Nacio Herb Brown

American Born 22 Feb 1896 Died 28 Sep 1964

A writer of popular songs, Nacio Herb Brown is best known for the music used in MGM's 1952 musical, Singin' in the Rain. The producer of that film, Arthur Freed, had been Brown's song-writing partner in the 1920s and 30s and chose to use their own songs for the film's score. For many years a part-time composer, Brown nevertheless penned some of America's most famous songs.

Born in New Mexico on 22 February 1896, Brown moved to Los Angeles with his family in 1902. Taught the piano by his mother, he also studied composition but went into the retail industry, running a successful menswear store in Beverly Hills and making a fortune in property.

In these early years, Brown's song-writing was merely a hobby, but he scored a national hit in 1921 with 'When Buddha Smiles' to words by Arthur Freed. In 1929, he and Freed provided songs for the first full-length film musical, The Broadway Melody, which produced several international hits. For the next few years the pair dominated film musicals, writing songs such as 'Singin' in the Rain', 'All I do is dream of you', and 'Good morning'.

In 1941 Brown collaborated with Gus Kahn to write for Ziegfeld Girl (1941) but throughout the 1940s he gradually abandoned song-writing. Freed stayed in films as a producer and by the time of Singin' in the Rain, though Brown had officially retired, many of their most popular songs had found a new and more permanent home in one of the greatest film musicals of all time.  Brown died in San Francisco on 28 September 1964.

 

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