Buddy DeSylva

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Buddy DeSylva
Birth nameGeorge Gard DeSylva
Also known asBuddy De Sylva, Buddy DeSylva, Bud De Sylva, Buddy G. DeSylva, B.G. DeSylva
Born(1895-01-27)January 27, 1895
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedJuly 11, 1950(1950-07-11) (aged 55)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation(s) Songwriter, film producer, record executive
Associated acts Lew Brown, Ray Henderson
Song written by Buddy DeSylva April Showers cover.jpg
Song written by Buddy DeSylva

George Gard "Buddy" DeSylva (January 27, 1895 – July 11, 1950) [1] was an American songwriter, film producer and record executive. He wrote or co-wrote many popular songs and, along with Johnny Mercer and Glenn Wallichs, he co-founded Capitol Records.



DeSylva was born in New York City, [1] but grew up in California, [1] and attended the University of Southern California, where he joined the Theta Xi Fraternity.

His Portuguese-born father, Aloysius J. De Sylva, was better known to American audiences as actor Hal De Forrest. [2] His father was also a lawyer as well as an actor. [3] His mother, Georgetta Miles Gard, was the daughter of Los Angeles police chief George E. Gard.

DeSylva's first successful songs were those used by Al Jolson on Broadway in the 1918 production of Sinbad, which included "I'll Say She Does". Soon thereafter, he met Jolson and in 1918 the pair went to New York and DeSylva began working as a songwriter in Tin Pan Alley. [1]

In the early 1920s, DeSylva frequently worked with composer George Gershwin. [4] Together, they created the experimental one-act jazz opera Blue Monday set in Harlem, which is widely regarded as a forerunner to Porgy and Bess ten years later.[ citation needed ]

In April 1924, DeSylva married Marie Wallace, a Ziegfeld Follies dancer.[ citation needed ]

In 1925, DeSylva became one third of the songwriting team with lyricist Lew Brown and composer Ray Henderson, one of the top Tin Pan Alley songwriters of the era. [5] The team was responsible for the song "Magnolia" (1927) which was popularized by Lou Gold's orchestra. [6] The writing and publishing partnership continued until 1930, producing a string of hits and the perennial Broadway favorite Good News . [7]

DeSylva joined ASCAP in 1920 and served on the ASCAP board of directors between 1922 and 1930. He became a producer of stage and screen musicals. [1] DeSylva relocated to Hollywood and was contracted to Fox Studios. [1]

During this tenure, he produced movies such as The Little Colonel , The Littlest Rebel , Captain January , Poor Little Rich Girl and Stowaway . [1] In 1941, he became the Executive Producer at Paramount Pictures, a position he would hold until 1944. At Paramount, he was also an uncredited executive producer for Double Indemnity , For Whom the Bell Tolls , The Story of Dr. Wassell and The Glass Key . Betty Hutton always credited DeSylva for bringing her to Hollywood and launching her film career. [8]

The Paramount all-star extravaganza Star Spangled Rhythm , which takes place at the Paramount film studio in Hollywood, features a fictional movie executive named "B.G. DeSoto" (played by Walter Abel) who is a parody of DeSylva.

In 1942, Johnny Mercer, Glenn Wallichs and DeSylva together founded Capitol Records. [1] He also founded the Cowboy label.

He is sometimes credited as: Buddy De Sylva, Buddy DeSylva, Bud De Sylva, Buddy G. DeSylva and B.G. DeSylva.

Buddy DeSylva died in Hollywood, aged 55, and is buried at Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery. [9]

Individual songs

Broadway credits

Selected filmography

The 1956 Hollywood film The Best Things in Life Are Free , starring Gordon MacRae, Dan Dailey, and Ernest Borgnine, depicted the De Sylva, Brown and Henderson collaboration. [11]

Related Research Articles

This is a list of notable events in music that took place in the year 1926.

