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.
Vintage sheet music for
"The More I See You"
music by Harry Warren
words by Mack Gordon
from the movie Diamond Horseshoe 1945
Born: Morris Gittler, June 21, 1904, Warsaw, Poland
Died: March 1, 1959 (age 54), New York City
Primary songwriting role: lyricist; also a composer
Overview and Commentary:
Mack Gordon (This section is currently in progress)
Having emigrated from Warsaw as a child with his parents, Mack Gordon began his show business career as a singing comic in vaudeville and minstrel shows. By 1929 he was in Hollywood writing lyrics for movie songs. He partnered with numerous composers but his two extended collaborations were with the Englishman Harry Revel during the thirties and the Italian-American Brooklynite Harry Warren starting in the forties. Of the Gordon songs included in the Cafe SongbookCatalog of The Great American Songbook(See list below.) fourteen were written with Warren and only one with Revel, making it clear that he rose to the heights of his art with the latter composer. Gordon wrote a few songs for Broadway shows, but most of his work was for Twentieth Century Fox in Hollywood. He received nine nominations for the the best original song Oscar winning it once, for "You'll Never Know," in 1943.
Gary Marmorstein compares two of Harry Warren's writng partners, Al Dubin who wrote with Warren at Warner's until personal problems forced the lyricist out of the picture, and Gordon who was subsequently paired with Warren upon the composer's arrival at Twentieth Century Fox in 1940:
Gordon's lyrics were less propulsive than Dubin's and a touch more poetic. Where Dubin rhymed for dance, Gordon rhymed for emotional expressiveness. Dubin's words evoked the American streets, the more urban the better, where romance was sex and sex was bawdy; Gordon's words evoked a more interior and tender locale, even when actual places like Chattanooga or Kalamazoo were par of the scheme. Gordon's most characteristic lyrics--to Warren's tunes, anyway--stated a romantic or pre-romantic condition in the first line or two, then amplified that condition through the balance of the song: "I Know Why (And So Do You; You'll Never Know (How Much I Care)"; "The More I See You"; and so on. Other lyricists listened and learned. Sammy Cahn, hardly prone to praise his rivals, said, "I found the work of Mack Gordon very attractive to my ear." Of course Harry Warren's music helped make it attractive (Marmorstein, pp. 216-217).
Marmorstein also illustrates another arrow Gordon drew from his quiver to further his and Warren's fortunes at Fox. Referring to the Warren-Gordon songs mentioned above plus "I Had the Craziest Dream," he writes,
Each of these great songs had had to be auditioned for [Daryl] Zanuck [then head of Twentieth Century Fox for whose movies they were written], who considered himself a pop music expert. While Warren played piano, Gordon would sing, adding a trombone chorus with his voice. "That sonofabitch could sell me anything," Zanuck said of Gordon.
Wilfred Sheed, a great admirer of Harry Warren's music, is ambivalent about Gordon's words, especially their poetic qualities. Gordon, Sheed says, "offers an advanced lesson in why good song lyrics don't have to be great poetry. For a reputed Windbag, he had a wonderful ear for the regular phrases people were using that year. . . . and an even better ear for fitting them to the right notes." Still, "it wasn't literary and singers with a taste for good writing tend[ed] to shy away from Gordon's lyrics. Even songs as successful as ballads like "You'll Never Know," "At Last" and "The More I See You" have, for Sheed, employ words that are "consistently undistinguished" and "second class," and are only "saved by the music" (Sheed, p. 217).
Twenty-Five songs of Revel and Gordon
Mack Gordon with three different composer-partners:
Harry Revel, Harry Warren and Josef Myrow
(All songs that are not currently included in the Cafe Songbook Catalog)
A video tribute to the songwriting team of Harry Revel and Mack Gordon -- The photo montage of the songwriters is viewed over their song. "Walking on Air" (music by Harry Revel, words by Mack Gordon) and comes from the 1931 Broadway show, Fast and Furious, played here by Anson Weeks & His Orchestra as part of a radio broadcast from the Mark Hopkins Hotel, San Francisco.
Peter Mintun performs "When I'm with You" (music by Harry Revel and words by Mack Gordon, 1936). Minton comments, "The most enduring song to emanate from [the movie] Poor Little Rich Girl (Shirley Temple, Jack Haley, Alice Faye, Claude Gillingwater, Gloria Stuart) was this one, which became number one (for two consecutive weeks) on Your Hit Parade in the summer of 1936."
"People like You and Me" (music by Harry Warren, words by Mack Gordon) written for the movie Orchestra Wives (1942) -- featuring Marion Hutton, Ray Eberle, the Modernaires, and Tex Beneke on vocals. Actors play the musicians in the Glenn Miller Orchestra: Jackie Gleason on bass, Caesar Romero on piano, George Montgomery on solo trumpet, probably as Bobby Hacket--all dubbed by the Glenn Miller musicians.
An episode of The Railroad Hour (a radio show --this episode from August 15, 1949) that dramatizes the relationship between established lyricist Mack Gordon and a once novitiate composer, Josef Myrow -- with narration and performance by Gordon MacRae. Although fifteen Mack Gordon songs are included in the Cafe Songbook Catalog, there is only one, "You Make Me Feel So Young," written with Josef Myrow'
Toward the end of the show, Gordon demonstrates his talent as a singer that goes back to his early days when he was in vaudeville. He sings his own song, "It Happens Every Spring." Not bad either.
ASCAP Biographical Dictionary, New York: American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Cattell/Bowker, Fourth edition, 1980 (dates, collaborators, shows/movies, songs, etc., entry pp. 193-194)
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 (entry pp. 303-306) -- entry with Harry Revel.
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.