Prolific songwriter had dozens of hits in 1930s and 40s

Browse Song Catalog: ASCAP

Edgar Leslie


ASCAP founding member in 1914

Edgar Leslie was born in Stamford, Connecticut on New Year’s Eve, 1885. He grew up in New York and attended school at Cooper Union.

In 1909, Leslie’s first song was published, entitled “Lonesome”. The song was an instant hit. Recorded by the Haydn Quartet in the same year as its publication, the song reached # 3 on the charta Later in 1909, Byron G. Harlan would also record it and reach # 6 with his rendition.

Leslie continued to write and produce hit songs for vaudeville acts, most notably for singers Nat Wills, Julian Rose, Belle Baker, Lew Dockstader, James Barton and Joe Welch. From the publication of “Lonesome” until the mid 1920’s, Leslie would write “Sadie Salome”, “He’d Have to Get Out-Get Out and Get Under”, “For Me and My Gal”, “Oh, What a Pal Was Mary”, “Blue and Broken Hearted”, “Dirty Hands, Dirty Face” and “Me and the Man in the Moon”.

In 1914, Leslie was a charter member of ASCAP and served as a director from 1931 through 1941 and again from 1947 through 1953. He formed his own publishing firm in the mid-1920’s and in 1927, he traveled to England were he began a collaboration with composer Horatio Nicholls (pseudonym for publisher Lawrence Wright). During this time, the pair would produce “Among My Souvenirs” (a Connie Francis hit in 1959), “Mistakes” (a Vera Lynn hit recording) and “Shepherd of the Hills” (a hit for the Jack Hylton Orchestra).

Returning to the United States, Leslie continued to produce hit songs through the 1930’s and 40’s. His catalog boasts standards such as “Moon Over Miami”, “On Treasure Island”, “For Me and My Gal”, “That Italian Rag”, “When Ragtime Rosie Ragged the Rosary”, “Lord, Have Mercy on the Married Man”, “Where Was Moses When the Lights Went Out?”, “He’d Have to Get Under”, “Put It On, Take it Off”, “When the Grown Up Ladies Act Like Babies”, “America, I Love You”, “Hello Hawaii, How Are You”, “In the Gold Fields of Nevada”, “All the Quakers Are Shoulder Shakers”, “Take Your Girlie to the Movies”, “Take me to the Land of Jazz”, “on the Gin Gin Ginny Shore”, “Oogie Oogie Wa Wa”, “Rose of the Rio Grande”, “Home in Pasadena”, “I’ll Take Her Back If She Wants to Come Back”, “Mistakes”, “Kansas Kitty”, “Tain’t No Sin”, “Romance”, “I Remember You from Somewhere”, “By the River Saine Marie”, “You’ve Got Me in the Palm of Your Hand”, “Crazy People”, “I Wake Up Smiling”, “The Moon Was Yellow”, “In a Little Gypsy Tearoom”, “Cling to Me”, “A Little Bit Independent”, “Midnight Blue”, “Robins and Roses”, “It Looks Like Rain in Cherry Blossom Lane”, “At a Perfume Counter”, “We Must Be Vigilant”, “You’re Over the Hill” and “Oky Doky Tokyo”.

One of the most prolific composers and lyricists from his era, Leslie collaborated with writers such as Irving Berlin, Joe Burke, Fred Ahlert, James Monaco, Walter Donaldson, Archie Gottler, Maurie Abrams, Joe Young, Harry Warren, Pete Wendling, George Meyer and Ray Goetz.

Edgar Leslie died in 1976.

Wrote "Moon Over Miami"