Appreciating all that makes America special

Hoagy Carmichael, Songwriter

Hoagy Carmichael,

Carmichael wrote Stardust, Georgia on My Mind, and Heart and Soul, three of the most-played songs of the Twentieth Century. Uploaded by

Yes, I do have a soft spot for songwriters. They’re the heart of American popular music, but the least appreciated (and compensated). The least that a website that bills itself as “Great American Things” can do is recognize those who wrote the Great American Songbook. We’ve already included, among others, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and Johnny Mercer. Now we want to make you aware of another great one – Howard Hoagland Carmichael. “Hoagy.”

Hoagy Carmichael,

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He came from a musical family and was playing the piano by the age of six. His inclination was to be a musician, and it wasn’t until his mid-20s that he began writing songs. And man, the songs he wrote, usually t

he music only but occasionally lyrics as well. Here are his most notable songs (along with the lyricist, if applicable):

  • “Stardust” (1928 – Mitchell Parish)
  • “Georgia on My Mind” (1930 – Stuart Gorrell)
  • “(Up a ) Lazy River” (1931 – w/Sidney Arodin)
  • “In the Still of the Night” (1932 – Jo Trent)
  • “The Nearness of You” (1937 – Ned Washington)
  • “Heart and Soul” (1938 – Frank Loesser)
  • “I Get Along Without You Very Well” (1938 – Jane Brown Thompson)
  • “Skylark” (1941 – Johnny Mercer)
  • “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening” (1951 – Johnny Mercer)

Carmichael described his songwriting method this way: “You don’t write melodies, you find them…If you find the beginning of a good song, and if your fingers do not stray, the melody should come out of hiding in a short time.” Here Hoagy sings “Am I Blue” (ironically, a song he didn’t write) in the 1944 film To Have and Have Not:


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