Hoagy Carmichael
Carmichael in 1947
Hoagland Howard Carmichael[1]

(1899-11-22)November 22, 1899
DiedDecember 27, 1981(1981-12-27) (aged 82)
  • Musician
  • composer
  • songwriter
  • actor
  • lawyer
Years active1918–1981
Political partyRepublican
  • Ruth Meinardi
    (m. 1936; div. 1955)
  • (m. 1977)
Musical career
GenresMusical films, popular songs
  • Piano
  • vocals

Hoagland Howard Carmichael (November 22, 1899 – December 27, 1981) was an American musician, composer, songwriter, actor and lawyer. Carmichael was one of the most successful Tin Pan Alley songwriters of the 1930s, and was among the first singer-songwriters in the age of mass media to utilize new communication technologies such as television, microphones, and sound recordings.

Carmichael composed several hundred songs, including 50 that achieved hit record status. He is best known for composing four of the most-recorded American songs of all time: "Stardust" (lyrics by Mitchell Parish), "Georgia on My Mind" (lyrics by Stuart Gorrell), "The Nearness of You" (lyrics by Ned Washington), and "Heart and Soul" (lyrics by Frank Loesser).[2] He also collaborated with lyricist Johnny Mercer on "Lazybones" and "Skylark". Carmichael's "Ole Buttermilk Sky" was an Academy Award nominee in 1946, from Canyon Passage, in which he co-starred as a musician riding a mule. "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening", with lyrics by Mercer, won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1951. Carmichael also appeared as a character actor and musical performer in 14 films, hosted three musical-variety radio programs, performed on television, and wrote two autobiographies.

Early life and education

Carmichael's house in Bloomington, Indiana (2011)

Hoagland Howard "Hoagy" Carmichael was born in Bloomington, Indiana, on November 22, 1899. He was the first child and only son of Howard Clyde and Lida Mary (Robison) Carmichael. His parents named him after a circus troupe called the "Hoaglands" that had stayed at the Carmichael house during his mother's pregnancy.[3][4] Howard worked as a horse-drawn taxi driver and later as an electrician, while Lida, a versatile pianist, played accompaniment at silent movie theaters and private parties to earn extra income.[5] Hoagy had two younger sisters, Georgia and Joanne.[6] Because of Clyde's unstable job history the family moved frequently. Hoagy lived for most of his early years in Bloomington and in Indianapolis, Indiana.[5] In 1910, the Carmichaels moved to Missoula, Montana.[7]

Carmichael's mother taught him to sing and play the piano at an early age. With the exception of some piano lessons in Indianapolis with Reginald DuValle, a bandleader and pianist known as "the elder statesman of Indiana jazz" and billed as "the Rhythm King", Carmichael had no other musical training.[8]

The family moved to Indianapolis in 1916, but Carmichael returned to Bloomington in 1919 to complete high school.[6] For musical inspiration Carmichael would listen to ragtime pianists Hank Wells and Hube Hanna. At 18, Carmichael helped supplement his family's meager income by doing manual jobs in construction, at a bicycle chain factory, and in a slaughterhouse. This bleak time was partially relieved by piano duets with his mother and by his friendship with DuValle, who taught him piano-jazz improvisation.[9] Carmichael earned $5 playing at a fraternity dance in 1918, marking the beginning of his professional musical career.[10]

The death of Carmichael's three-year-old sister in 1918 (possibly from the Spanish flu pandemic) affected him deeply. He later wrote "My sister Joanne—the victim of poverty. We couldn't afford a good doctor or good attention, and that's when I vowed I would never be broke again in my lifetime."[11]

Carmichael attended Indiana University Bloomington, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1925 and a law degree in 1926. He was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, and played the piano around Indiana and Ohio with his band, Carmichael's Collegians.[8][12]

Around 1922 Carmichael first met Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke, a cornetist and sometime pianist from Iowa. The two became friends and played music together. Around 1923, during a visit to Chicago, Beiderbecke introduced Carmichael to Louis Armstrong, with whom Carmichael would later collaborate, while Armstrong was playing with Chicago-based King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band.[8][13][14] Armstrong would continue to influence Carmichael's compositions; Carmichael reflected in a letter to his wife in the early 1930s that he was going to see Armstrong to learn about the "purty notes".[15] Under Beiderbecke's influence Carmichael began playing the cornet, but found his lips unsuited to the mouthpiece, and soon stopped.[16] He was also inspired by Beiderbecke's impressionistic and classical music ideas.

