Al Hoffman

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Al Hoffman
Born(1902-09-25)September 25, 1902
Minsk, Russian Empire (present-day Belarus)
DiedJuly 21, 1960(1960-07-21) (aged 57)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation(s) Songwriter

Al Hoffman (September 25, 1902 July 21, 1960) was an American song composer. [1] He was a hit songwriter active in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, usually co-writing with others and responsible for number-one hits through each decade, many of which are still sung and recorded today. He was posthumously made a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984. The popularity of Hoffman's song, "Mairzy Doats", co-written with Jerry Livingston and Milton Drake, was such that newspapers and magazines wrote about the craze. Time magazine titled one article "Our Mairzy Dotage". The New York Times simply wrote the headline, "That Song".


Hoffman's songs were recorded by singers such as Frank Sinatra ("Close To You", "I'm Gonna Live Until I Die"), Billy Eckstine ("I Apologize") Perry Como ("Papa Loves Mambo", "Hot Diggity"), Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong ("Who Walks In When I Walk Out"), Nat "King" Cole, Tony Bennett, the Merry Macs, Sophie Tucker, Eartha Kitt, Patsy Cline, Patti Page ("Allegheny Moon") and Bette Midler. In October, 2007, Hoffman's "I'm Gonna Live Til I Die" was the lead single from Queen Latifah's album, Trav'lin' Light .

Though Hoffman had apparently little connection to Chicago, he wrote the Chicago Bears fight song "Bear Down, Chicago Bears" in 1941 under the pseudonym Jerry Downs. [2]

Life and career

Hoffman was born in Minsk in the Russian Empire (now Belarus), to a Jewish family. His parents moved to Seattle, Washington in the United States when he was six. [3] After graduating from high school in Seattle, he started his own band, playing the drums, and moved to New York City in 1928 to pursue a music career. [3] Though he continued playing the drums in night club bands and selling bagels door-to-door on Broadway, he began writing songs, collaborating with other songwriters such as Leon Carr, Leo Corday, Mann Curtis, Mack David, Milton Drake, Al Goodhart, Walter Kent, Sammy Lerner, Jerry Livingston, Al Sherman, Dick Manning, Bob Merrill, Ed Nelson, and Maurice Sigler. [3]

In 1934, he moved to London to work on stage productions and movies, co-writing the hit songs "She Shall Have Music" and "Everything Stops for Tea". [3] He returned to the U.S. three years later. In 1984, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He has over 1,500 songs registered with A.S.C.A.P. Hoffman died in New York City of prostate cancer, and was buried in New Jersey.

Partial list of published songs

Songs written by Al Hoffman and Dick Manning

Songs written by Al Hoffman, Dick Manning, and another collaborator

Songs written by Al Hoffman, Mack David, and Jerry Livingston

Songs written by Al Hoffman, Maurice Sigler, and Al Goodhart


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  1. Ken Bloom American Song: Songwriters Page 477 2001 "Al Hoffman Composer, lyricist. Born: Minsk, Russia, September 25, 1902. Died: New York, New York, July 21, 1960. Came to United States in 1908. Main collaborators: Al Goodhart, Maurice Sigler, Ed Nelson, Sammy Lerner, Dick Manning, ...
  2. "Bears Fight Song Lyrics". Chicago Bears. Archived from the original on 2012-04-13. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 606/7. ISBN   1-85227-745-9.
  4. "Bears fight song". 2008-09-03. Retrieved 2012-08-17.