Hoagy (Howard) Carmichael


One of the greatest of American songwriters and performers, Hoagy Carmichael also had a successful career as a movie actor, starring in 14 films between 1937 and 1954. His many contributions to the popular and jazz repertories have included such hits as Star Dust and Georgia on My Miind, and as a jazz artist he has recorded with such legends as Bix Beiderbecke,  Louis Armstrong, Gene Krupa and Glenn Miller.

Carmichael was born in Bloomington, Indiana on 22 November 1899 and studied the piano with his mother, learning the rudiments of jazz from regianld DuValle. It was while a law student at Indiana University that he formed a jazz band and made his first recordings. Upon completion of his studies, Carmichael established a law practice in Palm Beach, Florida but when he heard a recording of his own Washboard Blues he resolved to pursue a career as a songwriter.

Moving to New York Carmichael collaborated with lyricists Johnny Mercer, Paul Francis Webster and Frank Loesser, before a further move west to Los Angeles allowed him to contribute songs to a number of films, many of which he also starred in. Particularly noteworthy were his performances in the Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall film To Have and Have Not (1944) and the 1946 movie The Best Years of our Lives. He died in California  in 1981.

With lyrics that often celebrate small-town America, his songs have become some of the most enduring of pop standards, and in his performances as an actor, singer and jazz pianist he has given untold pleasure to many.

Show more