Carmichael's first recorded song, initially titled "Free Wheeling", was written for Beiderbecke, whose band, The Wolverines, recorded it as "Riverboat Shuffle" in 1924 for Gennett Records in Richmond, Indiana. The song became a jazz staple. (Mitchell Parish's lyrics were added in 1939.)[17] Carmichael's other early musical compositions included "Washboard Blues" and "Boneyard Shuffle", which Curtis Hitch and his band, Hitch's Happy Harmonists, recorded at the Gennett studios.[13] The band's instrumental rendition of "Washboard Blues", recorded on May 19, 1925, was the earliest recording in which Carmichael performed his own songs, including an improvised piano solo.[18][19]

After graduating from IU's law school in 1926, Carmichael moved to Florida, where he worked as a legal clerk in a West Palm Beach legal firm, but he returned to Indiana in 1927 after failing the Florida bar exam.[20] He joined an Indianapolis law firm (Bingham, Mendenhall and Bingham) and passed the Indiana bar, but devoted most of his energies to music.[21][22] Carmichael had discovered his method of songwriting, which he described later: "You don't write melodies, you find them…If you find the beginning of a good song, and if your fingers do not stray, the melody should come out of hiding in a short time."[23]


Carmichael composed several hundred songs, including fifty that achieved hit-record status during his long career.[4] In his early days as a songwriter in Indiana (1924–1929), he wrote and performed in the hot jazz improvisational style popular with jazz dance bands. While he was living in New York City (1929–1936), he wrote songs that were intended to stand alone, independent of any other production, such as a theatrical performance or a motion picture. Carmichael's songs from this period continued to include jazz influences. During his later years in California (1936–1981), his songs were predominately instrumentals. Nearly four dozen were written expressly for, or were incorporated into, motion pictures.[24]

Carmichael made hundreds of recordings between 1925 and his death in 1981. He also appeared on radio and television and in motion pictures and live performances, where he demonstrated his versatility. Because Carmichael lacked the vocal strength to sing without amplification on stage, as well as the unusual tone of his voice, which he described as "flatsy through the nose", he took advantage of new electrical technologies, especially the microphone, sound amplification, and advances in recording. As a singer-pianist, Carmichael was adept at selling his songs to lyricists, music publishers, film producers, and promoting them to the public via microphones on stage and in mass media.[25]

Early years

On October 31, 1927, Carmichael recorded "Star Dust", one of his most famous songs, at the Gennett Records studio in Richmond, Indiana, playing the piano solo himself.[26] Carmichael recruited Frank Trumbauer and Bix Beiderbecke, along with members of the Paul Whiteman Orchestra that included the Dorsey brothers, to play at the late October recording session with him; it is not known which of the orchestra's musicians were at the October 31 session when "Star Dust" was initially recorded.[27][28] New York's Mills Music published the song as an upbeat piano solo in January 1929 and renamed it "Stardust". (Mills Music republished the song with the addition of Mitchell Parish's lyrics in May 1929.)[29] "Stardust" attracted little attention until 1930, when Isham Jones and his orchestra recorded it as a sentimental ballad with a slower tempo, the re-timing often credited to the band's arranger, Victor Young. It became a hit song, the first of many for Carmichael.[26][30] Its idiosyncratic melody in medium tempo–a song about a song–later became a standard of the Great American Songbook, recorded by hundreds of artists, including Artie Shaw, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Willie Nelson, and Wynton Marsalis.[31][32][33]

Carmichael received more recognition after Paul Whiteman and his orchestra recorded "Washboard Blues" on Victor Records in Chicago in November 1927, with Carmichael singing and playing the piano.[34][35] Carmichael's "March of the Hoodlums" and Sheldon Brooks's "Walkin' the Dog" were produced from Carmichael's last recording session at the Gennett Records studio on May 2, 1928, with a band he had hand-selected.[36]

In 1929, after realizing that he preferred making music and had no aptitude for or interest in becoming a lawyer (he was sacked from his job at the law firm), Carmichael moved to New York City, where he worked for a brokerage firm during the weekdays and spent his evenings composing music, including some songs for Hollywood musicals.[37] In New York, Carmichael met Duke Ellington's agent and sheet music publisher, Irving Mills, and hired him to set up recording dates. Carmichael's first major song with his own lyrics was "Rockin' Chair", recorded by Louis Armstrong and Mildred Bailey, and eventually with his own hand-picked studio band (featuring Beiderbecke, Bubber Miley, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Bud Freeman, Eddie Lang, Joe Venuti, and Gene Krupa) on May 21, 1930.[38]


After the October 1929 stock market crash, Carmichael's hard-earned savings declined substantially. Fortunately, Louis Armstrong had recorded "Rockin' Chair" at Okeh studios in 1929, giving Carmichael a badly needed financial and career boost. The song became one of Carmichael's jazz standards.[39][40] Carmichael composed and recorded "Georgia on My Mind" (lyrics by Stuart Gorrell) in 1930. The song became another jazz staple, as well as a pop standard, especially after World War II.[41] Carmichael also arranged and recorded "Up a Lazy River" in 1930, a tune by Sidney Arodin. Although Carmichael and the band he assembled had first recorded "Stardust" as an instrumental in 1927, Bing Crosby recorded the tune with Mitchell Parish's lyrics in 1931.[42]

