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Hal Leonard


Honored with SHOF’s highest accolade, the Johnny Mercer Award, in 1982.


Harold Arlen was born Hymen Arluck, the son of a synagogue cantor, was born in Buffalo, New York on February 15, 1905, and emerged as one of the greatest of all American composers and songwriters, writing extraordinarily complex melodies and harmonies that somehow remained accessible to a broad popular audience.

He grew up in Buffalo attending public schools and private music study with instructors Arnold Cornelissen and Simon Bucharoff. By age 7 he was singing in his father’s synagogue chore and by age 15 he had become a professional pianist and entertainer in nightclubs and lake steamers. In his late teens, he organized The Snappy Trio, which later became The Southbound Shufflers, and the trio found its way to New York City. In Manhattan, Arlen found a home as a singer, pianist, and arranger with dance bands and eventually with Arnold Johnson’s pit orchestra for the Broadway revue George White’s Scandals of 1928. Arlen appeared at the Palace Theatre in New York and did several tours with Loew’s vaudeville circuit.

He continued to work on Broadway writing songs for musicals 9:15 Revue, Earl Carroll Vanities (1930 and 1932), Americana, George White’s Music Hall Varieties, The Show is On. He also wrote entire scores for the Broadway shows You Said It, Cotton Club Parade, Life Begins at 8:40, Hooray For What, Bloomer Girl, St. Louis Woman, House of Flowers, Jamaica, Saratoga and Free and Easy (a blues opera).

Arlen collaborated with the greatest of the Tin Pan Alley lyricists, including E.Y. "Yip" Harburg, Johnny Mercer, Ted Koehler, Leo Robin, Ira Gershwin, Dorothy Fields and…

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Discography Highlights

OVER THE RAINBOW E.Y. Harburg, Harold Arlen
EMI Feist Catalog, Inc.

AC CENT TCHU ATE THE POSITIVE Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen
MPL Communications, Inc.

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