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Harold Arlen

Harold Arlen

"Harold Arlen" (February 15, 1905 - April 23, 1986) was an American composer of popular music.

One of the greatest composers of 20th century popular music, with over 400 songs, a number of which have become known the world over and have become standards although few people would recognize the name of Harold Arlen as the songwriter.

His 1938 song "Over the Rainbow” was voted the twentieth century's No. 1 song by the Recording Industry Association of America 1. Arlen was a longtime friend and former roommate of actor Ray Bolger who would star in ''The Wizard of Oz'' in which "Over the Rainbow" became famous.

Arlen was born "Hyman Arluck", in Buffalo, New York, the child of a Jewish cantor. His twin brother died the next day. He learned the piano as a youth and formed a band as a young man. He achieved some local success as a pianist and singer and moved to New York City in his early 20s. As this point, he changed his name to Harold Arlen. He performed on record with the "Buffalodians" orchestra, as well as those of Red Nichols, Henny Hendrickson and Arnold Johnson.

In 1929, Arlen composed his first well-k...

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