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They Write the Songs

Series 1

Episode 4: Frank Loesser

Duration: 1 hour

First broadcast: on BBC Radio 2Latest broadcast: on BBC Radio 2

Barry Manilow looks at the lives and works of ten famous American composers, playing rare recordings and de-constructing their songs at his piano.

Recorded at Barry's home in America, the series gives a songwriter's insight into the art and craft of songwriting, covering over 60 years of composition. This week he celebrates Frank Loesser, the Pulitzer, Tony and Academy award-winning lyricist and songwriter.

Born in New York in 1910, Loesser was briefly a newspaper reporter before his first lyrics (In Love with the Memory of You) were published in 1931. He moved to Hollywood where he wrote songs for dozens of films and whilst serving in World War II, he began writing music in addition to words. His compositions included Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition, Heart and Soul [aka Chopsticks - the music was written by Hoagy Carmichael] and he picked up an Oscar in 1949 for Baby, It's Cold Outside.

His major film score was Hans Christian Andersen (1952), which provided Danny Kaye with several memorable songs, while his stage successes included Guys and Dolls (1953) and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1963) which is currently playing on Broadway, with Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe.

Frank died of lung cancer in 1969 and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame the following year. Show less

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