Harry Akst

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Harry Akst
Born (1894-08-15)August 15, 1894
New York, United States
Died March 31, 1963(1963-03-31) (aged 68)
Hollywood, California, United States
Occupation(s) Songwriter
Instruments Piano
Associated acts Irving Berlin, Sam M. Lewis, Joe Young

Harry Akst (August 15, 1894 – March 31, 1963)[1] was an American songwriter, who started out his career as a pianist in vaudeville accompanying singers such as Nora Bayes, Frank Fay and Al Jolson.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Akst was born in New York, United States.

For four years, he worked for Bayes. Then in 1916, he enlisted in the army and was at Camp Upton when he met Irving Berlin (in 1921 they would write "Home Again Blues").[3] His most notable success came with the song he wrote in 1925 with Sam M. Lewis and Joe Young: "Dinah". It would go on to multiple hit recordings by Bing Crosby, The Boswell Sisters, Ethel Waters, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, The Mills Brothers, Sam Donahue, and Ted Lewis.

His movie scores include Bulldog Drummond, The Squall, This Is Heaven, On with the Show, Broadway Babies, The Mississippi Gambler, No, No, Nanette, Song of the West, The Song of the Flame, Lethernecking, Palmy Days, The Kid From Spain, Dinah, Professional Sweetheart, Glamour, Stand Up and Cheer!, Change of Heart, The Silver Streak, Paddy O'Day, Star For A Night, Fight For Your Lady, Up the River, Battle of Broadway, Island in the Sky, Harvest Melody, Rosie the Riveter and This Time For Keeps.[3]

Akst worked on the Broadway production of Artists and Models (1927), eventually moving to Hollywood to continue songwriting for Broadway musicals. He appeared as the rehearsal pianist "Gerry" in 42nd Street (1933).

Harry Akst died in Hollywood, California, on March 31, 1963, at the age of 69.[1][3]

He was inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1983.[1]

Filmography[edit]

