Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Today's Birthdays

Aarre Merikanto (1893-1958)
Nelson Eddy (1901-1967)
Leroy Anderson (1908-1975)
Frank Loesser (1910-1969)
Bernard Hermann (1911-1975)
Rafael Kubelik (1914-1996)
James Dick (1940)
Joelle Wallach (1946)
"Little Eva" Boyd 1945-2003)
Anne-Sophie Mutter (1963)


Antoine de Saint Exupéry (1900-1944)
James K. Baxter (1926-1972)
Oriana Fallaci (1929-2006)

From The Writer Almanac:

Today is the birthday of composer, librettist, and lyricist Frank Loesser, born in New York City in 1910. His father was a classical pianist and a piano teacher who tried to discourage his son from pursuing popular music, but to no avail. Because his father didn’t approve, Loesser was largely self-taught. In the late 1920s, he became a staff lyricist for a music publisher, and none of his songs really went anywhere until Fats Waller recorded “I Wish I Were Twins” in 1934. Loesser also started performing in nightclubs in the mid-1930s; two years later, he moved to Hollywood. He got a job with Universal Studios, and then Paramount, and wrote lyrics for several notable popular composers, including Hoagy Carmichael (“Two Sleepy People” and “Small Fry”).

He was assigned to the Army’s Special Services as a songwriter during World War II; the first song for which he wrote the music as well as the lyrics was also the first big hit of the war: “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.” He wrote the official song of the U.S. infantry — “What Do You Do in the Infantry?” — and also wrote morale-boosting songs for the shows that soldiers put on in camps.

In 1944, he wrote “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” which he sold to MGM in 1948 for the film Neptune’s Daughter. The song won the Academy Award and would become a perennial Christmas season favorite. He went to Broadway and won the Tony Award for music and lyrics for Guys and Dolls (1950) and for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1961), which also won a Pulitzer Prize for drama.

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