Harold Arlen

Harold Arlen (February 15, 1905 - April 23, 1986) was an American composer of popular music.

Arlen was born Hyman Arluck, in Buffalo, New York, the child of a Jewish cantor. He learned the piano as a youth and formed a band as a young man. He achieved some local success as a pianist and singer and moved to New York City in his early 20s. As this point, he changed his name to Harold Arlen.

In 1929, Arlen composed his first well-known song: Get Happy (with lyrics by Ted Koehler). Throughout the early and mid-1930s, Alren and Koehler wrote shows for the Cotton Club, a popular Harlem night club, as well as Broadway musicals and Hollywood films. Alren also continued to perform with some success.

Alren and Koehler wrote the following hit songs during the early and mid-1930s:

  • Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
  • I Love A Parade
  • I've Got the World On A String
  • I've Got A Right To Sing The Blues
  • It's Only A Paper Moon
  • Let's Fall in Love
  • Ill Wind
  • Stormy Weather

In the mid-1930s, Arlen married, and spent increasingly more time in California, writing for movie musicals. It was at this time that he began working with lyricist Yip Harburg. In 1938, the team was hired by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to compose songs for The Wizard of Oz.

In the 1940s, Arlen teamed up with lyricist Johnny Mercer.


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