American pop music composer Gene DePaul was writing successfully throughout the 1940s and 1950s, and is best known for his songs and scores for movie musicals, particularly Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), co-written with Johnny Mercer. DePaul got his start in the music business as an arranger for vocal groups and a pianist in theaters and dance bands. He started composing songs in 1940, and had his first hit that same year with "Your Red Wagon." The following year, he worked on music for two films, including Keep 'Em Flying, which featured the songs "You Don't Know What Love Is" and "Pig Foot Pete," an Oscar nominee. DePaul often collaborated with lyricist Don Raye for the earlier part of his career, but through the years also worked with such acclaimed lyricists as Mercer and Sammy Cahn. In addition to Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, DePaul and Mercer scored the Broadway musical, Li'l Abner (1956), which was later adapted for film. Cahn and DePaul teamed up, for instance, to pen the 1954 hit pop tune "Teach Me Tonight." Other songs counted among DePaul's best include "I'll Remember April," "You Were There" (Academy Award nominee for Best Song), "Rockin' and Reelin'" (1942), "He's My Guy" (1942), "Cow Cow Boogie" (1943), "Irresistible You" (1944), and "If I Had My Druthers" (1956). In all, DePaul wrote music for over 15 films, including Disney animated features like Alice in Wonderland (1952). He is also a member of the American Songwriter's Hall of Fame.
Share this page