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Walter Donaldson

Lyricist, Composer, Music Publisher

(1893 - 1947)

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Walter Donaldson began writing songs while still in high school. After graduation he took a job as a clerk on Wall Street and as a demonstrator for a music publisher. By 1915 he had a song in the top five and one in the top ten the following year. In 1918, with lyricists Joe Young and Sam M. Lewis, he enjoyed success with “How Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm?” They also wrote “My Mammy” for a vaudeville show, and the song was picked up by Al Jolson for his Broadway show Sinbad and became one of Jolson’s signature songs.

During WWI Donaldson entertained troops at Army camps where he met Irving Berlin. He joined Berlin’s publishing firm in 1919 and wrote several songs with Gus Kahn that endured in popularity: “My Buddy,” “Carolina in the Morning,” “Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby,” “That Certain Party,” and “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” which became the title of the 1951 film biography (I’ll See You in My Dreams) of Kahn in which Frank Lovejoy played Donaldson. “My Blue Heaven,” a collaboration with lyricist George Whiting, enjoyed a second round of popularity when Fats Domino recorded it in 1957.

In 1928 Donaldson formed his own publishing company and collaborated with Kahn on the Broadway show Whoopee! which produced the hit songs “Makin’ Whoopee,” “My Baby Just Cares for Me,” and “Love Me or Leave Me,” which became the title of the 1955 film biography (Love Me or Leave Me) of Ruth Etting. In 1929 he went to Hollywood where he worked on a series of films. He wrote his own lyrics for hits such as “At Sundown,” “Little White Lies,” and “You’re Driving Me Crazy.”

After writing more than 600 songs, Donaldson retired in 1943 due to ill health.

- Sandra Burlingame

My Buddy

Rosemary Clooney and Woody Herman

My Blue Heaven: The Best Of Fats Domino

Fats Domino

My Blue Heaven

John Pizzarelli

Makin' Whoopie

Dorothy Donegan
Reading and Viewing

At Amazon.com you can often buy used for a fraction of the new price

Walter Donaldson

The Walter Donaldson Songbook

Hal Leonard Corporation

Sam M. Lewis, Joe Young, Walter Donaldson

You're A Million Miles from Nowhere When You're One Little Mile from Home (Operatic Edition)

Words and Music Walter Donaldson

At Sundown Love is Calling me Home

Leo Feist Inc., New York

Walter Donaldson, Gus Kahn

Dancing in the Moonlight (Cover Photo: Walter Donaldson)

Robbins Music Corporation, NY

Walter Donaldson

There Must Be Somebody Waiting for Me in Loveland (Cover Photo: Mary Eaton)

Walter Donaldson Music

Gus Kahn, Walter Donaldson

My Baby Just Cares for Me "Whoopee" (Cover Photo: Eddie Cantor and Nude Indian on Horseback)

Walter Donaldson

Grant Clarke, Walter Donaldson

My Sahara Rose "The Ed. Wynn Carnival"

Irving Berlin

Walter Donaldson

Little White Lies

Gumble Music Publishers, NY

Doris Day, James Cagney, Cameron Mitchell, Robert Keith, Tom Tully

Love Me or Leave Me

Warner Home Video


Doris Day, Danny Thomas, Frank Lovejoy, Patrice Wymore, James Gleason

I'll See You in My Dreams

Warner Home Video


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