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Born: Vladimir Dukelsky, Oct. 10, 1903, Parafianovo, Russia
Died: Jan. 16, 1969 (age 65), Santa Monica, California
When Vernon Duke arrived in America, he immediately went to introduce himself to George Gershwin whose song "Swanee" he had heard in Europe. The meeting led to a friendship that lasted for the rest of Gershwin's life.
"In his autobiography, Passport to Paris, Vernon Duke recalled how as a young man he desperately needed to earn enough money for a trip to Europe (pianist Artur Rubenstein had promised to play Duke's concerto in Paris that summer). Duke asked Gershwin if there was a task he could perform to earn the money, and Gershwin, rushing to complete the new edition of the [1924 edition of George White's] Scandals, let him ghostwrite a short ragtime ballet sequence for $100. In addition, he let Duke make the piano-vocal arrangements for several songs from the show, including “Somebody Loves Me.” Duke was especially proud of his Gershwinesque fills in the arrangement of this song. For this and the other arrangements for the show he received an additional $120."
(This passage does not come from Rimler's Gershwin book shown at left but from the author's blog article on "Somebody Loves Me.")
David Ewen. American Songwriters, An H. W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary. New York: The H. W. Wilson Co., 1987 (includes 146 bios of composers and lyricists). -- a wide selection of used copies is available at abebooks.com (Duke entry, pp. 133-137).
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Master List of Great American Songbook Songwriters
Names of songwriters who have written at least one song included in the Cafe Songbook Catalog of The Great American Songbook are listed below.
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