The Best Songwriters from the Golden Age of Hollywood – Part Two – The Great Lyricists.


Clockwise from top left: Irving Berlin, Yip Harburg, Oscar Hammerstein II, Sammy Cahn, Ned Washington, Johnny Burke, Al Dubin (with Harry Warren at the piano), Dorothy Fields, Johnny Mercer.

41 Lyricists: 175 songs.

Johnny Mercer, arguably the greatest lyricist of the 20th century, tops the list with 20 songs, followed by Irving Berlin with 18, Sammy Cahn with 16, Johnny Burke and Al Dubin with 10, Yip Harburg with 8, and Mack David with seven. In what was a very manly profession, the only woman of note is Dorothy Fields, who, like David, has seven songs listed. She was the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1936 for “The Way You Look Tonight.” It would be an incredible 32 years before another woman won in this category: Marilyn Bergman for “The Windmills of Your Mind” in 1968. Sylvia Fine, who was married to Danny Kaye from 1940 until his death in 1987, was nominated for her lyrics for “The Moon is Blue” in 1953 and for both her music and lyrics for “The Five Pennies” in 1959. Dory Previn was nominated for her lyrics three times; “Faraway Part of Town” from “Pepe” (1960: music by her then-husband Andre Previn), “Second Chance” from “Two for the Seasaw” (1962: music by Previn) and “Come Sunday Morning” from “The Sterile Cuckoo” (1969: music by Fred Karlin). The first woman to win an Oscar for composing music for the Best Song of the Year is Barbara Streisand for “Evergreen (Love Theme for a Star is Born),” with lyrics by Paul Williams, in 1976. The first woman to win Best Song, having written both the music and the lyrics, is Carly Simon for “Let the River Run” from “Working Girl” in 1988.


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1943Higher and HigherI Couldn’t Sleep a Wink Last NightJimmy McHughHarold Adamson
1957An Affair to RememberAn Affair to RememberHarry WarrenHarold Adamson (with Leo McCarey)


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1930Puttin’ On the RitzPuttin’ On the RitzIrving BerlinIrving Berlin
1935Top HatCheek to CheekIrving BerlinIrving Berlin
1935Top HatTop Hat, White Tie, and TailsIrving BerlinIrving Berlin
1935Top HatIsn’t This a Lovely Day (to be Caught in the Rain)Irving BerlinIrving Berlin
1935Top HatNo StringsIrving BerlinIrving Berlin
1935Top HatThe PiccolinoIrving BerlinIrving Berlin
1936Follow the FleetLet’s Face the Music and DanceIrving BerlinIrving Berlin
1936Follow the FleetGet Thee Behind Me SatanIrving BerlinIrving Berlin
1936Follow the FleetI’m Putting All of My Eggs in One BasketIrving BerlinIrving Berlin
1937On the AvenueSlumming on Park AvenueIrving BerlinIrving Berlin
1937On the AvenueYou’re Laughing at MeIrving BerlinIrving Berlin
1938CarefreeChange PartnersIrving BerlinIrving Berlin
1939Second FiddleI Poured My Heart into a SongIrving BerlinIrving Berlin
1942Holiday InnWhite ChristmasIrving BerlinIrving Berlin
1946Blue SkiesYou Keep Coming Back Like a SongIrving BerlinIrving Berlin
1949Easter ParadeSteppin’ Out With My BabyIrving BerlinIrving Berlin
1954White ChristmasCount Your BlessingsIrving BerlinIrving Berlin
1954White ChristmasSistersIrving BerlinIrving Berlin


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposer and Lyricist
1944Meet Me in Saint LouisThe Trolly SongRalph Blane and Hugh Martin
1944Meet Me in Saint LouisHave Yourself a Merry Little ChristmasRalph Blane and Hugh Martin
1944Meet Me in Saint LouisThe Boy Next DoorRalph Blane and Hugh Martin
1947Good NewsPass the Peace PipeRalph Blane and Hugh Martin & Roger Edens


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1953JenniferAngel EyesMatt DennisEarl Brent
* Although the song was written in 1946, it was not introduced until 1953 by its composer Matt Dennis.