Johnny Mercer American lyricist, songwriter, singer and music professional

John Herndon Mercer was an American lyricist, songwriter, and singer. He was also a record label executive who co-founded Capitol Records with music industry businessmen Buddy DeSylva and Glenn E. Wallichs.

Tin Pan Alley Historic name given to a collection of musicians, publishers and songwriters in Manhattan, New York City

Tin Pan Alley was a collection of music publishers and songwriters in New York City which dominated the popular music of the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It originally referred to a specific place: West 28th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in the Flower District of Manhattan; a plaque on the sidewalk on 28th Street between Broadway and Sixth commemorates it. In 2019, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission took up the question of preserving five buildings on the north side of the street as a Tin Pan Alley Historic District. The agency designated five buildings individual landmarks on December 10, 2019, after a concerted effort by the "Save Tin Pan Alley" initiative of the 29th Street Neighborhood Association. Following successful protection of these landmarks, project director George Calderaro and other proponents formed the Tin Pan Alley American Popular Music Project to continue and commemorate the legacy of Tin Pan Alley with various advocacy and educational activities.

Ray Henderson was an American songwriter.

Lew Brown Musical artist

Lew Brown was a lyricist for popular songs in the United States. During World War I and the Roaring Twenties, he wrote lyrics for several of the top Tin Pan Alley composers, especially Albert Von Tilzer. Brown was one third of a successful songwriting and music publishing team with Buddy DeSylva and Ray Henderson from 1925 until 1931. Brown also wrote or co-wrote many Broadway shows and Hollywood films. Among his most-popular songs are "Button Up Your Overcoat", "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree", "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries", "That Old Feeling", and "The Birth of the Blues".

Gus Kahn Musical artist

Gustav Gerson Kahn was an American lyricist who contributed a number of songs to the Great American Songbook, including "Pretty Baby", "Ain't We Got Fun?", "Carolina in the Morning", "Toot, Toot, Tootsie ", "My Buddy" "I'll See You in My Dreams", "It Had to Be You", "Yes Sir, That's My Baby", "Love Me or Leave Me", "Makin' Whoopee", "My Baby Just Cares for Me", "I'm Through with Love", "Dream a Little Dream of Me" and "You Stepped Out of a Dream".

<i>Blue Monday</i> (opera) Jazz opera by George Gershwin

Blue Monday was the original name of a one-act "jazz opera" by George Gershwin, renamed 135th Street during a later production. The English libretto was written by Buddy DeSylva. Though a short piece, with a running time of between twenty and thirty minutes, Blue Monday is often considered the blueprint to many of Gershwin's later works, and is often considered to be the "first piece of symphonic jazz" in that it was the first significant attempt to fuse forms of classical music such as opera with American popular music, with the opera largely influenced by Jazz and the African-American culture of Harlem.

Someone to Watch Over Me (song) 1926 song by George and Ira Gershwin, Howard Dietz

"Someone to Watch Over Me" is a 1926 song composed by George Gershwin with lyrics by Ira Gershwin, assisted by Howard Dietz who penned the title. It was written for the musical Oh, Kay! (1926), with the part originally sung on Broadway by English actress Gertrude Lawrence while holding a rag doll in a sentimental solo scene. The musical ran for more than 200 performances in New York and then saw equivalent acclaim in London in 1927; all with the song as its centerpiece. Lawrence released the song as a medium-tempo single which rose to number 2 on the charts in 1927.

"It All Depends on You" is a 1926 popular song with music by Ray Henderson, lyrics by Buddy G. DeSylva and Lew Brown. The song, written for the musical Big Boy, was published in 1926. It was featured in the hit 1928 Warner Bros. film The Singing Fool, starring Al Jolson, Betty Bronson and Josephine Dunn, and directed by Lloyd Bacon.