Carmichael joined ASCAP in 1931. The following year he began working as a songwriter for Ralph Peer's Southern Music Company, the first music firm to occupy the new Brill Building, which became a famous New York songwriting mecca. The Great Depression rapidly put an end to the jazz scene of the Roaring Twenties. People were no longer attending clubs or buying music, forcing many musicians out of work. Carmichael was fortunate to retain his low-paying but stable job as a songwriter with Southern Music. Beiderbecke's early death in 1931 also darkened Carmichael's mood.[43] Of that time, he wrote later: "I was tiring of jazz and I could see that other musicians were tiring as well. The boys were losing their enthusiasm for the hot stuff…. No more hot licks, no more thrills."[44]

Carmichael's eulogy for "hot" jazz, however, was premature. Big band swing was just around the corner, and jazz soon turned in another direction with new bandleaders, such as Benny Goodman, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, and new singers, such as Bing Crosby, leading the way. Carmichael's output followed the changing trend. In 1933 he began a long-lasting collaboration with lyricist Johnny Mercer, newly arrived in New York, on "Lazybones", which became a hit. Southern Music published the sheet music in 1933; more than 350,000 copies were sold in three months.[42][45] Carmichael collaborated with Mercer on nearly three dozen songs,[22] including "Thanksgiving", "Moon Country", and the 1951 Academy Award-winner for best song, "In the Cool, Cool, Cool, of the Evening".[46]

Carmichael also began to emerge as a solo singer-performer, first at parties, then professionally. He described his unique, laconic voice as sounding "the way a shaggy dog looks... I have Wabash fog and sycamore twigs in my throat."[47] Some fans were dismayed as he steadily veered away from "hot" jazz, but Armstrong's recordings continued to "jazz up" Carmichael's popular songs. In 1935 Carmichael left Southern Music Company and began composing songs for a division of Warner Brothers, establishing his connection with Hollywood. "Moonburn", the first song Carmichael wrote for a motion picture, was sung by Bing Crosby in the Warner Brothers film Anything Goes in 1936.[42]

Following his marriage to Ruth Mary Meinardi, the daughter of a Presbyterian minister, on March 14, 1936, the couple moved to California, where Carmichael hoped to find more work in the film industry.[48] In 1937, the year before the birth of the couple's first son, Hoaglund Jr. (Hoagy Bix), Carmichael accepted a contract with Paramount Pictures for $1,000 a week, joining other songwriters working for the Hollywood studios, including Harry Warren at Warner Brothers, E. Y. Harburg at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin at Paramount.[49][50]

Carmichael found work as a character actor in Hollywood. His on-screen debut occurred in 1937 in Topper, with Cary Grant and Constance Bennett. Carmichael portrayed a piano player and performed his song "Old Man Moon" in the film.[43] The effort led to other character actor roles in the 1940s.[51]

Carmichael also continued to write individual songs. His song "Chimes of Indiana" was presented to Indiana University, Carmichael's alma mater, in 1937 as a gift from the class of 1935.[52][53] In 1938, Carmichael collaborated with Paramount lyricist Frank Loesser on "Heart and Soul", "Two Sleepy People", and "Small Fry". "Heart and Soul" was included in Paramount's motion picture A Song Is Born (1938), performed by Larry Clinton and his orchestra. (After 1950, a simpler version became a popular piano duet among American children.) Dick Powell premiered Carmichael's "I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes)" in a national radio broadcast in 1938.[54]

"Little Old Lady", included in The Show Is On (1936), was Carmichael's first song to appear in a Broadway musical and became a hit,[50] but Carmichael's score for the Broadway production Walk With Music, which he did with Mercer, was unsuccessful. The musical opened in 1940 and ran for only three weeks,[43] producing no hit songs. Carmichael never attempted another musical, resuming his career as a singer-songwriter and character actor in Hollywood.[55]


Carmichael, Fredric March, Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews and Theresa Wright in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

The growing Carmichael family, which included Hoagy, Ruth, and their sons, Hoagy Bix (born in 1938) and Randy Bob (born in 1940), moved into the former mansion of chewing-gum heir William P. Wrigley, Jr. in Los Angeles in 1942, when the United States entered World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor.[56] His contribution to the war effort was similar to other patriotic efforts by Irving Berlin ("This Is the Army, Mr. Jones"), Johnny Mercer ("G.I. Jive"), and Frank Loesser ("Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition"). Carmichael's wartime songs (most with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster) included "My Christmas Song for You", "Don't Forget to Say 'No' Baby", "Billy-a-Dick", "The Army of Hippocrates", "Cranky Old Yank", "Eager Beaver", "No More Toujours l'Amour", "Morning Glory", and the never-completed "Hitler Blues".[57]

Throughout the 1940s Carmichael maintained a strong personal and professional relationship with Mercer. In later 1941 their continuing collaboration led to "Skylark", considered one of Carmichael's greatest songs. Bing Crosby recorded it almost immediately in January 1942. Since then many others have recorded the song, including Glenn Miller, Dinah Shore, Helen Forrest (with Harry James),[58] Aretha Franklin and Bette Midler.

