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When Broadway Went to Hollywood$
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Ethan Mordden

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199395408

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199395408.001.0001

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De Sylva, Brown, and Henderson

De Sylva, Brown, and Henderson

(p.41) Chapter 2 De Sylva, Brown, and Henderson
When Broadway Went to Hollywood

Ethan Mordden

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the songwriting team of Ray Henderson, B. G. De Sylva, and Lew Brown. In their prime, this trio (DBH) had an uncanny ability to bridge the gulf between Tin Pan Alley commercial savvy and the higher art of the Harms group. The odd thing about DBH, however, was their lack of a sound autograph. While DBH had a style, it was an all but invisible one, a “standard” style, anonymously all-American. This made them perfect for Hollywood's wish to corral its moviegoing audiences onto a profit platform. After some work in shorts, the trio broke into the movie songwriting elite with the super-hit “Sonny Boy” in The Singing Fool.

Keywords:   Ray Henderson, B. G. De Sylva, Lew Brown, composers, lyricists, songwriting, Tin Pan Alley

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