Veteran Tin Pan Alley composer
A bevy of Billboard hits in the 30s and 40s
Joseph A. Burke was born in Philadelphia, PA on March 18, 1884. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Burke first appeared in the trade that would define the rest of his life: Hollywood films.
As an actor, Burke appeared in several films beginning with the role of Senator Keene in the 1915 production, “The Senator”. His final acting role came in 1929 in the film “The Show of Shows”. From that time on, Burke’s relationship with film would be strictly through song.
Under contract, Burke composed for films such as Gold Diggers of Broadway 1929, Hearts in Exile, Little Johnny Jones, She Couldn’t Say No, Hold Everything, Dancing Sweeties, Oh Sailor Behave, Top Speed, Sweethearts on Parade, Sally, Big Boy and Palooka also known as The Great Schnozzle.
Burke’s catalog holds a bevy of Billboard Number one hit songs including “Moon Over Miami” (1936 hit for Eddy Duchin); “Carolina Moon” (1929 hit for Gene Austin); “On Treasure Island” (1935 hit for Tommy Dorsey); “Dancing With Tears in My Eyes” (1930 hit for Nat Shilkret); and “Who Wouldn’t Love You” (1942 hit for Kay Kyser).
Other songs in the Joe Burke catalog include “Baby Your Mother”, “Tip Toe Through the Tulips”, “For You”, “Yearning”, “Oh, How I Miss You Tonight”, “A Little Bit Independent”, “In a Little Gypsy Tearoom”, “It Looks Like Rain in Cherry Blossom Lane”, “In the Valley of the Moon”, “Painting the Clouds with Sunshine”, “At a Perfume Counter”, “Rambling Rose”, “By the River of the Roses”, “The Kiss Waltz”, “She Was Just a Sailor’s Sweetheart”, “Robins and Roses”, “Cling To Me”, “Midnight Blue”, “We Must be Vigilant”, “Villanova Alma Mater” and “Getting Some Fun Out of Love”.
A composer and traditional pianist, Burke collaborated with several lyricists most notably Edgar Leslie, Al Dubin, Benny Davis, Mark Fisher and Charles Tobias.
Joe Burke died in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania on June 9, 1950.