Carmichael's 1942 song "I'm a Cranky Old Yank" was listed in the 1967 edition of the Guinness Book of Records under the title "I'm a Cranky Old Yank in a Clanky Old Tank on the Streets of Yokohama with My Honolulu Mama Doin' Those Beat-o, Beat-o Flat-On-My-Seat-o, Hirohito Blues" as the longest song title.[59]

Carmichael appeared as an actor in 14 motion pictures, performing at least one of his songs in each. He described his on-screen persona as the "hound-dog-faced old musical philosopher noodling on the honky-tonk piano, saying to a tart with a heart of gold: 'He'll be back, honey. He's all man.'"[60] In 1944 Carmichael played Cricket in the screen adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's To Have and Have Not, opposite Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. He sang "Hong Kong Blues" and "The Rhumba Jumps", and played piano as Bacall sang "How Little We Know". In the multi-Academy Award-winning film The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) with Dana Andrews, Myrna Loy and Fredric March, Carmichael's character teaches a disabled veteran with metal prostheses to play "Chopsticks", and also performs "Lazy River".[61] Carmichael played Hi Linnett in Canyon Passage (1946), a Universal Pictures western that starred Dana Andrews (his costar in The Best Years of Our Lives and Night Song), Susan Hayward, and Brian Donlevy. He also composed several songs for the film, including "Ole Buttermilk Sky", an Academy Award nominee.[62]

Carmichael's career as a recording artist peaked in the mid-1940s when he recorded exclusively for Decca Records and V-Disc (the Armed Forces label for service personnel overseas), acted and performed in motion pictures, and hosted variety shows on the radio. He also sang in live shows across the United States, and debuted in the United Kingdom at the London Casino in 1948.[55] According to his son Randy, Carmichael was an incessant composer, working on a song for days or even weeks until it was perfect. His perfectionism extended to his clothes, grooming, and eating. Once the work was done, however, Carmichael would cut loose—relax, play golf, drink, and indulge in the Hollywood high life.[63] Carmichael also found time to write his first autobiography, The Stardust Road, published in 1946.[64] In addition, Carmichael composed an orchestral work, Brown County in Autumn, in 1948, but it was not well received by critics.[55]

Between 1944 and 1948, Carmichael became a well-known radio personality and hosted three musical-variety programs. In 1944–45, the 30-minute Tonight at Hoagy's aired on Mutual radio on Sunday nights at 8:30 p.m. (Pacific time), sponsored by Safeway supermarkets. Produced by Walter Snow, the show featured Carmichael as host and vocalist. Musicians included Pee Wee Hunt and Joe Venuti. Fans were rather blunt about Carmichael's singing, providing comments such as "you cannot sing for your soul" and "your singing is so delightfully awful that it is really funny".[65]


During the 1950s, the public's musical preferences shifted toward rhythm and blues and rock and roll, ending the careers of most older artists. Carmichael's songwriting career also slowed down, but he continued to perform.[51]

Carmichael sharing the Saturday Night Revue duties with George Gobel, 1953

In the early 1950s variety shows were particularly popular on television. Carmichael's most notable appearance was as the host of Saturday Night Review in June 1953, a summer replacement series for Your Show of Shows.[55][66] He was also a regular cast member, playing the character role of Jonesy the ranch hand in the first season of NBC's western TV series Laramie (1959–63).[55]

As his songwriting career started to fade, Carmichael's marriage also dissolved. He and his wife Ruth divorced in 1955.[67]

The Johnny Appleseed Suite, Carmichael's second classical work for orchestra, suffered the same ill fate as his earlier attempt, Brown County Autumn. The suite received little notice and only limited success,[55] but Carmichael remained financially secure due to the royalties from his past hits. During the 1940s and 1950s Carmichael also wrote more than a dozen songs for children, including "The Whale Song", "Merry-Go-Round", and "Rocket Ship".[68]

Later years

Ray Charles's classic rendition of "Georgia on My Mind", released on August 19, 1960, was a major hit. (Charles received Grammys both for Best Male Vocal and Best Popular Single that year.)[69] In 1961, Carmichael was featured in an episode of The Flintstones entitled "The Hit Songwriters".[70] Jerry Lee Lewis recorded "Hong Kong Blues" during his final Sun sessions in 1963, but it was never released.[71] In 1964, while the Beatles were exploding on the scene, Carmichael lamented, "I'll betcha I have 25 songs lying in my trunk" and no one was calling to say "have you got a real good song for such-and such an artist".[72] (Beatles guitarist George Harrison released covers of "Baltimore Oriole" and "Hong Kong Blues" in early 1981.)[73] Royalties on his standards were earning Carmichael over $300,000 a year.[74]

