Billy Baskette

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Billy Baskette ( William James Baskette; October 20, 1884 – November 8, 1949) was an American pianist and composer who wrote popular songs of the Tin Pan Alley era.[1][2][3][4] He also wrote one of the most successful World War I war songs, "Goodbye Broadway, Hello France".


Baskette was born on October 20, 1984 in Henderson, Kentucky[clarification needed]. His career in music began as a bassist in a circus band; he also was involved in vaudeville performances as a dancer and a pianist. Later, he became a staff composer for various music publishing firms in Chicago and New York City.[5] He died in Culver City, California on November 8, 1949.

Compositional work[edit]

Baskette was a part of the Tin Pan Alley movement of music, and in 1918, there was a focus on music called "goodbye songs" referring to U.S. soldiers who were deployed to France during World War I. One of Baskette's most notable works was "Goodbye Broadway, Hello France," which was a hit song of the period.[5]

Selected compositions[edit]

Leo Feist, Inc.

  • "Hawaiian Butterfly", lyrics by George A. Little (1890–1946); music by Baskette & Joseph Santley (1917) OCLC 10531685
  • "Goodbye Broadway, Hello France", C. Francis Reisner & Benny Davis; music by Baskette (1918) OCLC 78521206
  • "Take a Letter To My Daddy Over There", lyrics by Roger Lewis & Bobby Crawford; music by Baskette (1918) OCLC 25693050
  • "Jerry, You Warra A Warrior In the War", lyrics by Dannie O'Neil, music by Baskette (1919) OCLC 80134954

Shapiro, Bernstein & Co., New York

Berlin & Snyder, Inc.

H. Waterson, New York

  • "Dream Pal", lyrics & music by Baskette (1925) OCLC 20597752

McCarthy & Fisher, Inc.

J. Albert & Son

  • "Tell the Rose", lyrics & music by Baskette (1924) OCLC 221634448

Milton Weil Music Co., Chicago

  • "Talking to the Moon", lyrics by George A. Little; music by Baskette (1926) OCLC 15736770
  • "Let Me Spent the Journey's End With You", lyrics by Baskette, music by Paul Ash (1927) OCLC 29000202
  • "Hoosier Sweetheart", lyrics & music by Joe Goodwin, Paul Ash, & Baskette; arr. by Rube Bennett (1927) OCLC 18901353
  • "The Man In The Moon Told Me", lyrics & music by Baskette, Theo Alban ( Theophilus Lewis Alban; 1897–1951), & Paul Ash; arr. by Rube Bennett (1927)
  • "My Secret of Happiness", lyrics & music by Baskette & Theo Alban ( Theophilus Lewis Alban; 1897–1951); arr. by Rube Bennett (1927)
  • "Night Time in Picardy", lyrics & music by Baskette & Theo Alban ( Theophilus Lewis Alban; 1897–1951); arr. by Rube Bennett (1927) OCLC 498433510
  • "Save a Little Girl For Me", lyrics & music by Baskette & Theo Alban ( Theophilus Lewis Alban; 1897–1951); arr. by Rube Bennett (1927)
  • "Tune In To-Night", lyrics & music by Baskette, arr. by Rube Bennett (1927)
  • "Right After They Leave My Arms", lyrics & music by Rube Bennett, Ed Rose, & Baskette (1927)
  • "One Hour of Love", lyrics by Baskette, music by Rube Bennett (1927)
  • "Dream Train", words by Charles Newman, music by Baskette (1928) OCLC 2220252

Harold Rossiter Music Co., Chicago

  • "I Could Waltz On Forever With You Sweetheart", lyrics by Rube Bennett, music by Baskette (1927) OCLC 367816735
  • "Ula-hoo", lyrics by Baskette, music by Rube Bennett (1927)
  • "Love Is Like That", lyrics by Paul Ash, music by Baskette (1927) OCLC 498219305, 28095117 and 498278363

C. Bayha Music, New York (Charlies Anthony Bayha; 1891–1957)

  • "That's When I Learned To Love You", lyrics by Bartley Costello, music by Baskette (1929) OCLC 775676503

Harms, Inc.

  • "The Perfect Dream", lyrics & music by Baskette & Theo Alban ( Theophilus Lewis Alban; 1897–1951) (1933) OCLC 498628674

Bobbins Music Corp., New York

  • "Honolulu Sweetheart", lyrics & music by Baskette (1927)

Billy Baskette Music Co., New York

  • "Old Shoes", lyrics & music by Baskette (1927)

Publisher unknown

Mason Music Company, New York

  • "The Blue Eagle Is Flying High", lyrics & music by Baskette & Theo Alban ( Theophilus Lewis Alban; 1897–1951) (1933)

Joe Davis, Inc., New York (Joseph Morton Davis; 1896–1978)

  • "Carolina Lullaby", words and music by Cecelia G. Reeker (née Huenergardt; 1897–1981), Ed Rose, & Baskette (1933) OCLC 497309474 and 671311436

Mort Beck Music Co.

  • "Whistlin' Joe From Kokomo", lyrics & music by Baskette, Harry Edelheit, & Arthur Birman (1933) OCLC 497328130

"Baby's Prayer Will Soon Be Answered" was written in 1918 in response to Baskette's earlier song "Just A Baby's Prayer at Twilight (For Her Daddy Over There)", a pair of late war songs hoping for a soldier's safe return.[6]


  1. ^ "Billy Basket, 64, Pianist, Songwriter", New York Times, November 11, 1949
  2. ^ The Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music, Composers and Their Music, Supplement, by William H. Rehrig, Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1996 OCLC 24606813
  3. ^ The ASCAP Biographical Dictionary, Third edition, New York: American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, 1966 OCLC 598257
  4. ^ ASCAP Biographical Dictionary, Fourth edition, compiled for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, by Jaques Cattell Press, New York: R.R. Bowker, 1980 OCLC 7065938
  5. ^ a b Shearer, edited by Benjamin F. (2007). Home front heroes : a biographical dictionary of Americans during wartime. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. p. 61. ISBN 9780313334207. 
  6. ^ Billy Baskettte, Germantown, Tennessee: The Parlor Songs Academy

Further Reading[edit]

  • Vaché, Warren W. The Unsung Songwriters: America's Masters of Melody. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press, 2000. ISBN 0810835703

External Links[edit]