Vincent Youmans

Vincent Youmans ( born September 27, 1898 in New York; † April 5, 1946 in Denver) was an American composer and Broadway producer. Youmans wrote the musical No, No Nanette and numerous titles, which were interpreted by jazz musicians such as Billie Holiday preferred and became jazz standards, such as the title Tea For Two, I Want to Be Happy, I Know That We Know, Time on My Hands, Without a song, and More Than You Know.


Vincent Youmans father was owner of a hat factory in New York. So the boy grew up in affluent circumstances. At an early age he showed a great interest in music. Even as a four year old he could play the piano. After his schooling, he had graduated to private schools, he harbored only the plan to be an engineer, but then took the study but not on, but entered as a clerk in a brokerage firm in Wall Street. But it was only granted him a short time to work there, because in 1917 he was obliged to join the army. His service he provided at a naval base that could come up with a military band, which was led by John Philip Sousa. Youmans joined the orchestra for which he also composed his first songs.

After the First World War was over, it was clear to Youmans, that he would not be working for his former employer in the Wall Street again. During his military service had become clear to him that for him only a profession out of the question, in which the music plays the main role. From 1918 to 1919 he assisted his compatriot, the operetta composer Victor Herbert, as samples pianist at the rehearsal of his stage works.

On 3 May 1921 he performed for the first time as a composer of musicals to the public: On Cohan Theatre Two Little Girls in Blue was premiered. It was a moderate success for him. Two years later came the breakthrough for him. His musical Wildflower went on February 7, 1923 for the first time on the stage and reached the impressive performance numbers of 477 performances.

The year 1924 played a special role in Youmans ' biography. In April this year came out his musical No, No Nanette in Detroit. The premiere announced that this work will be granted a worldwide success. Three stages toured with the piece across the USA. 17 theaters it played in South America, Asia and Europe. In London alone, there were 665 performances. 1925, the musical reached Broadway. In a revised version where the baptism of fire took place at the Globe Theatre on 16 September. From now on it should only be played in this version.

But not always Vincent Youmans was hold happiness. After the worldwide success of No, No Nanette, he felt a higher calling. Although he won the prestigious Oscar Hammerstein as librettist for his next work, he experienced in 1928 with Rainbow a disaster. His next work, the musical Smiles, flopped. The title of Time on My Hands ( with lyrics by Adamson and Mack Gordon) of this musical was, however, a frequently played jazz standard; Billie Holiday made ​​the song famous. His last works were for the Fred Astaire movie Flying Down to Rio ( 1933). Dating from the movie dance song Carioca was nominated for an oscar.

Vincent Youmans was in poor health since his youth. In 1934 he contracted tuberculosis. For twelve years he struggled with this disease. In between, it seemed time to time, as if he had defeated, but ultimately defeated the disease him. Death overtook him on April 5, 1946 in Denver, when he stayed in a hotel. The composer has no descendants. All royalties are founded by him Vincent Youmans - Foundation benefit that helps people who are suffering from tuberculosis.



  • Two Little Girls in Blue ( 1921)
  • Wildflower (1923 )
  • Mary Jane McKane (1923 )
  • Lollipop'A N ' (1924 )
  • A Night Out ( 1925)
  • No, No, Nanette (1925 )
  • Oh, Please ( 1926)
  • Hit the Deck (1927 )
  • Rainbow ( 1928)
  • Great Day (1929 )
  • Smiles ( 1930)
  • Through the Years ( 1932)
  • Take a Chance (1932 )

Film scores

  • Hit the Deck (1929 )
  • No, No, Nanette (1930 )
  • What a Window! (1930)
  • Take a Chance (1933 )
  • Flying Down to Rio (1933 )


  • Sometimes I'm Happy (1927 )
  • Hallelujah ( 1927)
  • Without a Song ( 1929)
  • Time on My Hands (1930 )