Carmichael's second memoir, Sometimes I Wonder: The Story of Hoagy Carmichael, was published in 1965.[75] By 1967 he was spending time in New York, but his new songs were unsuccessful and his musical career came to a close. Carmichael took up other interests in retirement, including golf, coin collecting, and enjoying his two homes, one on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles and the other in Rancho Mirage, California.[51]

Carmichael, son Hoagy Bix Carmichael and Fred Rogers in 1978

As he passed his 70th birthday, Carmichael's star continued to wane and was nearly forgotten in a world dominated by rock music. With the help and encouragement of his son, Hoagy Bix Carmichael, Carmichael participated in the PBS television show Hoagy Carmichael's Music Shop, which featured jazz-rock versions of his hits by Stark Reality. He appeared on Fred Rogers's PBS show Old Friends, New Friends in 1978.[76] With more time on his hands, Carmichael resumed painting, and after a long courtship he married Dorothy Wanda McKay, an actress, in 1977.[55]

Carmichael received several honours from the music industry in his later years. He was inducted into the USA's Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971, along with Duke Ellington.[77] In 1972, Indiana University awarded Carmichael an honorary doctorate in music.[55][78] On June 27, 1979, the Newport Jazz Festival honored Carmichael's 80th birthday with a concert titled "The Stardust Road: A Hoagy Carmichael Jubilee" in Carnegie Hall.[55] The tribute concert was hosted by former bandleader Bob Crosby and included performances by many major musical performers, such as singers Kay Starr, Jackie Cain, Dave Frishberg, and Max Morath, and musicians Billy Butterfield, Bob Wilber, Yank Lawson, Vic Dickenson, and Bob Haggart. National Public Radio broadcast the concert later that summer. "Piano Pedal Rag", a new Carmichael tune, was performed during the concert. Carmichael told host Crosby that he wrote it because he admired Beiderbecke's writing "so much that I didn't want to stop until I wrote something that was a little bit like something Bix might have liked."[79]

On his 80th birthday, Carmichael was reflective, observing, "I'm a bit disappointed in myself. I know I could have accomplished a hell of a lot more... I could write anything any time I wanted to. But I let other things get in the way.... I've been floating around in the breeze."[80] He spent his final years at home in Rancho Mirage, near Palm Springs, California, where he continued to play golf and remained an avid coin collector.[55]

Shortly before his death in 1981, Carmichael appeared on a United Kingdom-recorded tribute album, In Hoagland (1981), with Annie Ross and Georgie Fame. Carmichael sang and played "Rockin' Chair" on the piano. His last public appearance occurred in early 1981, when he filmed Country Comes Home with country music performer Crystal Gayle for CBS.[81]

Political views

According to his biographer, Carmichael had supported the Republican Party since his youth, and did so throughout his life.[82] He voted for Wendell Willkie at the 1940 presidential election, and backed Barry Goldwater, the party's candidate, at the 1964 United States presidential election.[82][83]

Later life and death

Carmichael married Wanda McKay in 1977. He died of a heart attack at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California, on December 27, 1981, at age 82. His remains are buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Bloomington, Indiana.[84][85][86][87]


Carmichael ca. 1953 hosting Saturday Night Revue, a summer replacement television show for Your Show of Shows

Carmichael is considered to be among the most successful of the Tin Pan Alley songwriters of the 1930s, and he was among the first singer-songwriters in the age of mass media to exploit new communication technologies, such as television and the use of electronic microphones and sound recordings.[88] Carmichael was an industry trailblazer who recorded varied interpretations of his own songs and provided material for many other musicians to interpret. His creative work includes several hundred compositions, some of them enduring classics, as well as numerous sound recordings and appearances on radio and television and in motion pictures.[89]

Music historian Ivan Raykoff described Carmichael as "one of America's most prolific songwriters" and an "iconic pianist" whose work appeared in more than a dozen Hollywood films, including his performances in classic films such as To Have and To Have Not and The Best Years of Our Lives. Among the hundreds of Carmichael's published songs, "Stardust" is one of the most frequently recorded.[90] Carmichael's greatest strength was as a melodist,[55] but he also became known as an "experimental" and "innovative" songwriter, whose "catchy, often jazz-infused, melodies" and "nostalgic, down-home lyrics"[51] were memorable and had wide public appeal, especially with mass media promotion and through the efforts of numerous entertainers who performed his songs.[91]

Carmichael's family in 1986 donated his archives, piano, and memorabilia to his alma mater, Indiana University, which established a Hoagy Carmichael Collection in its Archives of Traditional Music and the Hoagy Carmichael Room to permanently display selections from the collection.[51][92]

