Allen was an American pianist, arranger, and writer of music for popular songs. He was also an accompanist for Perry Como, Peter Lind Hayes, and Arthur Godfrey. Many of his compositions were collaborations with lyricist Al Stillman.
Stillman collaborated with a number of composers, and many of his collaborations with Allen were major hits for the 1950s for The Four Lads; the Stillman/Allen team also wrote hit songs for Perry Como and Johnny Mathis.
Some of his most famous songs include:
- “Home for the Holidays” [ w/ Robert Allen ]
- “You Alone (Solo Tu)” [ w/ Robert Allen ]
- “To Know You (Is to Love You)” [ w/ Robert Allen ]
- “Enchanted Islands” [ w/ Robert Allen ]
- “Moments to Remember” [ w/ Robert Allen ]
- “No, Not Much” [ w/ Robert Allen ]
- “There’s Only One of You” [ w/ Robert Allen ]
- “Who needs You?” [ w/ Robert Allen ]
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In the 1920’s, Pola began to write songs. He scored one of England’s first sound films, Harmony Heaven (1929). Toward the end of the decade, he moved to the United States to produce The Alan Young Show comedy on radio as well on dramatic radio programs, and continued as a producer, moving into television in the 1950s.
His most famous songs include:
- “I Didn’t Slip, I wasn’t Pushed, I fell” [ Co-written with George Wyle ]
- “I love The Way You Say Goodnight” [ Co-written with George Wyle ]
- “I said My Pajamas (and Put on My Pray’rs)” [ Co-written with George Wyle ]
- “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” [ Co-written with George Wyle ]
- “Quicksilver” [ Co-written with George Wyle ]
- “Till The Lights of London Shine Again”
He wrote with Sherwood Schwartz “The Ballad of Gilligan’s island”, the theme song for “Gilligan’s Island”. His chief musical collaborator was Eddie Pola.
Following his completion of his education, Kent was an architect, continuing to write music on the side, conducting his own orchestra performing on radio and in theatres. In 1932, Kent co-wrote his first major song, “Pu-Leeze, Mister Hemingway”. Following his break, Kent moved to Los Angeles, remaining a freelance architect, venturing into his musical career.
Throughout 1930-1940, Kent worked in the motion picture industry, composing the melody of “(There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover” in 1941. The piece expressed sympathy for England’s struggle against the looming Nazi threat at the time.
Unlike other talent managers of the era who were known for stealing and publishing songs others had written, Ram did not need to do so. He was a songwriter first, and a manager/producer second. The platters and other groups he managed, like the flares, were his vehicles to get his songs recorded. In many cases, he put singers’ names on the songs he had written.
His biggest hits consist of:
- “The Great Pretender”
- “(You’ve Got) The Magic Touch”
- “Twilight Time”
- “Only You (And You Alone)”
Before Styne attended Chicago Musical College, he had already attracted the attention of another teenager, Mike Todd, later a successful film producer, who commissioned him to write a song for a musical act he was creating. His first hit, “Sunday”, was written in 1926.
Styne established his own dance band, which got him noticed in Hollywood where he was championed by Frank Sinatra and began a collaboration with lyricist Sammy Cahn.
Cahn, during his teens, played the violin in pit bands of burlesque houses. He became friendly with fellow band-member pianist Saul Chaplin, and they began writing songs together. In 1935, they wrote “Rhythm is Our Business”, 1936, “Until The Real Thing Comes Along”, and in 1937 they adapted “Bei Mir Bist Du Shon” as their last song, parting ways when they went to Hollywood.
In 1942, Cahn would begin to write with Jules Styne. They would write songs together for 19 films between 1942 and 1951. Among their songs include:
- “I’ve Heard That Song Before” (1942)
- “I’ll Walk Alone” (1944)
- “Saturday Night Is The Loneliest Night Of The Week” (1944)
- “It’s The Same Old Dream (1947)
- “Night After Time” (1947)
- “It’s Magic” (1947)
- “Put ‘Em In A Box, Tie ‘Em With A Ribbon” (1947)
Among Marks’ many works, “Rudoph, the Red-Nosed Raindeer”, which was based on a poem of the same name, written by Marks’ brother-in-law Robert L. May, Rudolph’s creator. In addition to his songwriting, he founded St. Nicholas Music in 1949, and served as director of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers [ASCAP].