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1946Canyon PassageOle Buttermilk SkyHoagy CarmichaelJack Brooks
1953The CaddyThat’s AmoreHarry WarrenJack Brooks


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1937Walter Wanger’s Vogues of 1938That Old FeelingSammy FainLew Brown


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1936Pennies from HeavenPennies from heavenArthur JohnsonJohnny Burke
1941Road to ZanzibarIt’s Always YouJimmy Van HeusenJohnny Burke
1942Road to MoroccoMoonlight Becomes YouJimmy Van HeusenJohnny Burke
1943DixieSunday, Monday, or AlwaysJimmy Van HeusenJohnny Burke
1943And the Angels SingIt Could Happen to YouJimmy Van HeusenJohnny Burke
1944Belle of the YukonLike Someone in LoveJimmy Van HeusenJohnny Burke
1944Going My WaySwinging on a StarJimmy Van HeusenJohnny Burke
1945The Bells of St. Mary’sAren’t You Glad You’re YouJimmy Van HeusenJohnny Burke
1946Road to UtopiaPersonalityJimmy Van HeusenJohnny Burke
1947Road to RioBut BeautifulJimmy Van HeusenJohnny Burke


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1935Curly TopAnimal Crackers in My SoupRay HendersonIrving Caeser and Ted Kohler


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1942Youth on ParadeI’ve Heard That Song BeforeJule SteinSammy Cahn
1044Follow the BoysI’ll Walk AloneJule SteinSammy Cahn
1945Anchors AwayI Fall in Love Too EasilyJule SteinSammy Cahn
1948Romance on the High SeasIt’s MagicJule SteinSammy Cahn
1949It’s a Great FeelingIt’s a Great FeelingJule SteinSammy Cahn
1954Three Coins in a FountainThree Coins in a FountainJule SteinSammy Cahn
1955The Tender Trap(Love Is) The Tender TrapJimmy Van HeusenSammy Cahn
1956Written on the WindWritten on the WindVictor YoungSammy Cahn
1957The Joker is WildAll the WayJimmy Van HeusenSammy Cahn
1959A Hole in the HeadHigh HopesJimmy Van HeusenSammy Cahn
1960High TimeThe Second Time AroundJimmy Van HeusenSammy Cahn
1960Ocean’s 11Ain’t That a Kick in the HeadJimmy Van HeusenSammy Cahn
1961Pocket Full of MiraclesPocket Full of MiraclesJimmy Van HeusenSammy Cahn
1963Papa’s Delicate ConditionCall Me IrresponsibleJimmy Van HeusenSammy Cahn
1964Robin and the 7 HoodsMy Kind of TownJimmy Van HeusenSammy Cahn
1967Thoroughly Modern MillieThoroughly Modern MillieJimmy Van HeusenSammy Cahn


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1933Jimmy and SallyYou’re My ThrillJay GorneySidney Claire
1934Bright EyesOn the Good Ship LollipopRichard WhitingSidney Claire


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1934Murder at the VanitiesCocktails for twoArthur JohnsonSam Coslow
1934Belle of the NinetiesMy Old FlameArthur JohnsonSam Coslow


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1950CinderellaBibbidi-Bobbidi-BooJerry Livingston and Al HoffmanMack David
1959The Hanging TreeThe Hanging TreeJay LivingstonMack David
1962Walk on the WildsideWalk on the WildsideElmer BernsteinMack David
1963It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad WorldIt’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad WorldErnest GoldMack David
1964Hush, Hush, Sweet CharlotteHush, Hush, Sweet CharlotteFrank De VolMack David
1965Cat BallouThe Ballad of Cat BallouJay LivingstonMack David
1966HawaiiMy Wishing DollElmer BernsteinMack David


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1953LiliHi-Lili, Hi-LoBronislaw KaperHelen Deutsch


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1953The BandwagonThats Entertainment!Arthur SchwartzHoward Dietz


Year Film TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
193342nd Street42nd StreetHarry WarrenAl Dubin
193342nd StreetYou’re Getting to Be a Habit with meHarry WarrenAl Dubin
193342nd StreetShuffle off to BuffaloHarry WarrenAl Dubin
1933Roman ScandalsKeep Young and BeautifulHarry WarrenAl Dubin
1933Gold Diggers of 1933We’re in the MoneyHarry WarrenAl Dubin
1934Moulin RougeThe Boulevard of Broken DreamsHarry WarrenAl Dubin
1934DamesI Only Have Eyes for YouHarry WarrenAl Dubin
1935Broadway GondolierLulu’s Back in TownHarry WarrenAl Dubin
1935Golds Diggers of 1935The Lullaby of BroadwayHarry WarrenAl Dubin
1937Melody for TwoSeptember in the RainHarry WarrenAl Dubin


