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Hal Leonard


Film songs for "Flying Down To Rio" (1933) and Broadway's "Whoopee"(1928)


Lyricist Gus Kahn was born in Coblenz, Germany on November 6, 1886. Immigrating to the United States in 1891, where his family settled in Chicago. After graduating from high school, he worked as a clerk in a mail order business before launching one of the most successful and prolific careers from Tin Pan Alley.

In his early days, Kahn wrote special material for vaudeville and at the age of 20, his first song was published, “My Dreamy China Lady”. From that publication through the 1940’s, Kahn contributed to Broadway scores such as Kitty’s Kisses, Whoopee, Show Girl, Sinbad, Passing Show of 1922 and Greenwich Village Follies of 1923. Concurrently, he wrote several hits for films, primarily MGM produced features. By 1933, Kahn had become a full time motion picture songwriter contributing to Flying Down to Rio, Kid Millions, Thanks a Million, A Day at the Races, Everybody Sing, The Girl of the Golden West, Spring Parade, One Night of Love, Three Smart Girls, Let’s Sing Again, San Francisco and Ziegfeld Girl.

While his primary collaborator was Walter Donaldson, Kahn also worked with composers Grace LeBoy Kahn (his wife), Egbert Van Alstyne, Richard Whiting, Buddy DeSylva, Al Jolson, Raymond Egan, Ted Fio Rito, Isham Jones, Ernie Erdman, Neil Moret, Vincent Youmans, George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, Harry Akst, Harry M. Woods, Edward Eliscu, Victor Schertzinger, Arthur Johnston, Bronislaw Kaper, Walter Jurmann, Sigmund Romberg and Harry Warren.

The Gus Kahn catalog is one of the greatest collections of enduring standards, including “It…

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Discography Highlights

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