A distinguished American composer for films and the stage active from the late 1920s through to the late '70s.
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Burton Lane Biography

by John Bush

The Broadway and Hollywood composer best-known for Finian's Rainbow, Burton Lane was born in New York in 1912. He began writing songs before his teens and after dropping out of high school, worked as a song plugger and staff composer. Influenced by Gershwin, Lane met his idol through a family friend and began composing for the theater while still a teenager. Teaming with lyricist Harold Adamson, he wrote songs for Earl Carroll's Vanities and Artists and Models in 1930. The pair wrote songs for several other shows, then traveled to Hollywood under the aegis of Irving Berlin's publishing company; after authoring two major film hits, "Everything I Have Is Yours" (from Dancing Lady) and "Says My Heart" (from Cocoanut Grove), Lane ended up staying for over two decades. He contracted with MGM, then Paramount, working on more than 30 pictures during the 1930s. After working at MGM for several years during the '40s, Lane returned to Broadway in 1947 to present Finian's Rainbow with lyrics by E.Y. Harburg. The show became a big success thanks to songs like "How Are Things in Glocca Morra," "When I'm Not Near the Girl I Love," and "Something Sort of Grandish."

Despite the grand homecoming, Burton Lane returned to Hollywood and worked on films, including Royal Wedding, Give a Girl a Break, and Jupiter's Darling. Lane's last major success, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, appeared in 1965. Written with Alan Jay Lerner, the show launched a hit with the title song and became a feature film in 1970. Though he rarely composed during his last two decades, he worked tirelessly as the president of the American Guild of Composers and Authors.

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