Film
Year Film Song(s)
1929 Frances Shelley and the Four Eton Boys "Am I Blue?" (uncredited)
Saturday's Children "I Still Believe In You"
Bulldog Drummond "(I Says To Myself Says I) There's The One For Me"
This Is Heaven "This Is Heaven"
On with the Show "Welcome Home", "Let Me Have My Dreams", "Am I Blue?", "Lift the Juleps to Your Two Lips", "In the Land of Let's Pretend", "Don't It Mean a Thing to You?", "Birmingham Bertha", "Wedding Day"
She Goes to War "Joan", "There Is a Happy Land'
Segar Ellis and His Embassy Club Orchestra "Am I Blue?"
Broadway Babies "Wishing and Waiting for Love", "Jig, Jig, Jigaloo"
So Long Letty "Am I Blue", "Let Me Have My Dreams", "Clowning", "My Beauty Shop", "My Stronngest Weakness Is You", "One Sweet Little Yes"
Is Everybody Happy? "Wouldn't It Be Wonderful?", "I'm The Medicine Man For The Blues", "Samoa", "New Orleans", "In The Land Of Jazz", "Start The Band"
The Mississippi Gambler "Father Mississippi"
The Show of Shows "Just an Hour of Love", "Your Love is All I Crave"
The Sacred Flame "The Sacred Flame"
Glorifying the American Girl "Baby Face" (uncredited)
The Squall "Gypsy Charmer"
1930 Minstrel Days "Nobody Cares If I'm Blue"
The Jazz Rehearsal "Wouldn't It Be Wonderful"
Bubbles "In the Land of Let's Pretend"
No, No, Nanette "As Long As I'm with You"
Loose Ankles "Am I Blue?"
Song of the West "Come Back to Me"
Song of the Flame "The Goose Hangs High", "Liberty Song", "Passing Fancy", "Petrograd", "One Little Drink"
Dancing Sweeties "Wishing and Waiting For Love"
Leathernecking "All My Life"
Bright Lights "Nobody Cares If I'm Blue"
Check and Double Check "Am I Blue?"
The Booze Hangs High "One Little Drink" (uncredited)
Golden Dawn "Africa Smiles No More", "Mooda's Song", "My Heart's Love Call", "In a Jungle Bungalow"
1931 Husband's Holiday "What Price Love?"
Peach-O-Reno "From Niagara Falls to Reno" (uncredited)
Palmy Days There's Nothing Too Good For My Baby" (uncredited)
1932 Artistic Temper "That's What Heaven Means to Me"
High Pressure "I Can't Get Mississippi Off My Mind" (uncredited)
Big-Hearted Bosko "Am I Blue?"
The Yacht Party "Dinah" (uncredited)
A Modern Cinderella "Dinah"
Rockabye "Till the Real Thing Comes Along" (uncredited)
The Half-Naked Truth "O! Mister Carpenter" (uncredited)
1933 Dinah "Dinah"
Broadway Bad "Forget the Past"
Young and Healthy "Am I Blue?"
42nd Street Performer in "You're Getting to Be a Habit with Me" (uncredited)
The Keyhole "Am I Blue?" (uncredited)
Diplomaniacs "Ood-Gay Eye-bay", "Sing To Me", "On the Boulevard", "No More War"
Lilly Turner "Am I Blue?" (uncredited)
Professional Sweetheart "My Imaginary Sweetheart"
I Loved You Wednesday "Roll Your Bones"
Baby Face "Baby Face" (uncredited)
Rafter Romance "Dinah" (uncredited)
Rufus Jones for President "Am I Blue?" (uncredited)
Melodía prohibida "Pais ideal (The Islands Are Calling Me)", "Siempre (Till the End of Time)", "La melodía prohibida", "La canción del paria (Derelict Song)"
The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon "Am I Blue?" (uncredited)
Plane Nuts "Dinah" (uncredited)
Roman Scandals "Dinah" (uncredited)
Sittin' on a Backyard Fence "Am I Blue?"
1934 Glamour "Heaven on Earth"
Stand Up and Cheer! "Stand Up And Cheer!"
Let's Talk It Over "Heaven on Earth"
The Loudspeaker "Who But You", "Doo Ah Doo Ah Know What I'm Doing"
Now I'll Tell "Fooling with the Other Woman's Man", "Harlem Versus the Jungle"
The Cat's-Paw "I'm Just That Way"
The Man with Two Faces "Am I Blue?"
Pursued "Wanted - Someone (When the Right One Comes Along)"
Chained "Dinah"
Marie Galante "On a Little Side Street", "Je t'adore"
The Flame Song "One Little Drink"
Change of Heart "So What?" (uncredited)
1935 Under the Pampas Moon "Je t'adore"
After the Dance "Tomorrow Night" (uncredited), "Without You I'm Just Drifting" (uncredited)
Bright Lights "Nobody Cares If I'm Blue"
Paddy O'Day "Which is Which"
Tuned Out "Dinah" (uncredited)
1936 Trouble in Toyland "Dinah" (uncredited)
Can This Be Dixie? "Pick Pick Pickaninny", "Uncle Tom Is a Cabaret Now", "Does You Wanna Go To Heaven?", "It's Julep Time in Dixieland"
Rose Marie "Dinah" (uncredited)
The Music Goes 'Round "Rolling Along", "This Is Love", "Let's Go", "Suzannah", "There'll Be No South"
Star for a Night "Over a Cup of Coffee", "Down Around Malibu Way", "Holy Lie Production Routine #1", "At the Beach at Malibu (Hullabaloo at Malibu)"