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1948The PalefaceButtons and BowsJay LivingstonRay Evans
1950Captain Carey, USAMona LisaJay LivingstonRay Evans
1956The Man Who Knew Too MuchQue Sera, SeraJay LivingstonRay Evans
1957Tammy and the BachelorTammyJay LivingstonRay Evans


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1935Every Night at EightI’m in the Mood for LoveJimmy McHughDorothy Fields
1935Every Night at EightI Fell a Song Coming OnJimmy McHughDorothy Fields
1935RobertaLovely to Look AtJerome KernDorothy Fields (with Jimmy McHugh)
1935RobertaI Won’t DanceJerome KernDorothy Fields (with Jimmy McHugh)
1936Swing TimeThe Way You Look TonightJerome KernDorothy Fields
1936Swing TimeA Fine RomanceJerome KernDorothy Fields
1936Swing TimePick Yourself UpJerome KernDorothy Fields


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposer Lyricist
1952Singing in the RainMake “Em LaughNacio Herb BrownArthur Freed


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1957Funny FaceThink Pink!Roger EdensLeonard Gershe
1957Funny FaceBonjour Paris!Roger EdensLeonard Gershe


YearFilm Title Song TitleComposerLyricist
1937Shall We DanceThey Can’t Take That Away from Me George GershwinIra Gershwin
1937Shall We DanceThey All Laughed (at Christopher Columbus)George GershwinIra Gershwin
1937Shall We DanceLet’s Call the Whole Thing OffGeorge GershwinIra Gershwin
1944Cover GirlLong Ago (and Far Away)Jerome kernIra Gershwin
1954A Star is BornThe Man That Got AwayHarold ArlenIra Gershwin
1954A Star is Born Born in a TrunkHarold ArlenIra Gershwin


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1941Sun Valley SerenadeChattanooga Choo ChooHarry WarrenMack Gordon
1941Sun Valley SerenadeAt LastHarry WarrenMack Gordon
1942Orchestra WivesI’ve Got a Girl in KalamazooHarry WarrenMack Gordon
1943Hello, Frisco,HelloYou’ll Never KnowHarry WarrenMack Gordon


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1937 High, Wide, and HandsomeThe Folks Who Love On the HillJerome KernOscar Hammerstein II
1941Lady Be GoodThe Last Time I Saw ParisJerome KernOscar Hammerstein II
1945State FairIt Might as Well Be SpringRichard RogersOscar Hammerstein II
1951The StripA Kiss to Build a Dream OnHarry RubyOscar Hammerstein II (with Bert Kalmar)


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1939The Wizard of OzIf I Were King of the ForestHarold ArlenYip Harburg
1939The Wizard of OzThe Merry Old Land of OzHarold ArlenYip Harburg
1939The Wizard of OzFollow the Yellow Brick Road/We’re Off to See the WizardHarold ArlenYip Harburg
1939The Wizard of OzIf I Only Had a BrainHarold ArlenYip Harburg
1939The Wizard of OzIf I Only Had the NerveHarold ArlenYip Harburg
1939The Wizard of OzDing-Dong! The Witch is DeadHarold ArlenYip Harburg
1939The Wizard of OzOver the RainbowHarold ArlenYip Harburg
1943Cabin in the CottonHappiness is a Thing Called JoeHarold ArlenYip Harburg


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1945Love LettersLove LettersVictor YoungEdward Heyman


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1934Flying Down to RioCariocaVincent YeomansGus Kahn (with Edward Eliscu)
1936San Francisco San FranciscoBronislaw Kaper (with Walter Jurmann)Gus Kahn


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1933Let’s Fall in LoveLet’s Fall in LoveHarold ArlenTed Kohler
1935Curly TopAnimal Crackers in My SoupRay HendersonIrving Caeser and Ted Kohler
1939Love AffairSing My HeartHarold ArlenTed Kohler
1945San AntonioSome Sunday MorningRay Heindorf & M.K. JeromeTed Kohler


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1939Destry Rides AgainSee What the Boys in the Back Room Will HaveFriedrich HollaenderFrank Loesser
1943Happy Go LuckyLet’s Get LostJimmy McHughFrank Loesser
1943Thank Your Lucky StarsThey’re Either Too Young or Too OldArthur SchwartzFrank Loesser
1949Neptune’s DaughterBaby, It’s Cold OutsideFrank LoesserFrank Loesser
1952Hans Christian AndersenThumbelinaFrank LoesserFrank Loesser


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1934The Gay DivorceeThe Continental Con ConradHerb Magidson


