Hal Borne

Hal Borne (December 26, 1911, Chicago, Illinois - February 25, 2000, Tarzana, California) was an American popular song composer, orchestra leader, music arranger and musical director, who studied music at the University of Illinois. He often collaborated with lyricists Sid Kuller and Ray Golden, including songs for the Marx Brothers ("Sing While You Sell") and Tony Martin ("Tenement Symphony").

At the beginning of his career Hal Borne worked for RKO Radio Pictures as the rehearsal pianist for Fred Astaire. He became a key musical contributor to the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musicals, arranging new Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin songs; Hal Borne came up with the familiar three-note obbligato to Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek" ("Heaven... [obbligato] I'm in heaven [obbligato]") in the 1935 film Top Hat.

In 1941 he collaborated with Duke Ellington, Paul Francis Webster and Kuller on the progressive all-black revue Jump for Joy, which was supported by many Hollywood liberals of the time, such as Groucho Marx, Mickey Rooney, and Orson Welles. Borne became a big-band orchestra leader and in February 1942 signed as the music director for RCM's Soundies (musical shorts filmed for jukeboxes) for which his trio often provided backings.

Borne joined ASCAP in 1942 and was one of the composers for Ray Golden's 1950 revue Alive and Kicking, featuring Jack Cassidy, Bobby Van and Carl Reiner and the debut of Gwen Verdon. For many years Borne was associated with Tony Martin and became his regular music director for live and TV appearances throughout the 1950s and 60s. He scored the nudie film Not Tonight Henry in 1960, and in 1963 he composed most of the songs for the infamous first topless mainstream movie Promises! Promises!, starring Jayne Mansfield and Marie (the Body) McDonald—not to be confused with the subsequent Neil Simon-Burt Bacharach musical Promises, Promises. His other film work included the scores to The Explosive Generation (1961), Flight of the Lost Balloon (1961) and Hillbillys in a Haunted House (1967).

He was celebrated for his piano improvisations and often jammed in duets with Ellington on the spinet. Among his many albums, he supported Marie McDonald for her 1957 musical foray "The Body Sings".

Birth and Death Data: Born December 26, 1911, Died February 25, 2000

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1938 - 1948

Roles Represented in DAHR: leader, composer, arranger, piano

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor PBS-026169 10-in. 10/6/1938 I used to be color blind Hal Borne Orchestra ; Ginger Rogers Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo arranger, leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor PBS-026170 10-in. 10/6/1938 The yam Hal Borne Orchestra ; Ginger Rogers Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo leader, arranger, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-066134 10-in. 6/24/1941 Tenement symphony Bluebird Orchestra ; Larry Clinton ; Peggy Mann ; Butch Stone Jazz/dance band, with female-male vocal duet composer  
Victor BS-067760 10-in. 9/8/1941 Nothin' Harriet Clark ; Sonny Dunham Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo and vocal ensemble composer  
Gramophone 0EA13158 10-in. before 8/27/1948 Tenement symphony Tony Martin ; Woolf Phillips ; Skyrockets Orchestra Male vocal solo, with instrumental ensemble composer  
Gramophone 0EA13159 10-in. before 8/27/1948 Tenement symphony Tony Martin ; Woolf Phillips ; Skyrockets Orchestra Male vocal solo, with instrumental ensemble composer  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Borne, Hal," accessed February 26, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/105203.

Borne, Hal. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/105203.

"Borne, Hal." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 26 February 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/105203

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