The son of renowned Tin Pan Alley lyricist Gus Kahn, composer Donald Kahn left his own indelible imprint on the Great American Songbook with "A Beautiful Friendship," recorded by singers including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nat King Cole. Born July 17, 1918, in New York City, Kahn grew up among pop music immortals -- Al Jolson was his godfather, while Jerome Kern, George and Ira Gershwin, Harry Warren, Richard Rodgers, Eddie Cantor, and Judy Garland were regular visitors to his family's home. After a stint at military school he studied music at Los Angeles' Pomona College, and served as an Air Force navigation instructor during World War II. Although Kahn spent his musical career in the shadow of his father, he was a respected and prolific composer, at various times collaborating with the likes of Johnny Mercer and Sammy Cahn. In 1956 he partnered with lyricist Stanley Styne for "A Beautiful Friendship," a ballad also recorded by Rosemary Clooney, Jack Jones, and Sarah Vaughan, among dozens of others. For his vocalist wife Lois, Kahn also conducted and arranged the LP Yes, Sir! That's My Baby!, a celebration of Gus Kahn standards. In addition, he served for years on the boards of music industry organizations including the Songwriters Guild of America, ASCAP, and the Hal Leonard Music Publishing Company. Kahn died in Los Angeles on April 11, 2008.
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