A descendant of the royal family of Madagascar, Andy Razaf's lyrics were certainly high class. He was involved with many of the biggest hit songs and shows in early American popular music, either as the lyricist or sometimes writing words and music. Razaf wrote the lyrics for "Keep Shufflin," "Hot Chocolates" and "Blackbirds Of 1930." None of these shows would be cause for jubilation in the '90s, but they were major achievements in the '20s and '30s. He collaborated with Fats Waller on many epic hits, among them "Honeysuckle Rose," "Ain't Misbehavin," "How Can You Face Me" and "The Joint Is Jumpin." He also worked with Don Redman, Paul Denniker, James P. Johnson, Eubie Blake and William Weldon. Razaf wrote the big novelty smash "That's What I Like About The South," for Phil Harris. Razaf added lyrics to such instrumentals as "Reefer Man," "Knock Me A Kiss" and "Christopher Columbus," which Waller turned into a novelty hit. Razaf sometimes recorded as a singer using an alias. He cut "Back In Your Own Backyard" and "Nobody Knows How Much I Love You" as Tommy Thompson with Waller on piano. A stroke kept Razaf an invalid much of his life. But his collaborations with Waller and others are available on many CD reissues.
Share this page