Honors and tributes

Carmichael and lyricist Johnny Mercer received an Academy Award for Best Music, Song, for "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening", which was featured in the 1951 film Here Comes the Groom. "Ole Buttermilk Sky" received an Oscar nomination for Best Music, Song, of 1946, but it was not the winner.[93][94] Carmichael's recording of "Star Dust" in 1927 at the Gennett Records studio that includes him playing the piano solo was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In addition, it was selected for inclusion in the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress in 2004.[8][95]

Carmichael was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 8, 1960. (His sidewalk star tribute is located at 1720 Vine Street in Hollywood.)[96] In 1971 Carmichael was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame as one of its initial ten inductees.[43] In 2007 Carmichael was inducted into the Gennett Records Walk of Fame in Richmond, Indiana. Bronze and ceramic medallions, one for each of the inductees, have been placed near the location of the Starr Piano Company's manufacturing complex.[97]

Carmichael is memorialized with an Indiana state historical marker, installed in 2007 in front of the former Book Nook (one of Carmichael's favorite local hangouts) on South Indiana Avenue, near the corner of Kirkwood and Indiana Streets in Bloomington. The marker is located across the street from the heart of the Indiana University campus.[98] In 2008 the bronze Hoagy Carmichael Landmark Sculpture by artist Michael McAuley was installed at the northeast corner of the IU Auditorium on IU's Bloomington campus.[99]

On June 27, 1979, the Newport Jazz Festival honored Carmichael with a tribute concert, "The Star Dust Road: A Hoagy Carmichael Jubilee", at New York City's Carnegie Hall.[43]

"Georgia On My Mind", composed by Carmichael with lyrics by Stuart Gorrell, is the U.S. state of Georgia's official song.[100]

Carmichael also appeared as a Stone Age version of himself in The Flintstones, in which he sings "The Yabba Dabba Doo Song", written by Barney, and based on an idea from Fred.[101][102] Fred, Barney, Wilma, and Betty also contribute to the lyrics.

In popular culture

In Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, both Bond's fellow secret agent René Mathis and his love interest Vesper Lynd remark that Bond looks like Hoagy Carmichael. Later in the novel, after looking at his reflection in a mirror, Bond disagrees.[93][103] Ian Fleming repeated the comparison to Carmichael in his third James Bond novel, Moonraker.

Rock violinist Papa John Creach recorded a version of Hoagy Camichael's "Stardust" for his fourth solo album I'm The Fiddle Man (1975).

In Gravity's Rainbow, novelist Thomas Pynchon comments to the song lyrics in episode 3.21 as follows "Sort of a Hoagy Carmichael piano can be heard in behind this, here." [104]

The 2021 film Nightmare Alley features Carmichael's 1942 recording of "Stardust"[105] at the start of closing credits.


Year Title Role Notes
1937 Topper Piano Player Uncredited
1944 To Have and Have Not Cricket
1945 Johnny Angel Celestial O'Brien
1946 Canyon Passage Hi Linnet
1946 The Best Years of Our Lives Uncle Butch Engle
1948 Night Song Chick Morgan
1949 Johnny Holiday Himself
1950 Young Man with a Horn Smoke Willoughby
1952 The Las Vegas Story Happy
1952 Belles on Their Toes Thomas George Bracken
1955 Timberjack Jingles
1959-1960 Laramie Jonesy 31 episodes
1961 The Flintstones himself (voice) "The Hit Songwriters"
1965 The Man Who Bought Paradise Mr Leoni TV movie

Songs (selection)

Year Song[106] Lyrics by
1924 "Riverboat Shuffle" Carmichael, Dick Voynow, Irving Mills, Mitchell Parish
1925 "Washboard Blues" Carmichael, Fred B. Callahan, Irving Mills
1928 "Stardust" Mitchell Parish
1929 "Rockin' Chair" Carmichael
1930 "Georgia on My Mind" Stuart Gorrell
1931 "Come Easy Go Easy Love" Sunny Clapp
1931 "(Up a) Lazy River" Carmichael and Sidney Arodin
1932 "New Orleans" Carmichael
1932 "Daybreak" Carmichael
1932 "In the Still of the Night" Jo Trent
1933 "Lazybones" Carmichael and Johnny Mercer
1933 "One Morning in May" Mitchell Parish
1936 "Little Old Lady" Carmichael and Stanley Adams
1936 "Lyin' to Myself" Stanley Adams
1936 "Moonburn" Edward Heyman
1937 "Old Man Moon" Unknown
1937 "The Nearness of You" Ned Washington
1938 "Heart and Soul" Frank Loesser
1938 "Small Fry" Frank Loesser
1938 "Two Sleepy People" Frank Loesser
1938 "I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes)" Jane Brown Thompson
1939 "Hong Kong Blues" Carmichael
1940 "Can't Get Indiana Off My Mind" Robert DeLeon
1940 "I Walk with Music" Johnny Mercer
1940 "Way Back in 1939 A.D." Johnny Mercer
1941 "Skylark" Johnny Mercer
1941 "We're The Couple In The Castle" Frank Loesser
1942 "Baltimore Oriole" Paul Francis Webster
1942 "The Lamplighter's Serenade" Paul Francis Webster
1943 "Old Music Master" Johnny Mercer
1945 "Billy-a-Dick" Paul Francis Webster
1945 "Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief" Paul Francis Webster
1945 "Memphis in June" Paul Francis Webster
1946 "Ole Buttermilk Sky" Carmichael and Jack Brooks
1951 "Who Killed the Black Widder" Hoagy Carmichael, Janice Torre & Fred Spielman
1951 "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" Johnny Mercer
1951 "My Resistance Is Low" Harold Adamson
1952 "Watermelon Weather" Paul Francis Webster
1953 "Ain't There Anyone Here for Love?" Harold Adamson
1953 "When Love Goes Wrong (Nothin' Goes Right)" Harold Adamson



