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MACEO PINKARD  

(1897 - 1962)

Composer, Band Leader, Theatrical Agent, Music Publisher
(1897-1962)

While a teenager, Maceo Pinkard formed his own band and toured the Midwest, but by 18 he tired of the road and settled in Omaha, Nebraska. While there he started composing for a local music publisher. In 1917 he formed his own publishing firm, Maceo Pinkard Music, and began selling compositions to national publishing companies such as Frank K. Root in Chicago and Leo Feist in New York. In late 1918 he was hired by the prestigious firm of Shapiro, Bernstein & Company in New York and the following year saw the publication of first big hit, “Mammy O’Mine”.

He began writing for the theater, composing music for the successful African-American musical Liza, which ran 172 performances in 1922. In 1925 he wrote his biggest hit, “Sweet Georgia Brown,” with lyrics by Ken Casey. Bandleader Ben Bernie, who sensed the song’s potential, added his name to the composer credits to “help” the song along.

Although Pinkard continued to compose until three years before his death, his best work was written during the decade 1921-1931. Vocalist Ethel Waters, whose version of “Sweet Georgia Brown” had been a minor hit, had much success with Pinkard’s 1926 number “Sugar,” which was also recorded by Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra in 1928 featuring talented jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke. The tune was featured by vocalist Peggy Lee in the 1955 motion picture Pete Kelly’s Blues. Another 1926 composition, “Gimme a Little Kiss, Will Ya, Huh?” was included in the 1929 movie Showboat. Bix Beiderbecke, with an all-star group that included clarinetist Benny Goodman and trombonist Jack Teagarden, recorded a memorable version of Pinkard’s 1930 composition “I’ll Be a Friend (With Pleasure)”.

Aside from “Sweet Georgia Brown” his most enduing song was the 1930 “Them There Eyes” which was recorded by singers Bing Crosby and Billie Holiday and the bands of Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington and continues today to be a favorite of musicians and vocalists.

-- Sandra Burlingame

Courtesy of JazzStandards.com

View by Role: Non-Classical Composer | Lyricist
Role: Non-Classical Composer 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
ARMSTRONG, Louis: Stop Playing Those Blues (1946-1947) (Louis Armstrong, Vol. 7) Naxos Jazz Legends
8.120817
Jazz
BUDDY DEFRANCO QUARTET / BUDDY DEFRANCO QUINTET: King of the Clarinet (The) (1952) Naxos Jazz Archives
9.81143JZ
Jazz
CROSBY, Bing: Rhythm King (1926-1930) Naxos Nostalgia
8.120696
Nostalgia
CROSBY, Bing: Some of These Days (1931-1933) Naxos Nostalgia
8.120562
Nostalgia
GIANTS OF JAZZ Naxos Jazz Legends
8.120756-57
Jazz
HITS OF THE 1920s, Vol. 1 (1920): Whispering Naxos Nostalgia
8.120635
Nostalgia
HOLIDAY, Billie: Fine and Mellow (1936-1941) Naxos Jazz Legends
8.120583
Jazz
JAMES, Harry: Concerto for Trumpet (1939-1941) Naxos Jazz Legends
8.120618
Jazz
LOST TAPES - Baker, Chet (Early Chet - Chet Baker in Germany, 1955-1959) SWR Jazzhaus
101752
Jazz
LOST TAPES - Baker, Chet (Early Chet - Chet Baker in Germany, 1955-1959) SWR Jazzhaus
JAH-452
Jazz
LUNDIN, Carin: Songs that we all recognize Prophone
PCD078
Vocal
MILLS BROTHERS: Swing Is The Thing (1934-1938) Naxos Nostalgia
8.120680
Nostalgia
REINHARDT, Django: Americans in Paris (1935-1937) (Reinhardt, Vol. 7) Naxos Jazz Legends
8.120734
Jazz
REINHARDT, Django: Django Reinhardt (1938-1939) (Reinhardt, Vol. 2) Naxos Jazz Legends
8.120575
Jazz
SCHMID, Beni: Obsession - Hommage a Grappelli Oehms Classics
OC554
Contemporary Jazz
UNITED STATES MARINE DRUM AND BUGLE CORPS: Esprit Altissimo
75442261162
Wind Ensemble/Band Music
WILEY, Lee: Lee Wiley sings Rodgers and Hart and Night in Manhattan (1947-1954) Naxos Jazz Archives
9.81154JZ
Jazz
Role: Lyricist 
Album Title  Catalogue No  Work Category 




 
 
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