About Hoagy Carmichael
Known by the nickname Hoagland Howard Carmichael, he was born in Bloomington, Indiana, in 1899 and died in Rancho Mirage, California, in 1981. In addition to writing several of the most well-known popular standards in American music, Hoagy Carmichael was a composer, singer, pianist, and actor.
As a child, Carmichael’s father worked as an itinerant electrician, while his mother earned extra money for the family by performing in dances and silent movies. It was through her that Carmichael learned to play the piano. Ragtime music was a strong influence on him, as well as the music of Black families and churches in his neighborhood. When he was a teenager, he made it my priority to hear and play as much jazz as possible; he studied piano with Reginald DuValle in Indianapolis, Indiana, and he traveled to Chicago to hear Louis Armstrong perform. Carmichael led a small jazz band at Indiana University in Bloomington (LL.B., 1926) that played for college dances throughout the Midwest. As a result of hiring Bix Beiderbecke to play at several fraternity parties, Carmichael became friends with him in 1924. During the same year, Beiderbecke and his band, the Wolverines, recorded the original Carmichael composition, “Free Wheeling,” and renamed it “Riverboat Shuffle” after Carmichael’s first composition; this record has become a jazz classic as a result.
His College Life
It was during his brief time practicing law in Florida that Carmichael received his law degree from college. A recording of one of his songs, “Washboard Blues,” had just been released by Red Nichols and his Five Pennies at this time, and he happened to see it. His surprise at the fact that the song had been recorded and the encouragement he received by seeing this mark of success led him to abandon law and move to New York City to pursue a career as a composer and musician. “Stardust” was recorded as an instrumental in 1927 and was not noticed until Mitchell Parrish wrote lyrics for it in 1929. It became one of the most famous and most recorded standards in all of the American music after being hit by Isham Jones and his Orchestra in 1930. His stay in New York also provided him with the opportunity to make friends with Johnny Mercer, the young lyricist who collaborated with Carmichael on a number of songs, with “Lazy Bones” being their first hit in 1933. He also became known for other hits he composed during his time in New York, such as “Lazy River,” “Rockin’ Chair,” and “Georgia” (also referred to as “Georgia On My Mind” or “Georgia On My Mind”).