<i>Good News</i> (1947 film) 1947 film by Charles Walters

Good News is a 1947 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical film based on the 1927 stage production of the same name. It starred June Allyson, Peter Lawford, Mel Tormé, and Joan McCracken. The screenplay by Betty Comden and Adolph Green was directed by Charles Walters in Technicolor.

Cliff Friend was an accomplished songwriter and pianist. A member of Tin Pan Alley, Friend co-wrote several hits including "Lovesick Blues", "My Blackbirds Are Bluebirds Now" and "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down", also known as the theme song to the Looney Tunes cartoon series.

Philip George Furia was an American author and English literature professor. His books focus on the lyricists of the Tin Pan Alley era.

"Alabamy Bound" is a Tin Pan Alley tune written in 1924, with music by Ray Henderson and words by Buddy DeSylva and Bud Green. It was popularized by Al Jolson and included in the musical Kid Boots, where it was sung by Eddie Cantor. Successful recordings of the song were released in 1925 by Paul Whiteman, Isham Jones and Fletcher Henderson (instrumentals), as well as Blossom Seeley, whose vocal version reached number 2 on the charts. The song has sold over a million copies of sheet music and has been included in several films over the years.

<i>Dinah, Yes Indeed!</i> 1959 studio album by Dinah Shore

Dinah, Yes Indeed! is a 1958 studio album by Dinah Shore, arranged by Nelson Riddle.

<i>The Best Things in Life Are Free</i> (film) 1956 film by Michael Curtiz

The Best Things in Life Are Free is a 1956 American musical film directed by Michael Curtiz. The film stars Gordon MacRae, Dan Dailey and Ernest Borgnine as the real-life songwriting team of Buddy DeSylva, Lew Brown and Ray Henderson of the late 1920s and early 1930s; and Sheree North as Kitty Kane, a singer.

Do It Again (George Gershwin and Buddy DeSylva song) Song

"Do It Again" is an American popular song by composer George Gershwin and lyricist Buddy DeSylva. The song premiered in the 1922 Broadway show The French Doll, as performed by actress Irène Bordoni.

Vinton Freedley was an American theater and television producer known for his productions of the works of Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers and television shows such as Talent Jackpot and Showtime U.S.A..

"Lucky Day" is a 1926 song by written by Buddy DeSylva, Lew Brown, and Ray Henderson. The song has been covered by numerous artists. The song was originally by Henderson, De Sylva and Brown for George White's Scandals of 1926, along with "The Birth of the Blues". The song was first performed in 1926 by Harry Richman and chorus. Popular recordings in 1926 were by George Olsen and by The Revelers.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. pp. 655/6. ISBN   0-85112-939-0.
  2. "Composers-Lyricists Database, Biography: Buddy DeSylva" . Retrieved 2008-01-10.
  3. Tin Pan Alley p. 107
  4. Furia, Philip (1990). The Poets of Tin Pan Alley: a History of America's Great Lyricists. Oxford University Press. p. 88. ISBN   0195064089.
  5. Furia, Philip (1990). The Poets of Tin Pan Alley: a History of America's Great Lyricists. Oxford University Press. p. 87. ISBN   0195064089.
  6. Jasen, David A. (2003). Tin Pan Alley An Encyclopedia of the Golden Age of Song. Routledge. p. 109. ISBN   0415938775.
  7. Furia, Philip (1990). The Poets of Tin Pan Alley: a History of America's Great Lyricists. Oxford University Press. p. 94. ISBN   0195064089.
  8. Kendall, Mary Claire. "Betty Hutton's Miraculous Recovery". Forbes.com.
  9. "Buddy DeSylva (1895 - 1950) - Find A Grave Memorial". Findagrave.com. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  10. "Catalog of Copyright Entries: Third series". 23 August 1954. p. 67. Retrieved 23 August 2021 via Google Books.
  11. Jasen, David A. (2003). Tin Pan Alley An Encyclopedia of the Golden Age of Song. Routledge. p. 110. ISBN   0415938775.

Further reading