Composer. In his time he was arguably the United States' most popular creator of light music, with his miniature "Sleigh Ride" (1948) is an immensely popular Christmastime favorite and staple, both in its original version and as a song with lyrics by Mitchell Parrish. Other Anderson compositions, including "Fiddle-Faddle" (1947), "The Typewriter" (1950), and "The Sandpaper Ballet" (1954), are still staples of the "pops" orchestral repertoire. Leroy Anderson was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and studied at the New England Conservatory of Music and at Harvard University. In 1936 conductor Arthur Fiedler hired him as an arranger for the Boston Pops Orchestra, and commissioned his first concert pieces. After serving as an United States Army intelligence officer during World War II, he achieved his first big hit song with "The Syncopated Clock" (1945). CBS Network in New York City, New York used the tune as the theme of television's "The Late Show" from 1950 to 1976. Anderson later conducted recordings of his music and his "Blue Tango" (1951) became the first instrumental single to sell 1 million copies. He eventually grew disenchanted with his fame as a composer of popular light music but met with frustration in his attempts at writing more ambitious works. "Goldilocks" (1958), his only Broadway theatrical musical, was not a success. In 1953 Anderson completed his "Piano Concerto in C" but felt it had structural flaws and withdrew it for revision. He tinkered with the score for 20 years before abandoning it, shortly before his death. The Concerto was finally premiered in 1988. That same year Anderson was posthumously inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards