Lyricist for dozens of American Songbook hits

Browse Song Catalog: ASCAP

Gus Kahn


His catalog contains one of the greatest collections of songs from the first half of the 20th century

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 Had To Be You”, “I Wish I Had a Girl”, “Carolina in the Morning”, “No, No, Nora”, “I’ll See You in My Dreams”, “Toot, Toot, Tootsie, Goodbye”, “On the Alamo”, “Think of Me”, “Memories”, “Side by Side”, “Charley My Boy”, “Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby!”, “The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else”, “That Certain Party”, “I Never Knew”, “Who’s That Knockin’ at My Door”, “You Tell Me Your Dreams”, “I’m Bringing a Red Red Rose”, “Makin’ Whoopee”, “Little Orphan Annie”, “Beloved”, “Coquette”, “Liza”, “The Waltz You Saved for Me”, “Dream a Little Dream of Me”, “I’m Through with Love”, “Lazy Day”, “Flying Down to Rio”, “The Carioca”, “Orchids in the Moonlight”, “One Night of Love”, “Thanks a Million”, “Someone to Care for Me”, “San Francisco”, “Tomorrow is Another Day”, “A Message from the Man in the Moon”, “Blue Venetian Waters”, “A Love Song of Long Ago”, “Shadows on the Moon”, “Who Are We to Say?”, “Josephine”, “How Strange”, “You Stepped Out of a Dream”, “It’s Foolish but It’s Fun”, “When April Sings” and “Day Dreaming”.

Gus Kahn died in Beverly Hills, California on October 8, 1941.

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