Harold Arlen

Genres: Vocals
Decades: 1960s 2000s


Hyman Arluck, 15 February 1905, Buffalo, New York, USA, d. 23 April 1986, New York City, New York, USA. Acknowledged as one of the all-time great composers, Arlen was the son of a cantor and sang in his father’s synagogue. However, he was soon playing ragtime piano in local bands and accompanying silent pictures. In the early 20s he played and arranged for the Buffalodians band, then in 1925 shook off small-town connections when he took a job in New York City, arranging for Fletcher Henderson, and working in radio and theatre as a rehearsal pianist. Indeed, one of his first compositions began as a rehearsal vamp, and was developed into ‘Get Happy’, with a lyric by Ted Koehler. Ruth Etting introduced it in the flop 9:15 Revue in 1930.

Arlen was soon composing songs regularly, and collaborated with Koehler on several Harlem Cotton Club revues, one of which included ‘Stormy Weather’. Ethel Waters elevated that song into...

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