Saturday, June 28, 2014


You have probably figured out that titles are what usually catch my eye.   I thought this was probably a so-so piece that never went far, but to my surprise this was a big hit.  It was written and copyrighted in 1934,  by Al Sherman and Al Lewis and sung by Ozzie Nelson.  

AL SHERMAN was a Tin Pan Alley song writer, born in Kiev, in 1924, the oldest of five children.   After his father, a prominent musician in Russia, brought the family to American, he found himself just another immigrant musician among many, and getting work was difficult.   He was unable to cope with the circumstances and left the family.   Al became, at age 13, the "man of the family."  He left school to go to work, clearly to be the breadwinner.   His early introduction to music, standing in the wings of his father's performances, began his love of music.   Once when his father was performing for the Bohemian emperor, he rustled the curtains and the emperor asked who was back there.  When  young Al was brought out, the emperor took him on his knee for the rest of the performance.  Always wanting to be a musician, he began teaching himself piano,  and worked in  clubs and with orchestras around New YOrk.   He became the pianist of choice for a lot of silent film stars, and eventually met and married Rosa Dancis in 1923.   They had two sons, Robert Bernard and Michael Morton.   They became the "Sherman Brothers" which delighted their father.   They were the composers for such movies as "Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang" and "Mary Poppins."   

Sherman worked with such greats of the time as Youmans and Gershwin and wrote many songs:  "Pretending",  "On The Beach At Bali Bali", "For Sentimental Reasons" to name a few, plus a special tribute piece - "Lindberg, The Eagle of the USA".   I also have a piece of sheet music called, "What Do You Do On A Dew-Dew-Dewy Day."   The Associated Press wrote a comment about Sherman:
"Al Sherman helped raise the spirits of a Depression-era generation with his hit song "Potatoes are CHeaper, Tomatoes are Cheaper, Now's the Time To Fall In Love."  HE is not to be confused with the Allen Sherman who wrote "Hello Mudder, Hello Fadda" , a letter from a kid at camp!

I didn't find a lot about Al Lewis, at least not the Al Lewis I was looking for.   He was born in New York in 1901 and died there in 1967.   He was also a Tin Pan Alley entertainer, lyricist who worked with many of the more notable composers from the '20s through the '50s.   In the early to mid '30's he and several other productive musicians created a revue called "Songwriters On Parade."   They performed in many venues along the east coast, and the Loew's and Keith Theater circuits.   Among his better known songs is "Blueberry Hill" and "You Gotta Be A Football Hero."   HE is not to be confused with Grandpa in the Munsters comedy series!

OZZIE NELSON, a very handsome and talented young man born of Swedish/English heritage 
in Ridgefield, NJ is probably best remembered for the hit show, "Ozzie and Harriet" one of the earlier "happy TV family shows" that might have even been considered the first reality show.
Ozzie played sax, football, was an Eagle Scout at age 13.  He went to Rutgers where he also played football, and played sax with local bands.   He formed a band and was gaining popularity when the New York Daily Mirror ran a "people's choice poll" on bands.   Knowing that the paper vendors tore off the front pages of the paper for a rebate from the Mirror, and tossed the rest of the paper in the trash, he and his friends retrieved the discarded papers, got friends to fill out the poll with OZZIE'S BAND as the choice, of course.   Such a successful campaign it was that it edged out Paul Whiteman's very professional and well established Big Band of the time.   He was a multitalented man and when his sons,  David and Ricky grew up in the eyes of the public television fans, it was natural they would also be musician/showmen.   Ozzie Nelson was born in 1906 and died in 1975.     OZZIE NELSON made a hit with the song: 


I was dancing gaily to the music soft and waily, when you danced into sight.
Lucky you were were dancing with a friend of mine,
So he could introduce us that night.
Your first sweet glance, dear
Kindled romance, dear,
That still is  burning bright, my darling --

Over somebody else's shoulder
I fell in love with you.
Over somebody else's shoulder,
 I saw my dreams cone true.
The moment I spied your charms
My heart was in danger
The girl I held in my arms became a total stranger.

Over somebody else's shoulder I fell in love with you.

You know that old story - 'a glance across a crowded room --'.

Does anybody write lyrics like that today?    Too sweet and sappy?  I don't know.  I like reading the lyrics and I think they show a sentimental side we have lost, but then I'm not in the dating scene so maybe I those wonderfully poetic lyricists are out there and I'm just not hearing them. 
BUT,  I think "Baby, Oh Baby, Baby, Baby Baby, Oh, Baby" lacks something, how about you?

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