The songwriter of the month for December 2016 is Harry Warren.
The man who became Harry Warren was born as Salvatore Antonio Guaragna on December 24, 1893. He was one of eleven children of Italian immigrants. His father changed the family name to Warren.
Harry showed an early interest in music and taught himself how to play his father’s accordion. He sang in his church choir and learned to play drums. By the age of 14 he was a professional drummer and at the age of 16 he dropped out of school to play with his godfather’s traveling band. While touring, he taught himself to play piano. In 1915 he began to work at the Vitagraph Motion Picture Studios, where he performed a variety of jobs, including playing mood music for the actors. In 1918, he joined the Navy, when he began to write songs.
Harry Warren was a prolific songwriter, writing over 800 songs between 1918 and 1981; over 500 of which were published. Warren wrote almost exclusively for Hollywood films. With Al Dubin, he wrote the score for the blockbuster film musical 42nd Street, which began his association with director Busby Berkeley. They worked together on 18 films.
Warren won three Academy Awards for Best Song: “Lullaby of Broadway” with Al Dubin in 1934, “You’ll Never Know” with Mack Gordon in 1 943, and “On the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe” with Johnny Mercer in 1946.
Warren died in Los Angeles on September 22, 1981.