The name Harry Warren should, like Harold Arlen’s, be more famous than it is. Warren was a native New Yorker who made his way out to Hollywood in the early Thirties just as movie musicals were evolving into a new exciting form of escapist entertainment. Working under contract to the pioneering Warner Brothers and in collaboration with cinema wizard Busby Berkeley, Harry Warren’s melodies became familiar to millions of fun-starved Depression moviegoers, the perfect musical backdrop to Berkeley’s astonishing visuals.
These songs (composed mostly in collaboration with lyricists Al Dubin and Johnny Mercer) are virtually synonymous with the gloomy Depression era they helped brighten:
“I Found a Million Dollar Baby,” “You’re My Everything,” “Would You Like To Take a Walk?”, “Forty Second Street,” “Shuffle Off To Buffalo,” “You’re Getting To Be a Habit With Me,” “Shadow Waltz,” “We’re In the Money,” “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “I’ll String Along with You,” “I Only Have Eyes for You,” “About a Quarter to Nine,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Lulu’s Back in Town,” Remember Me,” “September in the Rain,” “Jeepers Creepers,” “You Must’ve Been a Beautiful Baby.”
In the Forties, Warren switched from Warner Brothers to 20th Century Fox and made an equally stunning impact on the WWII generation:
“Down Argentine Way,” “I Know Why,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” “There Will Never Be Another You,” “At Last,” “I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo,” “Serenade in Blue,” “I Had the Craziest Dream,” “No, Love, No Nothin,” “You'”ll Never Know.”
After an unhappy parting of the ways with Fox, Warren added luster to MGM’s musical catalogue in the Forties with “This Heart of Mine,” “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe,” “The More I See You.”
In the final chapter of his career, Warren wrote two of the best remembered songs of the 1950s: “That’s Amore” and “An Affair To Remember.”
A simple statistic to emphasize Harry Warren’s place in American music: between 1935 and 1950, the mighty, highly visible Irving Berlin would enjoy an impressive 25 Number One hits. In that same time period, the uncelebrated but much-sung Harry Warren would enjoy 33 Number One hits.
If the man´s scandal-free, private life was uneventful, his professional life was not. Fred Miller’s Lecture-In-Song happily includes dozens of the magnificent Warren melodies that cheered a nation, the enviable output of the man affectionately known as America´s Best Known Unknown Songwriter.
If you would like to engage Fred Miller for one of his Lectures-in-Song, please contact him directly at any time. For a full listing of all Lectures, click here.
Fred Miller’s Lectures-In-Song comprise a series of solo programs, each an historical, anecdotal and musical profile of some great personality or important aspect of American Popular Song. These Lectures are delivered by singer/pianist/narrator Miller at the piano, and each reflects his lifetime passion and appreciation for great music. He studied classical piano in his hometown of Albuquerque from ages 7-15 but early on gave up any notion of music as a profession. At that time, Fred assumed a musical career was either one devoted to the rigid discipline of classical music or being a freewheeling rock star, and he accurately decided he had no aptitude for either. However, at age 22, upon hearing Ella Fitzgerald sing Cole Porter, he found his calling and life’s mission.
Through the Seventies and Eighties, Miller studied and absorbed in minute detail the life and times and songs of nearly all the great American composers and lyricists who thrived during Broadway & Hollywood’s Golden Age between the two World Wars. In 1987, he founded Silver Dollar Productions in order to produce operettas, dramas, musicals and small cabarets. Silver Dollar Productions required ensemble casts, props, costumes and, most significantly, the challenges of publicity and selling tickets, and for a dozen busy years, the company presented an unbroken string of varied and highly lauded performances.
In 1999, Miller was simultaneously underwritten by both his local Hunterdon County Library and the Art Alliance of Philadelphia to present a series of six solo Lectures-In-Song, each devoted to one of the premiere Broadway/Hollywood songwriters: George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, Jerome Kern, and Harold Arlen.
In presenting history, biography and psychology while sitting at a piano singing the superlative songs of his heroes, Miller has found a single performing medium that utilizes most of his intellectual and musical passions.The list of Lectures-In-Song that began with six in 1999 is now more than seventy(and growing!), a joyful tribute to the boundlessly rich field of American Popular Song.