Search Tips: 1) Click "Find on This Page" button to activate page search box. 2) When searching for a name (e.g. a songwriter), enter last name only. 3) When searching for a song title on the catalog page, omit an initial "The" or "A". 4) more search tips.
Primary songwriting role: lyricist; also composer and author
Co-writers: most frequently with Duke Ellington; also with Steve Allen, Acquaviva, Robert Maxwell, Lionel Newman, Nat King Cole, Bee Walker, Peter De Rose, Harry James, Moose Charlap. See also a database of 18 Don George co-writers.
Edited and with an Introduction by Robert Gottlieb and Robert Kimball, New York: Pantheon Books, 2000.
Don George is perhaps remembered best either for his lyrics to the pop hit "The Yellow Rose of Texas" or for his collaborations with Duke Ellington on songs like those listed just below -- depending on whom you're talking to. He wrote a "notorious" book about Ellington: Sweet Man, the Real Duke Ellington, was music director for the film Holiday in Brussels, wrote the score for the stage score, Wet Paint, and worked on special material for many performers including Nat King Cole, Patti Page and the Pointer Sisters.
Gottlieb and Kimball include George lyrics for "I Ain't Got Nothin' but the Blues," "I'm Beginning to See the Light," "It Shouldn't Happen to a Dream," "It's Kind of Lonesome out Tonight," and "Tulip or Turnip."
Don George's name comes up often with regard to Ellington's bad luck with lyricists, especially himself and Irving Mills who were incapable of finding vernacular language that could "match his music."
This is made most specific by Philip Furia when he writes about Paul Francis Webster, Bob Russell and Don George as Ellington lyricists. Of George, he says, "Ellington's luck with lyricists hit its peak in 1944, when Don George gave an exuberantly casual setting to the catch-phrase "I'm beginning to see the light" (Furia, p. 261).
In David Jenness' and Don Velsey's discussion of composer Moose Charlap (father of jazz pianist Bill Charlap), they note that one of the cleverest apologies around comes from a 1956 Don George lyric for a Charlap melody:
The girl in my arms meant nothing to me,
I was telling her about you.
Jenness and Velsey, p. 190, quoting from the Charlap/George song: "I Was Telling Her About You."
Listen to Joe Williams sing the song in the Cafe Songbook Music-Video Cabinet, just below.
Submit comments on songs, songwriters, performers, etc.
Feel free to suggest an addition or correction.
Please read our Comments Guidelines before making a submission. (Posting of comments is subject to the guidelines.
Not all comments will be posted.)
Borrowed material (text): The sources of all quoted and paraphrased text are cited. Such content is used under the rules of fair use to further the educational objectives of CafeSongbook.com. CafeSongbook.com makes no claims to rights of any kind in this content or the sources from which it comes.
Borrowed material (images): Images of CD, DVD, book and similar product covers are used courtesy of either Amazon.com or iTunes/LinkShare with which CafeSongbook.com maintains an affiliate status. All such images are linked to the source from which they came (i.e. either iTunes/LinkShare or Amazon.com).
Any other images that appear on CafeSongbook.com pages are either in the public domain or appear through the specific permission of their owners. Such permission will be acknowledged in this space on the page where the image is used.
For further information on Cafe Songbook policies with regard to the above matters, see our "About Cafe Songbook" page (link at top and bottom of every page).
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.
Names of songwriters with two or more song credits in the catalog (with rare exceptions) are linked to their own Cafe Songbook pages, e.g. Fields, Dorothy.
Names of songwriters with only one song credit in the catalog are linked to the Cafe Songbook page for that song, on which may be found information about the songwriter or a link to an information source for him or her.
Please note: Cafe Songbook pages for songwriters are currently in various stages of development.