Other published works

Carmichael wrote two autobiographies that Da Capo Press combined into a single volume for a paperback, published in 1999:[114]

See also


  1. ^ "Songwriter/Composer: CARMICHAEL HOWARD HOAGLAND". BMI Repertoire. Broadcast Music Incorporated. Archived from the original on July 13, 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
  2. ^ "Sold on Song – Song Library – Stardust". BBC.
  3. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 7
  4. ^ a b Gugin & St. Clair 2015, p. 47.
  5. ^ a b Gugin & St. Clair 2015, pp. 47–48.
  6. ^ a b Hasse 1988, p. 5.
  7. ^ 1910 United States Federal Census
  8. ^ a b c d Gugin & St. Clair 2015, p. 48.
  9. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 25
  10. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 31.
  11. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 28.
  12. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 49.
  13. ^ a b Kennedy 1994a, p. 7.
  14. ^ Hasse 1988, p. 6.
  15. ^ Brothers, Thomas (2014). Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 268. ISBN 978-0-393-06582-4.
  16. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 79.
  17. ^ Hasse 1988, p. 19.
  18. ^ Hasse 1988, p. 22.
  19. ^ Kennedy 1994b, p. 125.
  20. ^ Sudhalter 2002, pp. 99–100.
  21. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 104.
  22. ^ a b Hasse 1988, p. 7.
  23. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 84.
  24. ^ Hasse 1988, p. 13.
  25. ^ Hasse 1988, p. 17.
  26. ^ a b Kennedy 1994a, pp. 8–9.
  27. ^ Sudhalter 2002, pp. 106–8.
  28. ^ Carmichael's "One Night in Havana" was released back-to-back with the "Star Dust" recording on Gennett's "Electrobeam" series. See Kennedy 1994a, p. 9
  29. ^ Hasse 1988, p. 23.
  30. ^ Sudhalter 2002, pp. 139–40.
  31. ^ Kennedy 1994b, p. 138.
  32. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 123.
  33. ^ "Stardust". BBC. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  34. ^ Kennedy 1994a, p. 8.
  35. ^ Sudhalter 2002, pp. 113–114.
  36. ^ Kennedy 1994b, pp. 132–134.
  37. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 129.
  38. ^ Sudhalter 2002, pp. 129, 131, 143
  39. ^ Hasse 1988, p. 26.
  40. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 136.
  41. ^ Hasse 1988, p. 35.
  42. ^ a b c Hasse 1988, p. 27.
  43. ^ a b c d e "The Hoagy Carmichael Collection: Timeline of Hoagy Carmichael's Life". Indiana University. November 18, 2002. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  44. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 147.
  45. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 157.
  46. ^ Sudhalter 2002, pp. 151, 153.
  47. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 173.
  48. ^ Sudhalter 2002, pp. 168–72.
  49. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 185.
  50. ^ a b Hasse 1988, p. 9.
  51. ^ a b c d e Gugin & St. Clair 2015, p. 49.
  52. ^ In 1978 the IU Alumni Association adopted "Chimes of Indiana" as one of IU's official fight songs. See "Indiana, Our Indiana Hail to Old IU Indiana Fight Chimes of Indiana" (PDF). Indiana University Athletics. Retrieved December 12, 2016. See also "Audio". Indiana University Marching Hundred. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  53. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 255.
  54. ^ Hasse 1988, pp. 43–44.
  55. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Hasse 1988, p. 11.
  56. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 226.
  57. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 244.
  58. ^ Hasse 1988, pp. 13, 46.
  59. ^ "Details for I'm A Cranky Old Yank In A Clanky Old Tank – Bing Crosby".
  60. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 249.
  61. ^ Hasse 1988, p. 37.
  62. ^ Hasse 1988, p. 40.
  63. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 259.
  64. ^ a b Carmichael, Hoagy (1946). The Stardust Road. New York: Rinehart and Company.
  65. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 246.
  66. ^ "Television in Review". The New York Times. June 8, 1953.
  67. ^ Ruth Carmichael later married Verne Mason, a Los Angeles physician. See Sudhalter 2002, pp. 285–87, 318–19, 322.
  68. ^ Hoagy Carmichael and J.P. Miller (1957). Hoagy Carmichael's Songs for Children. New York: Golden Press. pp. 9–11, 25–29. OCLC 15369706.
  69. ^ Hasse 1988, p. 46.
  70. ^ MeTV website, "5 things you never knew about The Flintstones episode "The Hit Song Writers", retrieved September 2, 2023.
  71. ^ "Hong Kong Blues". Rockabilly.nl. Retrieved February 12, 2008.
  72. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 306.
  73. ^ Ginell, Richard S. "Somewhere in England–George Harrison: Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved September 29, 2012.
  74. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 311.
