Jay Livingston

Biography by

The post-war songwriter Jay Livingston earned three Academy Awards for Best Song during the 1940s and '50s in tandem with Ray Evans. Born in Pennsylvania, Livingston studied classical piano as a child…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

The post-war songwriter Jay Livingston earned three Academy Awards for Best Song during the 1940s and '50s in tandem with Ray Evans. Born in Pennsylvania, Livingston studied classical piano as a child and while at the University of Pennsylvania, studied composition and orchestration. He led a dance band on the side, where he met lyricist Ray Evans. After graduation in 1937, the pair moved to New York and found their first hit with "G'bye Now," written in 1941 for Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson's Hellzapoppin'. After spending several years in the U.S. Army, Livingston moved with Evans to Hollywood in 1944 and signed a contract with Paramount. In all, they wrote songs for 100 films in the ten years from 1946 to 1956, including the award-winning "Buttons and Bows" (from 1948's The Paleface), "Mona Lisa" (from 1951's Captain Carey of the U.S.A.), and "Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" (from 1957's The Man Who Knew Too Much).

Livingston and Evans began freelancing for different studios during the '50s and concentrated more on complete scores -- The Lemon Drop Kid (which introduced the holiday classic "Silver Bells") and My Friend Irma, among others -- than isolated songs. In 1961, the duo composed the score for the Broadway musical Let It Ride! Both were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.