Sam H. Stept

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Rockaway Baby sheet music cover with photo of Fanny Brice

Samuel Howard Stept[a] (aka Sammy Stept; 18 September 1897 – 1 December 1964) was an American songwriter who wrote for Broadway, Hollywood and the big bands. He became known simply as Sam Stept or Sam H. Stept – he rarely used his full middle name.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9]


Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Stept came to the United States at the age of three and grew up in Pittsburgh. Sam was the son of Solomon (1874–1969,) and Clara Stept (born 1872), who were married around 1895, in Russia. Sam Stept married Jessie E. Stept (née McBride, c. 1901–1967).[10] Jessie was the daughter of George B. McBride and Ada F. McBride of Pittsburgh.


Early in his music career, Stept worked for a local publishing house as staff pianist (song-plugger), then in vaudeville as accompanist to performers that included Anna Chandler, Mae West, and Jack Norworth.

During the early 1920s, Stept lived in Cleveland, Ohio, where he led a dance band. Within the next few years, he began composing with lyricist Bud Green. Their first hit came in 1928 with vocalist Helen Kane's rendition of "That's My Weakness Now," and the duo would collaborate on tunes through the early 1930s.

Stept worked with many other lyricists through his career, including Sidney Mitchell and Ned Washington (while songwriting for Hollywood from the mid-1930s to mid-1940s), Lew Brown, Charles Tobias, and Eddie DeLange.

Some of his popular tunes for the big screen are "Laughing Irish Eyes" for the 1936 film of the same name, "Sweet Hearts" for Hit Parade of 1937 and for the 1942 movie Private Buckaroo, "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree" and "Johnny Get Your Gun." Stept's output slowed down in the late 1940s, and by the late 1950s, he was concentrating fully on his music-publishing business.

Songs written by Stept have been recorded by many other big names in pop and jazz, including, Sarah Vaughan, Glenn Miller, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, as well as by Henry "Red" Allen, Bunny Berigan, Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson, and Josephine Baker.


He died at age 67 in Los Angeles, California.

Selected songs[edit]

Broadway shows[edit]

  • Shady Lady (1933), co-composer
  • Yokel Boy (1939), co-composer and co-lyricist, starring Judy Canova, Buddy Ebsen, and Phil Silvers
  • Michael Todd’s Peep Show (1950), Michael Todd
  • Music Hall Varieties (1932) and (1933)

Recordings and performers[edit]

Film, TV, and theater[edit]

