Artist Details

Johnny Green

American pop composer, bandleader, and pianist Johnny Green wrote the majority of his hit songs during the 1930s, including his most famous tune, "Body and Soul." Born in 1908 in N.Y.C., Green went on to attend the New York Military Academy, and then Harvard, where he composed "Coquette" with lyricist Gus Kahn, and worked occasionally as an arranger, including arranging for Guy Lombardo. After graduating in 1928, Green obeyed his father's wishes and got a job on Wall Street, but quit after about a year of this to pursue his lifelong interest in music. 1930 brought Green two successes: the song "I'm Yours," written with lyricist E.Y. "Yip" Harburg; and his masterpiece, "Body and Soul," originally written for a vocalist Green used to accompany, Gertrude Lawrence (he also was accompanist to Ethel Merman in the early '30s). The next three years brought several hits co-written with his main collaborator, lyricist Ed Heyman, including "Out of Nowhere," "Rain, Rain, Go Away" (written by the duo with lyricist Mack David), "I Wanna Be Loved," and "I Cover the Waterfront." During this period, Green also worked as an arranger, composer, and conductor for Paramount Pictures' N.Y. studio until 1933, when he began touring the U.S. with his own dance band. Green was commissioned during the early '30s by popular bandleader Paul Whiteman and, as a result, wrote a work for orchestra and three pianos entitled "Night Club: Six Impressions."

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