Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.

Tsunami and Me

Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....

Saturday, January 26, 2019

There's Something About Harry: CalJas

Ron Levy, Becky Garcia-Hughes, Dale Boatman, Luther Hughes

When I think of Broadway, I think of Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern. On the other hand, what names pop into my mind for movie scores? Well, right now John Williams leaps forward and then I'm stuck. 

Tonight, for instance, I'm going to see the the 1952 film classic, "Singing in the Rain." Who scored it? I had to look it up. Here's a list of that film's great songs and who wrote them:   

That year, 1952, I was in tenth grade, and though I loved all these songs, primarily the toe-tapping twinkly ones, I didn't become moonstruck and dreamy when I heard them over and over again on Your Hit Parade.

But, oh, the year before! What a different story. In ninth grade I developed a crush on a classmate whose name I can't quite recall. But I well remember how I'd moon for him every time I heard Peggy Lee singing "I Only Have Eyes for You." I had no idea who composed that song. In those days few popular recording artists wrote their own music. It wasn't until years later I that I learned how many of the pop hits that reflected not only my era, but my parents' as well, had been written by Harry Warren. Recognize his name? I'm not surprised.

Recently at a CalJas house concert, I marveled as I learned of his astonishing productivity. Harry was born just two years after my Grandma Gertie on Christmas 1893 as Salvatore Antonio Guaragna,
An American composer and lyricist, despite his name, Warren was the first major songwriter to write primarily for film. He was nominated for the an Academy Award for Best Song eleven times and won three Oscars for composing “Lullaby of Broadway," "You'll Never Know," and "On the Atchison, 
Topeka and the Santa Fe." Harry additionally wrote the music for the first blockbuster film musical, "42nd Street,"  choreographed by Busby Berkeley, with whom he would collaborate on many musical films.

Over a career spanning four decades, Warren wrote more than 800 songs. And he wrote "I Only Have Eyes for You." Listening to that song sung at a CalJas house concert last Sunday, I drew moonstruck and dreamy once again, holding my beau's hand and realizing that I'm still wild about Harry.

Here's more about this remarkable composer:

The Prodigious Harry Warren


  1. Music penetrates our being leaving permanent imprints, wrapped with lovely memories, whose name we may not recall, but oh, that music is forever ours! <3

    1. It always evokes the feelings, if not the specific details!

  2. You always divulge such interesting information. Music speaks to the soul.