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Francis Wheeler


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Francis Wheeler was most active from 1922 to 1928 during which time he collaborated on almost two dozen songs; however, few became hits. He and co-lyricist Harry B. Smith wrote the words for Ted Snyder’s 1921 “The Sheik of Araby,” the best known song from Wheeler’s collaborations. It has been performed by Mildred Bailey, Tommy Dorsey, Lionel Hampton, and Charlie Christian, among others. Another tune which gained in popularity and appeared in the 1929 Hollywood musical It’s a Great Life was “Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella,” written with composer Sammy Fain and co-lyricist Irving Kahal in 1927. The song enjoyed a resurgence of popularity when Perry Como recorded it in 1959.

Wheeler also collaborated on music for the silent films: Dancing Fool (1920), starring Bebe Daniels, and Red Hair (1928), featuring “The It Girl” Clara Bow. With Snyder and Kahal he wrote “Gypsy Sweetheart” for the 1927 Broadway show Footlights.

- Sandra Burlingame

The Mildred Bailey Radio Shows: Original 1945 Broadcasts

Mildred Bailey

The Music Goes Round and Around

Tommy Dorsey & His Clambake Seven

Classic Jazz Archive

Lionel Hampton

Original Guitar Genius

Charlie Christian
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Ted Snyder, Harry B. Smith, Francis Wheeler

The Sheik of Araby

Waterson Berlin & Snyder

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