b. Feb. 15, 1905, Buffalo, NY, USA.
d. April 23, 1986, New York, NY, UDA.
né: Hyman Arluck.
~Biography by Ron Wynn 
An American songwriting legend and son of a cantor, Harold Arlen was fascinated early in his life with the sound of ragtime.
While singing in his father's synagogue he also played ragtime piano in local Buffalo bands and accompanied silent films. After arranging for the Buffalodians, Arlen moved to New York. His jobs included arranging for Fletcher Henderson, and serving as a rehearsal pianist for radio and theatre. A vamp he devised while practicing was later turned into the song "Get Happy," with lyrics from Ted Koehler. Arlen and Koehler wrote eight revues for the Cotton Club, one of which included the anthem "Stormy Weather," first performed by Ethel Waters.
Though he moved to Hollywood in the '30s, Arlen kept penning songs for Broadway, working with other lyricists like Dorothy Fields, Les Robin, Johnny Mercer, Yip Harburg and Ira Gershwin as well as Koehler. His list of hits and accomplishments is amazing; they include songs for the films Take a Chance, Star-Spangled Rhythm, The Sky's the Limit, and his most famous, The Wizard of Oz.
Arlen also composed tunes for the plays Earl Carroll Vanities, Rhythm Mania, and St. Louis Woman. 
The incredible array of unforgettable compositions include "I've Got the World on a String," "I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues," "The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea," "Come Rain or Come Shine," "It's Only a Paper Moon" and "Over The Rainbow." 
Numerous jazz artists have recorded his songs, as well as pop performers across the spectrum. Arlen made a few albums as a performer, among them sessions with Duke Ellington and Barbra Streisand. At present only one Arlen album, Harold Sings Arlen, with Streisand is available and it's not on CD.
Harold Arlen - Home

James "Kokomo" Arnold
Blues vocals (left handed) bottleneck guitarist
b. Lovejoys Station, GA, USA
d. Nov. 8 1968, Chicago, IL, USA. (Coronary)
Age: 67.
His cousin, John Wiggs, taught him to play the guitar, but music was just his hobby. As a young man, Arnold earned his living working at various jobs including Farmhand (in Buffalo, NY) and Steelworker (in Pittsburgh, PA). In 1929, after the U. S. Congress had prohibited the sale and consumption of Alcoholic beverages, Arnold relocated to Chicago, IL, and became a "bootlegger", an activity he continued until 1933, when the 21st Amendment to the U. S. Constitution ended Prohibition. After that, he was "forced" to make his living as a musician.
On Sept. 10, 1934, Arnold made his first recording, and received his nickname from his Decca release of "Old Original Kokomo Blues", a "cover" of the 'Scrapper' Blackwell blues song about the "Kokomo" brand of coffee. (One of his contemporaries, Delta bluesman Robert Johnson, turned "Old Original Kokomo Blues" into "Sweet Home Chicago".) During his releatively short career, Arnold would make 88 sides (7 of which are lost).

A left-handed slide-guitarist, his intense playing and vocals combined to make him a major influence upon many of his contemporaries, including Peetie Wheatstraw and Amos Eaton. Later, even Elvis Pressley released one of Arnold's tunes "Milkcow Calf's Blues". In 1938 "Kokomo" Arnold found a steady "Day" job working in a Chicago factory, and left the music business. In 1962, he was "rediscovered" by researchers, but showed little interest in returning to the music business.

