One of Tin Pan Alley's most prolific composers, with well over 400 songs to his credit, Charles Tobias was the middle child of the three songwriting Tobias brothers, who also included the older Harry and the younger Henry. Born August 15, 1898, in New York, Tobias started out as a singer who worked with music publishing companies, and then became an active performer on the Keith-Albee vaudeville circuit (noted for its clean, family-friendly humor and tight, near-monopolistic corporate control). In 1923, Tobias founded his own music publishing company, which naturally employed both of his brothers at one time or another. Tobias himself served chiefly as a lyricist, though he did write music on occasion. He supplied both music and lyrics to a succession of Broadway shows beginning in the late '20s and lasting through the early '40s, most notably the 1938 hit Hellzapoppin and 1939's Yokel Boy, both of which were later made into movies. His biggest early success was "Merrily We Roll Along," a rewritten adaptation of a nursery song (with Murray Mencher and Eddie Cantor) that was used as the theme song for Warner Brothers' Merrie Melodies cartoons during the late '30s. The late '30s and early '40s found Tobias hitting his stride: 1938's "Miss You" was written with both of his brothers, and later became a hit for Dinah Shore; 1939's "Comes Love" (with Lew Brown and Sammy Stept) was a significant hit that remains most associated with Billie Holiday; and 1940's "Trade Winds" (with Cliff Friend) was a hit for Bing Crosby. 1942 brought one of Tobias' best-known songs, the Andrews Sisters smash "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else but Me)," again written with Brown and Stept. Some of Tobias' biggest subsequent hits were 1942's wartime anthem "We Did It Before and We Can Do It Again" (a collaboration with Friend), 1944's "Time Waits for No One" (written with Friend, a hit for Helen Forrest), 1946's "The Old Lamplighter" (written with Nat Simon, a hit for Sammy Kaye), and 1951's "Love Ya" (written with Peter DeRose, featured in the Doris Day film On Moonlight Bay). He enjoyed one last hurrah in 1963, when Nat King Cole took "Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer" (written with Hans Carste) into the pop Top Ten. He passed away in the Long Island town of Manhasset on July 7, 1970.
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