Songwriter and composer Alec Wilder created many works in jazz, pop, and classical music ranging from ballads to operas. Born in Rochester, NY, in 1907, Wilder studied at the Eastman School of Music. His first successful song was "All the King's Horses" for the 1930 Broadway production Three's a Crowd, and he received more attention as the decade progressed with compositions that combined jazz and classical. During the 1940s, Wilder wrote many songs that would become standards and more high-profile numbers like "J.P. Dooley," recorded by Harry James, and Benny Goodman's version of "All the Cats Join In," used in Disney's 1946 animation Make Mine Music. In all, he composed over 200 songs, some of the most popular being "Soft As Spring," "Winter of My Discontent," "Lonely Night," "Milwaukee," "Good for Nothin'," "Sing Our Song of Love," "While We're Young," "Kalamazoo to Timbuktu," "Goodbye John," and "At the Swing Shift Ball." Wilder also wrote some unusual songs, such as "Amorous Poltergeist," and "Neurotic Goldfish," that his octet recorded in the late '30s and early '40s for the Brunswick and Columbia labels, among others. His classical output included a ballet, called Juke Box, and several operas, concertos, and sonatas. Wilder also wrote books during the 1970s, including the well-respected American Popular Song.
Alec Wilder Biography
by Joslyn Layne