Walter Donaldson, Composer
b. Brooklyn, NY
d.July 15, 1947, Santa Monica, CA, USA
During the Roaring '20s, songwriter Walter Donaldson saluted the traditional, down-home aspects of American life, not only with songs like "My Mammy," "My Blue Heaven," "Isn't She the Sweetest Thing," "My Baby Just Cares for Me," and "Love Me or Leave Me," but also with his parade of state-themed (usually Southern) songs: "Back Home in Tennessee," "Blue Kentucky Moon," "Carolina in the Morning," "Georgia," "Lazy Lou'siana Moon," "Let It Rain, Let It Pour (I'll Be in Virginia in the Morning)," "My Ohio Home," "Nevada," and "Sweet Indiana Home."
Born decidedly removed from Dixie in Brooklyn, Donaldson grew up in a musical family but never studied music himself. Around 1910, he began working as a demonstrator at a music publisher, but was fired for writing his own songs on work time. Just prior to American involvement in World War I, he wrote his first major hits, "Back Home in Tennessee" (lyrics by William Jerome), "The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady" (lyrics by Monty C. Brice), and "You're a Million Miles From Nowhere" (lyrics by Sam M. Lewis and Joe Young).
While entertaining American troops at one army base, he met Irving Berlin; after the war, he settled into a job with Berlin's music-publishing company and began writing the biggest hits of his career.
During the 1920s, Donaldson was arguably the busiest songwriter in the nation; he wrote hundreds of songs, and earned hits with "My Mammy," "Yes Sir, That's My Baby," "Isn't She the Sweetest Thing," "My Sweetie Turned Me Down," "For My Sweetheart," "At Sundown," "My Blue Heaven," "Makin' Whoopee," "My Baby Just Cares for Me," "Love Me or Leave Me," "In the Middle of the Night," and "You Didn't Have to Tell Me."
Donaldson formed his own publishing company in 1928, and though his hits began to dry up in the early '30s, he contributed to many films during the decade. He continued writing until 1943, and presided over his publishing firm until his death in 1947.
~ John Bush

Walter 'Rosetta' Fuller
b. Dyersburg, TN, USA.
d. April 27, 2003

Taft Jordan, Trumpet/vocals
b. Florence, SC, USA.
d. 1981, New York, NY, USA.
A fine trumpeter, Taft Jordan was known early in his career (when he joined Chick Webb) as a Louis Armstrong sound-alike both on trumpet and vocals. In fact, his recording of "On the Sunny Side of the Street" was so close to Armstrong's live show that when Armstrong got around to documenting it the following year, some listeners thought he was copying Jordan.
Taft Jordan had played and recorded with the Washboard Rhythm Kings before starting his long stint with Webb (1933-1942), which continued after the drummer's death when the band was fronted by Ella Fitzgerald. Jordan was (along with Bobby Stark) Webb's main trumpet soloist throughout the 1930s and he gradually developed an original sound of his own. He gained a lot of attention during his period with Duke Ellington (1943-1947), although Jordan maintained a lower profile during his last 24 years.
He worked at the Savannah Club in New York with Lucille Dixon (1949-1953), toured with Benny Goodman (1958), played in show bands and the New York Jazz Repertory Company, and had his own group. Taft Jordan recorded four titles as a leader in 1935 and one album apiece for Mercury, Aamco, and Moodsville during 1960-1961.
~ Scott Yanow

Notable Events Occurring 
On This Date Include: 

Duke Ellington and his orchestra
recorded "Take the "A" Train" (RCA VIctor)
Take the "A" Train - Wikipedia

Putney Dandridge, piano
died in NJ, USA. 
Age: 44 
Putney Dandridge: Information from

Nat "King" Cole, vocals/piano
died in Santa Monica, CA, USA. 
Age: 48 

"Little Walter", harmonica/songwriter
died in Chicago, IL, USA. 
Age: 37

Pee Wee Russell, clarinet
died in Alexandria, VA, USA.
Age: 62 
Pee Wee Russell

Joel Hopkins, guitar
died in Galveston, TX, USA.
Age: 71

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Six Brown Brothers
  • Chicken Reel Comedy Medley - "Poet and Peasant" - "Chicken Reel" - "Virginia Lee" - "Bull Frog And The Coon"


Piron's New Orleans Orchestra - Bright Star Blues

Waring's Pennsylvanians - Sleep

Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra


Carolina Club Orchestra
  • Carolina Moon

Earl Hines and his Orchestra - Beau-Koo Jack


Eddie Lang - Pickin' My Way

Duke Ellington and his Orchestra
  • Sophisticated Lady


Cliff Edwards "Ukulele Ike" - I Got Shoes - You Got Shoesies


Andy Kirk and his Twelve Clouds Of Joy - Skies Are Blue
  • Downstream
  • In The Groove


~Music by Harold Arlen.

~Lyrics by E.Y. (Yip) Harburg

I never feel a thing is real
When I'm away from you
Out of your embrace
The world's a temporary parking place

Mmm, mm, mm, mm
A bubble for a minute
Mmm, mm, mm, mm
You smile, the bubble has a rainbow in it

Say, it's only a paper moon
Sailing over a cardboard sea
But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me

Yes, it's only a canvas sky
Hanging over a muslin tree
But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me

Without your love
It's a honky-tonk parade
Without your love
It's a melody played in a penny arcade

It's a barnum and bailey world
Just as phony as it can be
But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me

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