b. 1 February 1894, Montclair, New Jersey, USA, d. 8 June 1951, Montclair, New Jersey, USA. A little-known songwriter, pianist and conductor, who, although he did not compose complete scores, was particularly adept in interpolating the occasional superior song into stage shows and films of the 20s and 30s. After being sent to Germany at the age of nine to study the violin, Hupfeld returned to the USA and completed his education at the local Montclair high school. After serving in the US Navy during World War I, he worked as a pianist-singer before contributing songs such as ‘Baby’s Blue’, ‘Sort Of Lonesome’, and ‘The Calinda’ to the smart and fashionable Broadway revues of the day. In 1930 his ‘Sing Something Simple’ attracted some attention when it was introduced by Ruth Tester, with Arline Judge and Fay Brady, in The Second Little Show. A year later, as well as contributing the amusing ‘When Yuba Plays The Rumba On His Tuba’ to The Third Little Show, he wrote the song for which he will always be remembered - ‘As Time Goes By’. It was first sung by the popular platinum blonde singer Frances Williams in the musical Everybody’s Welcome, and subsequently recorded by Jacques Renard and Rudy Vallee, amongst others. However, it came to world-wide prominence in the 1943 film Casablanca, when it was memorably performed by Dooley Wilson. More than 50 years later, it still conjures up the bitter-sweet romance between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the movie, and that magical moment when Bergman requests the pianist to ‘Play it Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By’’. In 1932 Hupfeld had another of his best-known numbers, ‘Let’s Put Out The Lights And Go To Sleep’, featured in George White’s Music Hall Varieties stage show, and during the remainder of the 30s his other songs included ‘Wouldn’t That Be Wonderful’ (Hey Nonny Nonny! revue), ‘Savage Serenade’ (Earl Carroll’s Murder At The Vanities), and ‘Buy Yourself A Balloon’ (The Show Is On revue). He also placed songs in movies such as Moonlight And Pretzels (‘Gotta Get Up And Get To Work’ and ‘Are You Makin’ Any Money?’) and Take A Chance (‘Night Owl’). During World War II Hupfeld travelled widely, entertaining the troops in the USA and Europe. In 1950 he had one last fling at Broadway, contributing material to the musical Dance Me A Song. The show was notable only for an early appearance of dancer Bob Fosse, and was quickly withdrawn.
Herman Hupfeld Biography