Pioneering Broadway composer
Wrote Al Jolson musical "Honeymoon Express" in 1913
Con Conrad was born Conrad K. Dober in New York City on June 18, 1891. Growing up in New York City, Conrad briefly attended a military academy where he was introduced to the piano. At 16, Conrad left high school and started working in a Harlem movie house, playing songs to accompany the silent films. Later, he would perform in vaudeville, working for the Keith circuit shows, which toured the United States and overseas.
In 1912, Conrad had his first song published, “Down in Dear Old New Orleans and the following year, he produced a show on Broadway, The Honeymoon Express, which starred an unknown Al Jolson. In 1918, Conrad settled into the career of professional songwriting and publishing, forming a partnership with publisher Henry Waterson. In 1920, Conrad had his first big hit, “Margie” and the next few years would produce such standards as “Ma, He’s Making Eyes At Me”, “You’ve Got to See Your Mama Every Night”, “Memory Lane”, “Lonesome and Sorry” and “Come on Spark Plug”.
In 1923, Conrad’s focus shifted back to the stage and production music. He created scores for the Broadway shows The Greenwich Follies of 1923, Moonlight, Betty Lee, Kitty’s Kisses and Americana. Loosing his entire fortune on un-successful Broadway show, Conrad moved to Hollywood in 1929 where he worked on such successful films as Fox Movietone Follies, Palmy Days, The Gay Divorcee and Here’s to Romance. In 1934, Conrad, with collaborator Herb Magidson, was awarded the first Academy Award for Best Song for “The Continental”.
Along with Magidson, Conrad also collaborated with Joe Young, Sidney Clare, Billy Rose, Buddy De Sylva, Benny Davis, Leo Robin, J. Russel Robinson, Vincent Rose, Archie Gottler, Sidney Mitchell and WM Friedlander.
Other catalog highlights include “Oh, Frenchy!”, “Palesteena”, “Big City Blues”, “Walking With Susie”, “Sing a Little Love Song”, “Prisoner of Love”, “Midnight in Paris”, “You Call it Madness but I Call it Love”, “Champagne Waltz” and “Singin’ the Blues”.
Con Conrad died in Van Nuys, California on September 28, 1938.