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Johnny Green

John W. Green

Composer, Conductor, Arranger, Pianist, Musical Director, Producer

(1908 - 1989)

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Big Bands Database


Films at filmreference.com
Films at imdb.com
Films at nytimes.com
On Broadway at ibdb.com
Johnny Green was a man of many talents who, unfortunately, is best remembered as co-composer of “Body and Soul” which was interpolated into the score of Three’s a Crowd in 1930 and stole the show. While a student at Harvard, Green wrote arrangements for Guy Lombardo and composed “Coquette” with Carmen Lombardo and Gus Kahn. He graduated in 1928 and worked for a year on Wall Street before pursuing a musical career.

In 1930 he wrote, “I’m Yours” with “Yip” Harburg and worked as a conductor/arranger for Paramount Studios where he wrote the theme song for the Betty Boop cartoon. He was also piano accompanist to Gertrude Lawrence and Ethel Merman. After a stint in London in 1933, where he built a reputation as a pianist and recorded on two pianos with Carroll Gibbon, he toured with his dance band and conducted radio bands for prestigious shows until1940. His band also recorded some soundtracks of the Astaire/Rogers musicals. He was four times the musical director of the Academy Awards ceremonies beginning in 1945.

In 1949 he became MGM’s musical director and oversaw such films as An American in Paris, The Great Caruso, Brigadoon, Meet Me in Las Vegas (for which he wrote Cyd Charisse’s ballet) and High Society. In 1958 he left to produce TV specials.

Green was also a serious composer. In 1933 his commissioned work for orchestra and three pianos was performed by Paul Whiteman. In the ‘60s he wrote a symphonic suite adapted from his music for the film Raintree County (1956). He also directed a concert series for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Some of his other well-known songs are: “Out of Nowhere” (1931) and “I Cover the Waterfront” (1933) with Edward Heyman, and “I Wanna Be Loved” (1932) with Heyman and Billy Rose.

- Sandra Burlingame

Body & Soul

Coleman Hawkins

Ballad Essential

Kenny Burrell Includes Body & Soul"

Out of Nowhere

Meredith D'Ambrosio

Out of Nowhere - Chet Baker Quartet Live, Vol. 2

Chet Baker

The Verdict

Johnny Adams (Includes "I Cover the Waterfront")

I Wanna Be Loved

Helen Forrest

I Wanna Be Loved

Dinah Washington
Reading and Viewing

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

Johnny Green

Johnny Green Songbook - Body And Soul

Hal Leonard Corporation

Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, Georges Guétary, Nina Foch

An American in Paris

Warner Home Video


Gene Kelly, Van Johnson

Brigadoon (1954)


Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Celeste Holm, John Lund, Louis Calhern, Louis Armstrong

High Society

Warner Home Video


Janet Leigh, Dick Van Dyke, Ann-Margret, Maureen Stapleton, Bobby Rydell

Bye Bye Birdie

Sony Pictures


Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor

Raintree County (1957)


Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Peter Lawford, Ann Miller, Jules Munshin

Easter Parade

Warner Home Video


Mario Lanza, Ann Blyth

The Great Caruso (1951)


Dan Dailey, Cyd Charisse, Agnes Moorehead

Meet Me in Las Vegas

MGM (Warner)


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