Wormz Obituaries

20th Century Composers

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Harold Arlen

     Harold Arlen died aged eighty-one on 23rd April, 1986 of cancer at home in New York, United States of America. He was survived by his nephew, Juliusphoto of Harold Arlen "Jerry" Arluck who now runs the company that owns the rights to the Harold Arlen catalogue. Harold Arlen is buried next to his wife at the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.
     Harold Arlen was born as Hyman Arluck in Buffalo, a city in New York State, United States of America, the son of a cantor and learned to play piano as a youth, and formed a band as a young man. He achieved some local success as a pianist and singer before moving to New York City in his early twenties, where he worked as an accompanist in vaudeville and changed his name to Harold Arlen. Between 1926 and about 1934, Harold Arlen appeared occasionally as a band vocalist on records by The Buffalodians, Red Nichols, Joe Venuti, Leo Reisman, and Eddie Duchin, usually singing his own compositions.
In 1929, Harold Arlen composed his first well-known song: "Get Happy" (with lyrics by Ted Koehler). Throughout the early and mid-1930s, Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler wrote shows for the Cotton Club, a popular Harlem night club, as well as for Broadway musicals and Hollywood films. Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler's partnership resulted in a number of hit songs, including the familiar standards "Let's Fall in Love" and "Stormy Weather". Harold Arlen continued to perform as a pianist and vocalist with some success, most notably on records with Leo Reisman's society dance orchestra.
     In the mid-1930s, Harold Arlen married, and spent increasing 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-Mayer to compose songs for The Wizard of Oz, the most famous of which is "Over the Rainbow", for which they won the Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song. They also wrote "Down with Love" (featured in the 1937 Broadway show Hooray for What!), "Lydia the Tattooed Lady", for Groucho Marx in At the Circus in 1939, and "Happiness is a Thing Called Joe", for Ethel Waters in the 1943 movie Cabin in the Sky.      Harold Arlen was a longtime friend and onetime roommate of actor Ray Bolger, who starred in The Wizard of Oz.image of Harold Arlen
      In the 1940s,Harold teamed up with lyricist Johnny Mercer, and continued to write hit songs including "Blues in the Night", "Out of this World", "That Old Black Magic", "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive", "Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home", "Come Rain or Come Shine" and "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)".

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Ella Fitzgerald - Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Harold Arlen Songbook (Full Album)