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 Haven Gillespie

Haven Gillespie

Birth
Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky, USA
Death 14 Mar 1975 (aged 87)
Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada, USA
Burial Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Courts of Remembrance #1152 (Near Liberace)
Memorial ID 1745 · View Source
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Songwriter. Best-remembered for his seasonal standard "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." Lyricist Haven Gillespie was born in Covington, KY. He left high school to enter the printing trade and soon became a "song plugger" for the music industry. He worked for the New York Times and other newspapers. After a bout with alcoholism and the loss of his wife, he returned to his native Kentucky. Joining ASCAP in 1925, his chief musical collaborators included Henry I. Marshall, Henry H. Tobias, Harry Tobias, Charles Tobias, Richard A. Whiting, Rudy Vallee, Lee David, Larry Shay, Byron Gay, Seymour Simons, Peter De Rose, Victor Young, Neil Moret, "Little" Jack Little, Pete Wendling, Egbert Van Alstyne, and J. Fred Coots. Gillespie scored his first major hit with 1925's "Drifting and Dreaming"; the next year yielded "Breezin' Along With the Breeze," co-written with frequent collaborator Dick Whiting. "By the Sycamore Tree" followed in 1931 and three years later, Gillespie scored his most enduring hit with "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," written with composer J. Fred Coots in the space of a 15-minute New York subway ride; the song debuted on Eddie Cantor's Thanksgiving radio special at the insistence of Cantor's wife, Ida, and within weeks its sheet music was selling in excess of 25,000 copies daily. 1936's "You Go to My Head" was authored in the wake of a long night at a local speakeasy and was subsequently recorded by singers including Billie Holiday, Lena H! orne, a nd Peggy Lee. 1949's "That Lucky Old Sun," meanwhile, was cut by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Louis Armstrong to Jerry Lee Lewis. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972. Haven Gillespie died in Las Vegas in 1975; a decade later, George Strait covered his "Right or Wrong" (written in 1921), scoring the ASCAP Country Music Award in the process. His other popular-song compositions include "The Old Master Painter," "Drifting and Dreaming," "Honey," "The Sleepy Town Express," "Our Old Home Team," "Don't Forget," "God's Country" (Freedom Foundation Award), "You Happened to Me," "Tin Pan Parade," "The Wedding of Jack and Jill," "Right or Wrong," "By the Sycamore Tree," "Beautiful Love," "Until Tomorrow", "Come Home," "There's Honey on the Moon Tonight," "Song of the Navy," "Seeing You Again Did Me No Good," "Our Silver Anniversary," and "This Holy Love".

Bio by: Curtis Jackson


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 1745
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Haven Gillespie (6 Feb 1888–14 Mar 1975), Find A Grave Memorial no. 1745, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills), Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .