J. Fred Coots

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J. Fred Coots is the pop composer responsible for "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and many other hits of the late '20s and '30s. In the following decades, his songs were periodically revived by the likes…
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J. Fred Coots is the pop composer responsible for "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and many other hits of the late '20s and '30s. In the following decades, his songs were periodically revived by the likes of Dinah Shore, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, and more. Born May 2, 1897, in Brooklyn, NY, the songwriter got his first break with 1928's "Doin' the Raccoon." Hal Kemp & His Orchestra recorded "I Still Get a Thrill Thinking of You" in 1930; this was a song Shore would cover 20 years later. Coots then collaborated with Nick and Charles Kenny to write "Love Letters in the Sand," which did well in 1931 and was revived by Pat Boone's 1957 cover, as well as his performance of it in the movie Bernardine. Three years after penning "Love Letters in the Sand," Coots wrote "For All We Know" with lyricist Sam M. Lewis and "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" with lyricist Haven Gillespie. The latter was first introduced by Eddie Cantor on the radio and went on to be recorded by Bing Crosby, the Andrews Sisters, Ozzie Nelson, and Tommy Dorsey. It was also Coots' biggest seller in sheet music, with over four million copies sold. Coots and Gillespie teamed up again to write the successful follow-ups "A Beautiful Lady in Blue" (1935) and "You Go to My Head" (1938). Originally sung by Bea Wain with Larry Clinton, "A Beautiful Lady in Blue" also went on to be recorded by many artists.