DON RAYE (1909 - 1985)
Donald McRae Wilhoite, Junior
Composer, Lyricist, Dancer
Don Raye was born in Washington, D.C. As a dancer, he won the state championship in the Charleston and Black Bottom
categories while still a teenager. Raye went on to perform internationally in Vaudeville, both singing and dancing, but
settled down in his mid-twenties to study advertising and literature at New York University.
He soon returned to the music profession, taking a job as a songwriter with a music publishing house in New York and then
for Hollywood studios. Most notable were his boogie-woogie numbers, which became hits for the Andrews Sisters and in turn
helped to shape that genre.
Over his career he wrote hundreds of songs, often collaborating with Gene De Paul. Their “Boogie Woogie Bugle
Boy” (1941) won an Academy Award nomination, and “Down the Road Apiece” (1941) reemerged in the 1960s,
performed first by Chuck Berry and then the Rolling Stones. Within the jazz genre, Raye is best known for his contributions
to “You Don’t Know What Love Is” (1941), “I’ll Remember April”(1941), and “Star
-- Jeremy Wilson
Courtesy of JazzStandards.com