Little Beau Porky "Am I Blue?"
Crack-Up "Top Gallante"
Don't Look Now "Am I Blue?" (uncredited)
1937 Woman-Wise "You're a Knockout"
The Holy Terror "Don't Sing-Everybody Swing", "There I Go Again", "I Don't Know Myself Since I Know You", "The Call of the Siren"
Round-Up Time in Texas "Dinah"
Sing and Be Happy "Pickles", "What a Beautiful Beginning", "Travelin' Light", "Sing and Be Happy"
She Had to Eat "Living on the Town", "When a Girl from Alabama Meets a Boy from Tennessee"
Wild and Woolly "Whoa Whoopee, Whoa Whipee (Yippy-I-O-I-Ay)"
Think Fast, Mr. Moto "The Shy Violet"
Talent Scout "Am I Blue?" (uncredited)
Porky's Garden "Am I Blue?" (uncredited)
The Lyin' Mouse "Am I Blue?"
Ali Baba Goes to Town "Dinah" (uncredited)
Big Town Girl "Argentine Swing,", "Don't Throw Kisses", "I'll Settle for Love"
September in the Rain "Am I Blue?" (uncredited)
Fight for Your Lady "Blame It on the Danube"
1938 International Settlement "You Made Me That Way", "Shrug"
Walking Down Broadway "Good-Bye My Heart (Good Luck to You)"
Battle of Broadway "Daughter of Mademoiselle", "Legionaires"
Rascals "Blue Is The Evening", "Take A Tip From A Gypsy", "Song Of A Gypsy Band:, "Carnival Song (What a Gay Occasion)"
Streamlined Swing "Dinah" (uncredited)
Up the River "It's The Strangest Thing", "Song of Rockwell", "Rhythmettes"
1939 A Day at the Zoo "Am I Blue?" (uncredited)
Boy Friend "Doin' The Socialite"
1940 Johnny Apollo "Baby Face" (uncredited)
Confederate Honey "Am I Blue?" (uncredited)
Slap Happy Pappy "Am I Blue?" (uncredited)
Cinderella's Feller "In the Land of Let's Pretend" (uncredited)
Shooting High "On the Rancho with My Pancho" (uncredited)
1941 Her First Beau "This Is Love"
Wabbit Twouble "Am I Blue?" (uncredited)
1942 Broadway "Dinah" (uncredited)
Casablanca "Baby Face" (uncredited)
Ding Dog Daddy "Am I Blue?" (uncredited)
1943 The Voice That Thrilled the World "Am I Blue?" (uncredited)
The Hard Way "Am I Blue?" (uncredited)
Chatterbox "Why Can't I Sing a Love Song?", "Welcome to Victory Ranch"
Lady of Burlesque "Take It off the E-String", "So This Is You"
Is Everybody Happy? "Am I Blue?"
Baby Puss "Baby Face"
1944 Rosie the Riveter "Why Can't I Sing a Love Song?"
Show Business "Dinah"
The Impatient Years "Who Said Dreams Don't Come True?"
Greenwich Village "Baby Face" (uncredited)
Pay Day "Am I Blue?"
Three Brothers "Am I Blue?" (uncredited)
To Have and Have Not "Am I Blue?"
Booby Hatched "Am I Blue?"
She's a Sweetheart "Who Said Dreams Don't Come True?"
1947 One Meat Brawl "Am I Blue?" (uncredited)
This Time for Keeps "Why Don't They Let Me Sing a Love Song?" (uncredited), "Little Big Shot"
Intrigue "Intrigue"
1948 The Street with No Name "Baby Face" (uncredited)
Let's Sing a Song from the Movies "Am I Blue?"
Cry of the City "Baby Face" (uncredited)
Riff Raffy Daffy "Baby Face" (uncredited)
1949 Bad Ol' Putty Tat "Baby Face" (uncredited)
The Grey Hounded Hare "Baby Face" (uncredited)
Jolson Sings Again "Baby Face" (uncredited)
Often an Orphan "Baby Face" (uncredited)
1950 Young Man with a Horn "Baby Face" (uncredited)
An Egg Scramble "Baby Face" (uncredited)
It's Hummer Time "Baby Face" (uncredited)
1951 Scent-imental Romeo "Baby Face" (uncredited)
Chow Hound "Baby Face" (uncredited), "Am I Blue?" (uncredited)
Strangers on a Train "Baby Face" (uncredited)
Ballot Box Bunny "Baby Face" (uncredited)
1952 We're Not Married! "Baby Face"
Stop, You're Killing Me "Baby Face" (uncredited)
1953 There Auto Be a Law "Baby Face" (uncredited)
1957 The Spirit of St. Louis "Baby Face" (uncredited)
The Helen Morgan Story "Baby Face" (uncredited)
1960 The Perry Como Show May 25 Episode: "Dinah" (uncredited)
1962 Jackie Gleason and His American Scene Magazine Episode #1.1 "Baby Face"

Selected songs[edit]

Original works for Broadway[edit]

  • Artists and Models of 1927 (1927) - revue, co-composed with Maurie Rubens, lyrics by J. Keirn Brennan, Benny Davis, Ted Lewis, and Jack Osterman
  • Calling All Stars (1934) - revue, lyrics by Lew Brown

Other Broadway credits[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Thedeadrockstarsclub.com - accessed November 19, 2011
  2. ^ Laurie, Joe, Jr. Vaudeville: From the Honky-tonks to the Palace. New York: Henry Holt, 1953. p. 326, 327.
  3. ^ a b c "Harry Akst Biography". Songwriters Hall of Fame. 1963-03-31. Retrieved 2011-11-04. 
  4. ^ Track 7 on the soundtrack of the film Amélie.

External links[edit]