  • Applause, directed by Rouben Mamoulian, (song, "That's My Weakness Now") (1929)
  • Nothing But the Truth (song, "Do Something") (1929)
  • Syncopation (song, "Do Something") (1929)
  • Syncopation (song, "I'll Always Be in Love with You") (1929)
  • Mother's Boy (song, "The World Is Yours and Mine") (1929)
  • Mother's Boy (song, "There'll Be You And I") (1929)
  • Lucky in Love (song, "Love is a Dreamer") (1929)
  • Lucky in Love (song, "For The Like's O' You And Me") (1929)
  • Lucky in Love (song, "When They Sing The Wearin' of the Green") (In Syncopated Blues) (1929)
  • Lullaby of Broadway (song, "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone") (1930)
  • Big Boy, with Al Jolson (song, "Liza Lee") (1930)
  • Playing Around (song, "You're My Captain Kidd") (1930)
  • Playing Around (song, "Playing Around") (1930)
  • Playing Around (song, "That's the Lowdown on the Lowdown") (1930)
  • Showgirl in Hollywood (song, "I've Got My Eye On You") (1929)
  • Showgirl in Hollywood (song, "There's a Tear For Every Smile in Hollywood") (1930)
  • Showgirl in Hollywood (song, "Hang Onto a Rainbow") (1930)
  • The Naughty Flirt ("Untitled Song") (1931)
  • Music Hall Varieties (song, "And So I Married the Girl") (1932)
  • The Organ Grinder (song, "Organ Grinder") (1933)
  • Buddy's Show Boat (song, "And So I Married the Girl") (1933)
  • Baby Take a Bow w/Shirley Temple (song, "On Account-a I Love You") (1934)
  • Hop-Along Cassidy (song, "Followin' the Stars") (1935)
  • Bar 20 Rides Again (song, "Open Up Your Heart When the Moon Hangs High") (1935)
  • The Eagle's Brood (song, "Free with Love") (1935)
  • Dancing Feet (title song) (1935)
  • Dancing Feet (song, "Everytime I Look At You") (1935)
  • Let It Be Me (song, "I've Got My Eye on You") (1936)
  • The Phantom Rider (song, "Hidden Valley") (1936)
  • Oh, Susanna! (song, "Water Wheel") (uncredited)) (1936)
  • The Big Show (song, "Mad About You") (uncredited) (1936)
  • The Big Show (song, "Lady Known as Lulu") (uncredited) (1936)
  • Red River Valley, w/Gene Autry (song, "Where a Water Wheel Keeps Turning On") (1936)
  • Ride Ranger Ride (song, "On the Sunset Trail") (1936)
  • Hit the Saddle (song, Winding the Trail) (1937)
  • Laughing Irish Eyes (title song from the film) (1936)
  • Laughing Irish Eyes (song, "All My Life") (1936)
  • Sitting on the Moon (song, "Lost In My Dreams") (1936)
  • Happy-Go-Lucky (song, "A Treat for the Eyes") (1936)
  • Happy-Go-Lucky (song, ("I'm With You") "Right or Wrong") (1936)
  • Hit Parade (song, "Sweet Heartache") (1937)
  • Hit Parade (song, "If It Wasn't for Pete") (1937)
  • Having a Wonderful Time w/Ginger Rogers and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (song, "My First Impression of You") (1937)
  • Having a Wonderful Time w/Ginger Rogers and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (song, "Nighty Night") (1937)
  • Having a Wonderful Time w/Ginger Rogers and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (song, "The Band Played Out of Tune") (1937)
  • 23+12 Hours Leave (song, "Now You're Talking My Language") (1937)
  • Night Spot (song, "There's Only One Way to Say 'I Love You") (1938)
  • The Women (song, "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone") (1939)
  • That's Right – You're Wrong (song, "The Answer is Love") (1939)
  • Hullabaloo (song, "We've Come a Long Way Together") (1940)
  • Yokel Boy (song, "Comes Love") (1942)
  • Yokel Boy (song, "I Can't Afford to Dream") (1942)
  • Yokel Boy (song, "It's Me Again and Time for Jookin") (1942)
  • Crash Dive (song, "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree") (1943)
  • Presenting Lily Mars (song, "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree") (1943)
  • The Yankee Doodle Mouse (song, "Johnny, Get Your Gun") (1943)
  • Thousands Cheer (song, "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree") (1943)
  • A Guy Named Joe (song, "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree") (1943))
  • Johnny Doughboy (song, "All My Life")
  • Syncopation, RKO (song, "Do Something") (1942)
  • Syncopation, RKO (song, "I'll Always Be In Love With You") (1929)
  • Private Buckaroo (song, "Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree" ("With Anyone Else But Me")) (1942)
  • When Johnny Comes Marching Home, (song, "This Is Worth Fighting For") (1940s)
  • When Johnny Comes Marching Home, (song, "When They Ask About You") (1940s)
  • Happy-Go-Nutty (song, "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree") (1944)
  • Stars on Parade (song, "When They Ask About You," sung by Lynn Merrick) (1944)
  • Li'l Abner (song, "Don't Marry That Girl") (1946)
  • Holiday In Mexico (song, "Yo Te Amo Mucho") (1946)
  • Interrupted Melody (song, "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree") (uncredited)) (1955)
  • One Froggy Evening (song, "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone") (1955)
  • Carol for Another Christmas (TV) (song, "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree") (1964)
  • All My Life (song: "All My Life") (1966)
  • The Dirty Dozen (song, "Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree") (uncredited) (1967)
  • The Troy Cory Evening Show (song, "That's My Weakness Now"), sung by, father and daughter duo Priscilla Cory and Troy Cory 1974
  • Falling in Love Again (song, "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree") (1980)
  • Everyone Says I Love You (song, "All My Life") (1996)
  • The Rage: Carrie 2 (song, "Comes Love") (1999)
  • The Story of Us (song, "Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree") (1999)
  • Chain of Fools (song, "Down to This") (2000)
  • Son of the Mask (song, "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone") (2005)
  • The Sopranos (TV) (1 episode, 2006, Members Only, Emmy) (song, "Comes Love") (2006)
  • Eurydice, a play by Sarah Ruhl (song, "Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree") (off-Broadway, 2007)


  1. ^ Stept's World War I Draft Registration Card, shows Howard to be his middle name


  1. ^ The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (3rd ed., Stept is in Vol. 7 of 8), Colin Larkin (ed.), London: Muze (1998); OCLC 39837948
  2. ^ Tin Pan Alley; An Encyclopedia of the Golden Age of American Song, by David A. Jasen, New York: Routledge (2003); OCLC 51631299
  3. ^ The Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music, Composers and Their Music ("Stept" is in Vol. 2 of 3), by William H. Rehrig, Paul E. Bierley (born 1926) (ed.) Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press (1996); OCLC 24606813
  4. ^ American Popular Songs; From the Revolutionary War to the Present, David Ewen (ed.), New York: Random House (1966); OCLC 598027
  5. ^ ASCAP Biographical Dictionary
        3rd ed. (1966); OCLC 10721505
        4th ed. (1980); Jaques Cattell Press, R.R. Bowker; OCLC 7065938
  6. ^ Biographical Dictionary of American Music, by Charles Eugene Claghorn (1911–2005), Parker Publishing Company, Inc. (1973); OCLC 609781
  7. ^ The Complete Encyclopedia of Popular Music and Jazz, 1900–1950 ("Stept" is in Vol. 3 of 4), by Roger D. Kinkle (1916–2000), New Rochelle: Arlington House Publishers (1974); OCLC 897890
  8. ^ Sweet and Lowdown; America's Popular Song Writers, by Warren Craig, Metuchen, New Jersey: Scarecrow Press (1978); OCLC 3380132
  9. ^ Biography Index Vol. 7: September 1964 – August 1967, New York: H.W. Wilson Co. (1968); ISSN 0006-3053
  10. ^ "Death Notices: Jessie E. Stept," New York Times, June 20, 1967
  11. ^ "Composer Defends New Army Song," Stars and Stripes, March 16, 1953
    The Nebraska Society of the DAR criticized Stept composing a godless, unpatriotic, warmongering song; and, they annoyed Stept by pointing to his Russian heritage as being suspicious; this was the age of McCarthyism
  12. ^ "Army Picks Winning Song," Stars and Stripes, January 9, 1953

External links[edit]