  75. ^ a b Carmichael, Hoagy, and Stephen Longstreet (1965). Sometimes I Wonder: The Story of Hoagy Carmichael. New York: Farrar, Straus And Giroux. OCLC 1037498.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  76. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 336.
  77. ^ "Hoagy Carmichael". Songwriters' Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on January 4, 2017. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  78. ^ "Honorary Doctorate in Music". Indiana University. Archived from the original on June 13, 2008.
  79. ^ Recording of the NPR broadcast. The upcoming concert was mentioned in Gary Giddins (June 25, 1979). "Newport: Choices and More Choices". New York. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  80. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p. 338.
  81. ^ Sudhalter 2002, pp. 341–342.
  82. ^ a b Sudhalter 2002, p. 242.
  83. ^ Critchlow, Donald T. (October 21, 2013). When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107650282.
  84. ^ Jasen, David A. (2004). Tin Pan Alley: An Encyclopedia of the Golden Age of American Song. Routledge. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-135-94901-3.
  85. ^ Indiana Off the Beaten Path
  86. ^ Josephson, Sanford (June 30, 2009). Jazz Notes: Interviews across the Generations: Interviews across the Generations. ABC-CLIO. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-313-35701-5.
  87. ^ Ewen, David (1987). American Songwriters: An H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary. H.W. Wilson. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-8242-0744-1.
  88. ^ Kennedy 1994b, p. 91.
  89. ^ Hasse 1988, pp. 13–15.
  90. ^ Ivan Raykoff, "Hoagy Carmichael (1899–1981) " in Pendergast, Tom, and Sara Pendergast (2000). St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Detroit: Gale. ISBN 978-1-55862-529-7. Archived from the original on May 22, 2013.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  91. ^ Hasse 1988, p. 15.
  92. ^ "Hoagy Carmichael Collection: Virtual Tour of the Hoagy Carmichael Room". Indiana University (IU Digital Library). Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  93. ^ a b Sudhalter 2002, p. 275.
  94. ^ "Hoagy Carmichael: Awards". Songwriters Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on January 4, 2017. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  95. ^ "Registry Titles with Descriptions and Expanded Essays". Library of Congress. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  96. ^ "Hoagy Carmichael". Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  97. ^ "Walk of Fame". Starr Gennett Foundation. March 28, 2014. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  98. ^ "Hoagy Carmichael". Indiana Historical Bureau. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  99. ^ "Hoagy Carmichael Landmark Sculpture". Visit Bloomington. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  100. ^ "Georgia Facts and Symbols". Georgia.gov. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  101. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "The Flintstones - Yabba Dabba Doo". Retrieved October 15, 2019 – via YouTube.
  102. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Flintstones The Original Yabba Dabba Doo Song". Retrieved October 15, 2019 – via YouTube.
  103. ^ Macintyre, Ben (2008). For Your Eyes Only. London, England: Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-7475-9527-4.
  104. ^ Pynchon, Thomas (1995). Gravity's Rainbow. Penguin Books. ISBN 9780140188592.
  105. ^ "Star Dust (1942 Decca DLA-2982 18395B) on Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
  106. ^ "The Official Hoagy Carmichael Web Site". Archived from the original on December 12, 2005. Retrieved March 14, 2008.
  107. ^ a b Hasse 1988, p. 62.
  108. ^ Recordings of Carmichael's radio performances. See Hasse 1988, p. 62
  109. ^ Selections of Carmichael's early records, 1927–34. See Hasse 1988, p. 62
  110. ^ a b c d "Hoagy Carmichael Recordings". Songwriters Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on January 4, 2017. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  111. ^ "Pacific Jazz Records Catalog: 1200 Series: PJ-1223". Jazzdisco.org. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  112. ^ Carmichael's recordings for Decca Records, 1931–51; previously issued as Decca DL-8588. See Hasse 1988, p. 62.
  113. ^ The two-time, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences-nominated collection includes fifty-seven recordings of Carmichael's best-known songs performed by well-known American musicians. See Hasse, p. 21.
  114. ^ Carmichael, Hoagy, and Stephen Longstreet (1999). The Stardust Road & Sometimes I Wonder: The Autobiography of Hoagy Carmichael. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80899-4.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)