HAROLD ARLEN by Edward Jablonski

HAROLD ARLEN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A biography of the composer, ""Happy With The Blues"", has its emphasis on the songs and music he has written, how they came into being, and what kind of a person Harold Arlen is. Born Hyman Arluck in Buffalo, N.Y., he was the son of a devout and music loving cantor but traditional ways did not rub off on Hyman when he found popular music, and he was soon playing in movie houses, questionable districts, organizing his own band, singing, arranging and playing the piano. Eventually there was New York and night clubs; then Harlem where song writing with Ted Koehler as lyricist kept him busy turning out Cotton Club shows. Still preferring to be a performer, vaudeville was next, but the songs won out and from New York, to Hollywood, and New York again he hit the hits in moving pictures, musicals, book shows, the latest here Jamaica, Saratoga Trunk. Other lyricists were Harburg, Mercer, Capote and there are many names associated with his songs -- Merman, Garland, Horne, Waters, etc., while dancers, producers, directors, musicians, publishers are all in the picture. More a biography of a profession, this examines words and lyrics, and the craft of songs with an ""authentic ring"". Arlen, as a person, is not as notable as the astonishing number and quality of his popular pieces. There is a chronology of works, and a discography.

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 1960
Publisher: Doubleday