The songwriting team of composer Hugh Martin and lyricist Ralph Blane earned their greatest renown for Meet Me in St. Louis, the classic 1944 Vincente Minnelli film musical that launched the perennials "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "The Trolley Song." Born August 11, 1914, in Birmingham, AL, Martin studied piano at Birmingham University before making his Broadway debut singing in the 1937 production Hooray for What? He then teamed with castmate Blane to form the vocal quartet the Four Martins, additionally arranging vocals for a number of stage productions, including One for the Money, Too Many Girls, DuBarry Was a Lady, Cabin in the Sky, and Louisiana Purchase. In 1941, Martin and Blane wrote their own Broadway smash, Best Foot Forward, which yielded the songs "Buckle Down, Winsocki" and "Ev'ry Time"; they soon traveled to Hollywood to adapt the project for MGM. The duo remained in Tinseltown, authoring "The Joint Is Really Jumpin' (In Carnegie Hall)" for 1943's Thousands Cheer before turning to Meet Me in St. Louis, which also included their "The Boy Next Door." Contributions to 1944's Ziegfeld Follies ("Love") and 1947's Good News ("Pass That Peace Pipe") followed, and apart from Blane, Martin also returned to the stage for projects including 1948's Look, Ma, I'm Dancin'!, 1951's Make a Wish, and 1952's Love from Judy, the latter written with singer Timothy Gray. Martin and Blane reunited to score the 1954 film Anthea, followed a year later by The Girl Rush; in 1960, the duo also composed several new songs for a stage adaptation of Meet Me in St. Louis produced by the St. Louis Municipal Opera. They added yet more new material when the show finally reached Broadway in 1989. Hugh Martin died on March 11, 2011 at his home in Encinitas, CA; he was 96 years old.
Hugh Martin Biography
by Jason Ankeny