Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

LOESSER, Frank

(b 29 June '10, NYC; d there 28 July '69) Songwriter. Never interested in anything but songwriting, after a long slow start he became one of the best. Wrote words for 'I Wish I Were Twins' '34 (record by Fats Waller), 'Moon Of Manakoora' (music by Alfred Newman, from film The Hurricane '37), 'Two Sleepy People' and 'Small Fry' with Hoagy Carmichael, 'I Don't Want To Walk Without You' with Jule Styne (for film Sweater Girl '42, hit record by Harry James and Helen Forrest), others. He wrote dummy tunes for his own lyrics for demos; 'Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition' was one of the biggest hits of WWII with his demo tune, from then on he wrote his own music, incl. 'Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year' '44 for film Christmas Holiday, 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' for Neptune's Daughter '49 (with Red Skelton and Esther Williams; hit records by Johnny Mercer and Margaret Whiting, Dinah Shore and Buddy Clark, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan, others), 'On A Slow Boat To China' (Kay Kyser, Eddy Howard, Freddy Martin, others), then shows: Where's Charley? '48 with Ray Bolger (adapted from English play Charley's Aunt, 1892), songs incl. 'My Darling, My Darling', 'Once In Love With Amy'; then masterpiece Guys And Dolls '50: 'A Bushel And A Peck', 'If I Were A Bell', 'I've Never Been In Love Before', 'Luck Be A Lady', more; also film Hans Christian Andersen '52 with Danny Kaye ('The Inch Worm', 'Thumbelina', 'No Two People' etc), shows The Most Happy Fella '56, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying '61, other shows and films. CBS owned Loesser's catalogue; Walter Yetnikoff gave it to Paul McCartney as an inducement to sign with them; they didn't make much money on McCartney, and a retired Mitch Miller growled, 'If I was a Columbia stockholder, I would sue for dilution of assets.'