By the late 1920’s, Parish was a well-regarded Tin Pan Alley lyricist in New York City. His best known works include:
- “Sweet Lorraine”
- “Deep Purple”
- “Stars Fell on Alabama”
- “Sophisticated Lady”
- “Volare” [ English lyric Translation ]
- “Blue Skirt Waltz” [ English lyric Translation ]
- “Mr. Ghost Goes to Town”
- “One Morning In May”
- “Louisiana Fairytales”
Bernard worked as a pianist for dance orchestras and public publishers before forming his own band. He also had his own radio show, which he produced. Best known as a composer, Bernard found success writing musical material for artists such as Al Jolson, Nora Bayes, Eddie Cantor, Marylin Miller, and Sophie Tucker. In 1934, Bernard joined the ASCAP where his chief musical collaborators were Sam Coslow, L. Wolfe Gilbert, Richard B. Smith, and Johnny black.
Livingston attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he organized a dance band and met Ray Evans, a fellow student in the band. Their professional collaboration began in 1937. Livingston & Evans won the Academy Award for Best Original Song three times,
Livingston and Evans wrote popular TV themes for shows including Bonanza and Mister Ed, which Livingston sang. And wrote the Christmas song “Silver Bells” in 1951, as well as “Never Let Me Go”. Livingston appeared himself with Evans in the New Year’s Eve party scene of the 1950’s film Sunset Boulevard.
He attended a local business college and later the University of Southern California, where he majored in speech and drama. He served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. Both before and after the war, he worked as a scriptwriter and lyricist for both radio and film.
In 1946, Tormé was discharged from the U.S. army in 1946, and soon returned to a life of radio, television, movies, and music. In 1947, he started a solo singing career. His appearances at New York’s Copacabana led local disk jockey Fred Robbins to give him the nickname “The Velvet Fog” in honor of his high tenor and smooth vocal style.
Robert Wells & Mel
From 1945-1949, Wells collaborated extensively with Tormé. Among their many hits were “Born to the Blue” and “A Stranger Called the Blues”, as well as numerous film songs.
Their most famous work together is “The Christmas Song”. Wells had written what would become in the first four lines of the song on a hot day in July, 1945. Torme had come over to visit, and saw the lines written out on a notepad. Wells thought the idea of writing a Christmas song was a good means of cooling off in the hot California summer, and Tormé agreed. The song was completed in 40 minutes, and went on to become one of the most performed Christmas songs of all time.
Berlin rose as a songwriter in Tin Pan Alley on Broadway. In 1911, Emma Carus introduced his first world-famous hit, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”, followed by a performance from Berlin himself at the Friars’ Frolic of 1911. He became an instant celebrity, and was a featured performer later that year at Oscar Hammerstein’s vaudeville house, where he introduced dozens of other songs.
Berlin was “flabbergasted” by the sudden international popularity of Alexander’s Ragtime Band, and wondered why it became such a sudden hit. He decided it was partly because the lyrics, “silly though it was, was fundamentally right…[and] the melody…started the heels and shoulders of all America and a good section of Europe Rocking.”
On April 1st, 1917, after President Woodrow Wilson declared that America would enter WWI, Berlin felt that Tin Pan Alley should do its duty and support the war with inspirational songs. Berlin wrote the song, “For Your Country and My Country”, stating that “we must speak with the sword not the pen to show our appreciation to America for opening up her heart and welcoming every immigrant group.” He also co-wrote a song aimed at ending ethnic conflict, “Let’s All be Americans Now.”
Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau requested a song to inspire Americans to buy war bonds during World War II, Berlin wrote “Any Bonds Today?” and assigned all royalties to the United States Treasury Department. He then wrote various songs for government agencies and likewise reassigned all profits to them:
American Red Cross – “Angels of Mercy”
Army Ordinance Department – “Arms for the Love of America”
Treasury – “I Paid My Income Tax Today”