harold Arlen] at
Find A Grave
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