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Vintage sheet music for
"That Lucky Old Sun"
music by Beasley Smith
words by Haven Gillespie --
Sarah Vaughan on cover
Born: James Haven Lamont Gillespie, February 6, 1888, Covington, Kentucky (US)
Died: March 14, 1975 (age 87), Las Vegas, Nevada, (US)
Primary songwriting role: lyricist; also a composer
Overview and Commentary
Haven Gillespie (This section is currently incomplete)
Haven Gillespie, who wrote the lyrics for hundreds of songs over a thirty year career from the twenties to the fifties, claimed that his comfortable retirement was made possible solely by the royalties from "Santa Clause Is Coming to Town." Some sources have called it the most recorded song in the history of American popular music. Gillespie was also one of the few successful Tin Pan Alley songwriters to stick closely to his roots in Covington, Kentucky where he resided throughout his life traveling to New York or other locations only when needed for professional reasons. He was perhaps the only, songwriter to remain so thoroughly a hometown boy.
"Santa Clause Is Coming to Town"
"You Know Dancer and Dasher, But Have You Heard of the Writers Behind Your Favorite Christmas Songs" Dish Magazine, Issue 115, February, 2012
"Composer and lyricist team J. F. Coots and Haven Gillespie may be well known for having written well over 700 songs in their career, but no one could have guessed that a “little children’s song” would be their most well remembered creation ever. Gillespie had written the lyrics for the songs several years earlier after hearing his son exclaim excitedly that he was going right to bed because Santa Clause was coming to town. It wasn’t until 1934 Gillespie brought Coots the lyrics. Initially underwhelmed by the simplistic song, Coots came up with the skeleton of the music in just ten minutes. Later when Coots brought the song to his publisher, Leo Feist Inc., they liked it but thought it was a kids' song and didn’t expect too much from it. Little did they know what they had in their hands. Coots offered the song to Eddie Cantor who used it on his radio show that November and it became an instant hit. The morning after the radio show there were orders for 100,000 copies of sheet music, and, by Christmas, sales had passed 400,000.
''Santa Claus is Coming to Town' is not only both Coots and Gillespie’s most famous work it is also both of their most recorded works ever having been covered by acts as far reaching as Bruce Springsteen, Green Day, Bing Crosby, Dinah Washington and Alice Cooper."
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Credits for Videomakers of videos used on this page:
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," Frank Sinatra: mustlikeyou
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," Bruce Springsteen: Marc Craenen
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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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