Al Hoffman

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For the dragracer, see Al Hofmann.
Not to be confused with Albert Hoffman (disambiguation).

Al Hoffman (Minsk, September 25, 1902 – New York, New York July 21, 1960) was a Russian born American song composer.[1] He was a hit songwriter active in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, usually co-writing with others and responsible for number one hits through each decade, many of which are still sung and recorded today. He was posthumously made a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984. The popularity of Hoffman's song, "Mairzy Doats", co-written with Jerry Livingston and Milton Drake, was such that newspapers and magazines wrote about the craze. Time magazine titled one article "Our Mairzy Dotage". The New York Times simply wrote the headline, "That Song".

Hoffman's songs were recorded by Frank Sinatra ("Close To You", "I'm Gonna Live Until I Die"), Billy Eckstine ("I Apologize") Perry Como ("Papa Loves Mambo", "Hot Diggity"), Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong ("Who Walks In When I Walk Out"), Nat "King" Cole, Tony Bennett, the Merry Macs, Sophie Tucker, Eartha Kitt, Patsy Cline, Patti Page ("Allegheny Moon"), Bette Midler, and most everyone who was a star of that era. In October, 2007, Hoffman's "I'm Gonna Live Til I Die" was the lead single from Queen Latifah's album, "Trav'lin' Light".

Though Hoffman had apparently little connection to Chicago, he wrote the Chicago Bears fight song "Bear Down, Chicago Bears" in 1941 under the pseudonym Jerry Downs.[2]

Biography[edit]

Hoffman was born in Minsk in Russia (now Belarus). His parents moved to Seattle, Washington in the United States when he was six. After graduating from high school in Seattle, he started his own band, playing the drums, and moved to New York City in 1928 to pursue a music career. Though he continued playing the drums in night club bands and selling bagels door-to-door on Broadway, he began writing songs, collaborating with other songwriters such as Leon Carr, Leo Corday, Mann Curtis, Mack David, Milton Drake, Al Goodhart, Walter Kent, Sammy Lerner, Jerry Livingston, Dick Manning, Bob Merrill, Ed Nelson, and Maurice Sigler.

In 1934 he moved to London to work on stage productions and movies, co-writing the hit songs "She Shall Have Music" and "Everything Stops for Tea". He returned to the U.S. three years later.

In 1984 he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He has over 1,500 songs registered with A.S.C.A.P.

He died in New York City of prostate cancer, and was buried in New Jersey.

Partial list of published songs[edit]

Songs written by Al Hoffman and Dick Manning[edit]

Songs written by Al Hoffman, Dick Manning, and another collaborator[edit]

Songs written by Al Hoffman, Mack David, and Jerry Livingston[edit]

Songs written by Al Hoffman, Maurice Sigler, and Al Goodhart [edit]

Others[edit]

Trivia[edit]

Hoffman is the great Uncle of New York songwriter, performer and writer Josh Max.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ken Bloom American Song: Songwriters Page 477 2001 "Al Hoffman Composer, lyricist. Born: Minsk, Russia, September 25, 1902. Died: New York, New York, July 21, 1960. Came to United States in 1908. Main collaborators: Al Goodhart, Maurice Sigler, Ed Nelson, Sammy Lerner, Dick Manning, ...
  2. ^ "Bears Fight Song Lyrics". Chicago Bears. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  3. ^ "Bears fight song". chicagotribune.com. 2008-09-03. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 

External links[edit]