Harold Arlen

Harold Arlen (* February 15, 1905 as Hyman Arluck in Buffalo, New York, USA, † April 23, 1986 in New York City ) was an American popular music composer.


The child of Celia Arluck, born Orlin, and Samuel Arluck, a Jewish cantor, learned to play the piano and founded a band in his youth. He took it as a pianist and singer to local success and drew early 1920 to New York, where he was the stage name Harold Arlen ( sonically derived from the maiden name of his mother ) is. Here he took on plates with the Buffalodians and the orchestras of Red Nichols, Henny Hendrickson and Arnold Johnson.

In 1929 he wrote his first hit, Get Happy (Text: Ted Koehler ). Early to mid 1930s composed Arlen and Koehler music for shows of the famous Harlem Cotton Club, Broadway musicals and Hollywood musical films. Arlen also played more successfully, mostly on plates with Leo Reisman's Society Dance Orchestra.

Arlen's compositions are popular with jazz musicians, as they combine a light blues feeling with traditional American folk music.

Arlen married in the 1930s and increasingly spent his time in California, where he composed music for film musicals and worked with lyricist EY Harburg. In 1938 she signed a contract with Metro -Goldwyn -Mayer to compose the music for the film The Wizard of Oz ( The Wizard of Oz). For its most famous song Over the Rainbow they were awarded in 1940 with the Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song (Oscar).

In the 1940s, Arlen worked with lyricist Johnny Mercer together and created hits such as Blues in the Night ( My Mama Done Tol ' Me), and Ac - Cent - Tchu - Ate the Positive.

Works (selection)


  • Get Happy
  • Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
  • I Love A Parade
  • I've Got the World On A String
  • I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues
  • I'll Wind
  • Stormy Weather

Songs with lyrics by Johnny Mercer:

Other well-known songs:

Musicals and musical revues

Film Musicals