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Ted Koehler

Lyricist, Composer, Pianist

(1894 - 1973)

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Big Bands Database
Songwriters Hall of Fame

Ted Koehler began his musical career as a pianist for silent films, eventually writing material for vaudeville, nightclub shows, Broadway revues and musicals. A collaboration with Harold Arlen in 1930 produced “Get Happy” which became a success despite the failure of the show in which it was introduced. Judy Garland performed it in her classic dance number choreographed by Charles Walters for the 1950 film Summer Stock. Koehler and Arlen worked on Earl Carroll Vanities (1930 and 1932) and had a hit with “I’ve Got a Right to Sing the Blues” (1932). The two wrote several hits for Cotton Club shows between 1930-1934: “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” and “I Love a Parade” (1931); “I’ve Got the World on a String” (1932) which was a favorite of Sinatra’s; “As Long as I Live” and the haunting ballad “Ill Wind” which Ella Fitzgerald featured in her performance at the Opera House, both released in 1934.

In 1933 Arlen and Koehler were summoned to Hollywood to write the music and the hit title cut for Let’s Fall in Love. That year also produced “Stormy Weather,” originally introduced by Ethel Waters but forever associated with Lena Horne after her steamy performance of the song in the 1943 film of the same name. In 1935 Koehler worked on three films: King of Burlesque, which produced the Hit Parade song “I’m Shooting High” written with Jimmy McHugh, and two Shirley Temple vehicles, Dimples and Curly Top (1935) in which Temple sang “Animal Crackers in My Soup,” written with Irving Caesar and Ray Henderson. That same year Koehler worked on the 1935 Broadway production Say When.

Other collaborations produced “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams” (1931, with Billy Moll and Harry Barris), which appeared in Cab Calloway’s Cotton Club Parade and was later popularized by Frank Sinatra, and “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me” (1939, with Rube Bloom), which was introduced by Bing Crosby. Koehler continued to work as a lyricist for films throughout the 1940s. Many of his songs have entered and remained on the jazz standards list and have appeared in Broadway musicals throughout the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s.

- Sandra Burlingame

I Love a Parade

John Williams & the Boston Pops

Get Happy

The Kristin Corb, Todd Johnson Trio

Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea

Lita Roza

Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra

At the Opera House

Ella Fitzgerald
Reading and Viewing

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Music Harold Arlen, Lyric Ted Koehler

Now I Know from 'Up in Arms' Danny Kaye Dinah Shore


Ted Koehler, Harold Arlen

Stormy Weather

Mills Music Inc.

Curly Top (Colorized / Black and White)

20th Century Fox

Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, Matthew 'Stymie' Beard, Ada Brown, Cab Calloway, Benny Carter

Stormy Weather

20th Century Fox


Shirley Temple, Frank Morgan, Robert Kent, Helen Westley, Astrid Allwyn


20th Century Fox


Erville Alderson, Nita Bieber, Eddie Bracken, George Bunny, Paul E. Burns

Summer Stock

Warner Home Video


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