Kahn, Gus, 1886-1941

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1886-11-06
Death 1941-10-08
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Lyricist.

From the description of Autograph card signed : [New York], to Irene Gallagher, May 15/1923, 1923 May 15. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270923814

Gus Kahn, (born 6 November 1886 in Koblenz, Germany; died 8 October 1941, Beverly Hills, Calif.) was a prolific lyricist during the 20s and 30s for Tin Pan Alley, stage and films. After being taken to the U.S. by his immigrant parents in 1891 when the family settled in Chicago, he started writing songs while still at school. However, it was not until 1908 when he collaborated with his future wife, the composer Grace LeBoy, that he had some success with I wish I had a girl. His first big hit came in 1915 with Memories, written with composer Egbert van Alstyne. In the following year, Kahn collaborated with him again, and Tony Jackson, for Pretty baby, which became one of Kahn's biggest hits, and was featured in the biopics Jolson sings again (1949) and The Eddie Cantor story (1953); two artists who benefited substantially from Kahn's output. Pretty baby was just one of a series of Kahn "baby" songs which evoke the jazz age of the 20s. These included, Yes sir, that's my baby, There ain't no maybe In my baby's eyes, My baby just cares for me, I wonder where my baby is tonight and Sing me a baby song, all written with composer Walter Donaldson, Khan's major collaborator. In 1933, Kahn went to Hollywood to work on music for various movies, from the Marx Brothers' A day at the races, to Spring Parade, starring Deanna Durbin. In 1933, his first Hollywood project, with composer Vincent Youmans, was Flying down to Rio, which featured the title song and The carioca. It was also the first film to bring together Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. (It was Youmans' last original film score before he died in 1946.) For the next eight years Kahn's output for films was prolific. They included songs for Bottoms up, Caravan, Hollywood party, Kid millions, One night of love, The girl rriend, Love me forever, Thanks a million, San Francisco, Rose Marie, Three smart girls, Everybody sing, Girl of the Golden West, Lillian Russell and Ziegfeld Girl. Kahn realised a life-long ambition to write with Jerome Kern with his last song, 1941's Day dreaming. Throughout his career Kahn had many different collaborators, including band leader Isham Jones, Richard Whiting, Whiting and Ray Egan, Whiting and Harry Akst, Ted Fio Rito, Ernie Erdman, Elmer Schoebel and Billy Meyers, Erdman and Dan Russo, Wilbur Schwandt and Fabian Andre, Charlie Rossoff, Carmen Lombardo and Johnny Green, Neil Moret, Wayne King, Matty Malneck and Fud Livingston, Malneck and Frank Signorelli and Victor Schertzinger. In the 1951 movie, I'll See You In My Dreams, based on his life, Kahn was portrayed by Danny Thomas, and Grace LeBoy by Doris Day.

From the description of Papers, ca.1920s-1941. (University of California, Los Angeles). WorldCat record id: 320047863

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Subjects:

  • Composers--Archival resources

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not available for this record

Places:

  • United States (as recorded)