SAMMY CAHN (1913 - 1993)
Lyricist, Film Producer
Sammy Cahn is one of the most successful of lyricists. He won four Academy Awards: The title song from “Three Coins in the Fountain” (1954), “All the Way” from The Joker is Wild(1957), “High Hopes” from A Hole in the Head (1959), and “Call Me Irresponsible” from Papa's Delicate Condition (1963), received 22 other nominations and won an Emmy for “Love and Marriage” (1955). He also took his one-man show to Broadway in 1974.
Cahn began writing with Saul Chaplin. They wrote Jimmy Lunceford’s theme song, “Rhythm Is Our Business” (1935), “Until The Real Thing Comes Along” (1936), and “Bei Mir Bist du Schoen” (1938), adapted from a Yiddish song, which put the Andrews Sisters on the charts.
Cahn’s next collaboration was with Jules Styne writing for movies. 1944 alone brought “There Goes That Song Again,” “I’ll Walk Alone,” and “Saturday Night Is the Loneliest Night of the Week.” “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow,” “The Things We Did Last Summer,” “Time After Time,” and “It’s Magic” represent the next four years.
Cahn had partnered with Jimmy Van Heusen on “It Seems I’ve Heard that Song Before” (1942), “I Fall in Love Too Easily” (1945), and the Broadway show, High Button Shoes (1947). Frank Sinatra reunited them for television’s Our Town in 1955, and Cahn enjoyed his most rewarding period, including the Oscars and Emmy. The Cahn/Van Heusen songs revived Sinatra’s career: “The Tender Trap” (1955), “Come Fly with Me” (1957), “Only the Lonely” (1958), “The Second Time Around” (1960), “My Kind of Town” (1964), and “September of My Years” (1965).
William Zinsser points out in Easy to Remember that Cahn was highly adept at tailoring lyrics to the singer. For instance, his emotionally obtuse lyrics perfectly suited Bing Crosby while he wrote up-front, emotionally bold lyrics for Sinatra.
Cahn is survived by his son, jazz guitarist Steve Khan.
-- Sandra Burlingame
Courtesy of JazzStandards.com