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1937Hollywood HotelHooray for HollywoodRichard WhitingJohnny Mercer
1937Ready, Willing, and AbleToo Marvellous for WordsRichard WhitingJohnny Mercer
1938Going PlacesJeepers CreepersHarry WarrenJohnny Mercer
1938Hard to GetYou Must Have Been a Beautiful BabyHarry WarrenJohnny Mercer
1941Blues in the NightBlues in the NightHarold ArlenJohnny Mercer
1941Blues in the NightThis Time’s the Dream’s on MeHarold ArlenJohnny Mercer
1941The Fleet’s InTangerineVictor SchertzingerJohnny Mercer
1943Star Spangled RhythmThat Old Black MagicHarold ArlenJohnny Mercer
1943The Sky’s the LimitMy Shining HourHarold ArlenJohnny Mercer
1943The Sky’s the LimitOne for My Baby (and One More for the Road)Harold ArlenJohnny Mercer
1945Here Come the WavesAc-Cent-Tchu-Ate-the-PositiveHarold ArlenJohnny Mercer
1946The Harvey GirlsOn the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa FeHarry WarrenJohnny Mercer
1951Here Comes the GroomIn the Cool, Cool, Cool of the EveningHoagy CarmichaelJohnny Mercer
1955Daddy Long LegsSomething’s Gotta GiveJohnny MercerJohnny Mercer
1961Breakfast at TiffanysMoon RiverHenry ManciniJohnny Mercer
1962The Days of Wine and RosesThe Days of Wine and RosesHenry ManciniJohnny Mercer
1963CharadeCharadeHenry ManciniJohnny Mercer
1964The Americanization of EmilyEmilyJohnny MandelJohnny Mercer
1965The Great RaceThe Sweetheart TreeHenry ManciniJohnny Mercer
1965The Great raceHe Shouldn’t-A, Hadn’t-A, Oughtn’t-A Swang on MeHenry ManciniJohnny Mercer


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1968Funny GirlFunny GirlJule SteinBob Merrill


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposer Lyricist
1937Snow White and the Seven DwarfsSomeday My Prince Will ComeFrank ChurchillLarry Morey
1937Snow White and the Seven DwarfsWhistle While You WorkFrank ChurchillLarry Morey
1937Snow White and the Seven DwarfsHeigh-HoFrank ChurchillLarry Morey
1942BambiLove is a SongFrank ChurchillLarry Morey


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1936Born to DanceI’ve Got You Under My SkinCole PorterCole Porter
1943Something to Shout AboutYou’d Be So Nice to Come Home ToCole PosterCole Poster
1948The PirateBe a ClownCole PorterCole Porter
1956High SocietyTrue LoveCole PorterCole Porter


YearFilmTitleFilm TitleComposerLyricist
1941Buck PrivatesBoogie Woogie Bugle BoyHughie PrinceDon Raye
1941Ride ‘Em CowboyI’ll Remember AprilGene de PaulDon Raye (with Patricia Johnson)
1942Keep “Em FlyingYou Don’t Know What Love isGene de PaulDon Raye
1943I Dood ItStar EyesGene de PaulDon Raye
1943He’s My GuyHe’s My GuyGene de PaulDon Raye


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1938The Big Broadcast of 1938Thanks for the MemoryRalph RaingerLeo Robin
1947The Time, the Place, and the GirlA Gal in CalicoArthur SchwartzLeo Robin


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1940PinocchioWhen You Wish Upon a StarLeigh HarlineNed Washington
1941DumboBaby MineFrank ChurchillNed Washington
1949My Foolish HeartMy Foolish HeartVictor YoungNed Washington
1952High NoonThe Ballad of High NoonDimitri TiomkinNed Washington
1957Wild is the WindWild is the WindDimitri TiomkinNed Washington
1961Town Without PityTown Without PityDimitri TiomkinNed Washington

Paul Francis Webster (6)

YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1953Calamity JaneSecret LoveSammy FainPaul Francis Webster
1955Love is a Many Splendoured ThingLove is a Many Splendoured ThingSammy FainPaul Francis Webster
1956Friendly PersuasionFriendly PersuasionDimitri TiomkinPaul Francis Webster
1957April LoveApril LoveSammy FainPaul Francis Webster
1962Tender is the NightTender is the NightSammy FainPaul Francis Webster
1965The SandpiperThe Shadow of Your SmileJohnny MandelPaul Francis Webster


YearFilm TitleSong TitleComposerLyricist
1955UnchainedUnchained MelodyAlex NorthHy Zaret

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