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Mort Dixon


Lyricist

(1892 - 1956)

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Mort Dixon served in WWI and directed an Army show that would tour Europe after the war. He returned to the States and to vaudeville and had a hit with his first published song, written with Billy Rose and Ray Henderson in 1923, “That Old Gang of Mine.” It was a modest hit again in 1954 when it was recorded by the popular singing group The Four Aces. “I’m Looking over a Four Leaf Clover,” written with Harry Woods in 1927, was another of Dixon’s songs to enjoy a second round of popularity when Art Mooney recorded it in 1948. A novelty song that he wrote with Harry Warren in 1928, “Nagasaki,” has faired less well. It played on the fascination of his generation with exotic locales, and, although it was recorded by several different artists, today it would be considered politically incorrect.

Many of Dixon’s lyrics were written for Broadway shows. A collaboration with Harry Warren and Billy Rose produced “Would You Like to Take a Walk?” for Sweet and Low (1930) and “I Found a Million Dollar Baby (in a Five and Ten Cent Store)” for Crazy Quilt (1931). The Laugh Parade (1931), on which he collaborated with Joe Young and Warren, produced “Ooh That Kiss” and the hit song “You’re My Everything.”

With Allie Wrubel he wrote “Try to See It My Way” for the 1934 film Dames, starring Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler, and “The Lady in Red” for the 1935 film In Caliente. They also wrote the songs for Sweet Music (1934) which produced a hit for Russ Columbo, “I See Two Lovers.”

But Dixon’s tour de force is “Bye Bye Blackbird” for which he supplied the enigmatic lyric to Ray Henderson’s melody in 1926. This song entered the jazz standards repertoire and has remained a favorite over the years of both instrumentalists and singers.

- Sandra Burlingame


You're My Everything

Cedar Walton & David Williams



The Lady in Red

Hot Club of San Francisco



Bye Bye Blackbird

Miles Davis



Bye Bye Blackbird

John Coltrane



Bye Bye Blackbird

Keith Jarrett Trio
Reading and Viewing

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Dick Powell/Ruby Keeler

Dames

MGM (Video & DVD)

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