Gene de Paul (June 17, 1919 – February 27, 1988) was an American pianist, composer, and pop music songwriter, and is best known for his songs and scores for movie musicals, writing successfully throughout the 1940s and 1950s. Born on June 17, 1919, in New York City, NY, he left his family to serve in the United States Army during World War II. DePaul got his start in the music business as an arranger for vocal groups and a pianist in theaters and dance bands. He began composing songs in 1940, and had his first hit that same year with “Your Red Wagon.” The following year, he worked on music for two films, including Keep ‘Em Flying, which featured the song “You Don’t Know What Love Is. ” In 1942 “Pig Foot Pete” was an Oscar nominee (with Don Raye) for Best Music in the movie Hellzapoppin. The song actually was not included in that movie, but in the 1941 feature, Keep ‘Em Flying, and was thus ineligible for the nomination and award. The award was given to “White Christmas.”
De Paul joined the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in 1941 and went on to compose the music for many motion pictures. He often collaborated with lyricist Don Raye for the earlier part of his career, but later worked with such acclaimed lyricists as Sammy Cahn, Johnny Mercer, Carolyn Leigh, Charles Rinker, and others at Universal Studios, Walt Disney Studios, and other Hollywood companies. Other songs counted among DePaul’s best include “I’ll Remember April,” “You Were There” (Academy Award nominee for Best Song), “Rockin’ and Reelin'” (1942), “He’s My Guy” (1942), “Cow Cow Boogie” (1943), “Irresistible You” (1944), and “If I Had My Druthers” (1956). In all, DePaul wrote music for over 15 films, including Disney animated features like Alice in Wonderland (1952).
De Paul composed the 1953 hit song “Teach Me Tonight” with Cahn. He was also one of the composers of the songs and dances, along with Mercer as lyricist, for the 1954 musical film Seven Brides for Seven Brothers for which he was nominated for the 1983 Tony Award for Best Original Score. In addition to Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, DePaul and Mercer scored the Broadway musical, Li’l Abner (1956), which was later adapted for film. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985. Gene de Paul died on February 27, 1988, at Northridge in Los Angeles, CA, and was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Hollywood Hills.
The following work by Gene DePaul is contained in my collection:
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954): Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.