HARRY WARREN (1893 - 1981)
Salvatore Anthony Guaragna
Harry Warren frequently joked about his lack of recognition. It’s puzzling because he had a record 42 songs in Your Hit Parade’s top ten, nine more than the next composer--Irving Berlin.
He loved Puccini as a child and decided on a music career. His first hit came in 1922, Paul Whiteman introduced two of his songs in 1923, and in 1925 he wrote “I Love My Baby (My Baby Loves Me).”
In the early ‘30s he scored films and Broadway shows and from 1929-1933 was Director of ASCAP. In 1932 he teamed with lyricist Al Dubin and settled in Hollywood, writing for hundreds of films by 1957. Their 1932 film, Forty-Second Street, was an enormous hit. Warren claims that “Getting to Be a Habit with Me” was the first “drug” song. The movie was rewritten for Broadway in 1980, ran for nine years, was revived in 2001, and is still running (2004). For the next six years they had a string of hits, including “I Only Have Eyes for You” (1934) and “Lullaby of Broadway,” the Oscar winner from Gold Diggers of 1935.
Warren’s next collaboration in 1940 with Mack Gordon was equally successful. The title song for Down Argentine Way was nominated for an Oscar (1940). They scored two films for Glenn Miller’s band, producing “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” (1941), “At Last,” Serenade in Blue,” and “I Had a Gal in Kalamazoo” (1942). In 1943 “You’ll Never Know” won the Oscar and they wrote their most enduring standard, “There Will Never Be Another You”.
Warren’s collaboration with Johnny Mercer produced “I’m an Old Cowhand” (1936) and won an Oscar for “On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe,” sung by Judy Garland in The Harvey Girls (1946).
Warren also composed “That’s Amor” which Dean Martin took to the pop charts in 1953.
-- Sandra Burlingame
Courtesy of JazzStandards.com