Friday, February 15, 2013
Composer Harold Arlen was born as Hyman Arluck on February 15, 1905, in Buffalo, NY. His twin brother died the next day. He played the piano as a youth and became a vaudeville accompanist in New York. In 1929 he began composing songs with lyricist Ted Koehler, including hit standards “Get Happy,” “Let’s Fall in Love” and “Stormy Weather.” In the 1930s in California, Arlen composed for movies, including all the music for MGM’s “The Wizard of Oz” (pictured, 1939) with lyricist E.Y. "Yip" Harburg. Later he composed numerous hits with lyricist Johnny Mercer, including "That Old Black Magic," "Come Rain or Come Shine"" and "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)." His most famous song, "Over the Rainbow," won an Oscar but was initially cut from the movie. It was voted the 20th century's No. 1 song by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.