Arnold Johnson

Arnold Johnson (March 23, 1893 in Chicago – July 15, 1975 in St. Petersburg, Florida) was an American big band pianist, arranger, composer, and leader during the swing jazz era. He was orchester leader on the popular The Majestic Theater of the Air program on the CBS radio network beginning in 1929.

Johnson worked in a Chinese restaurant in Chicago as a pianist when he was fourteen years old, and also worked as an accompanist for vaudeville revues. He studied at the Chicago College of Music and the American Conservatory of Music. He took a job as a pianist in Rudy Wiedoeft's New York-based Frisco Jass Band in the early 1920s, and also worked briefly in real estate around this time. He formed his own band in the middle of the 1920s, which recorded for Brunswick Records and Vocalion Records; Freddy Martin and Harold Arlen were sidemen in the group. Later, Vic Berton, Bob Chester, and Danny Polo would join the band, which played in the Broadway musicals George White Scandals, Greenwich Village Follies, and Earl Carroll's Sketchbook in 1928-1929. The group performed frequently in dance halls in New York and Chicago.

Johnson disbanded the group in the early 1930s, and became involved in the broadcasting business, working as a director and producer of radio programs such as National Amateur Night.

Birth and Death Data: Born March 22, 1893 (Chicago), Died July 25, 1975 (Florida)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1917 - 1954

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

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

Recordings (Results 101-103 of 103 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Edison N-902 10-in. 5/17/1929 Tear drops Oreste Queensland Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal quartet composer  
Edison N-1009 10-in. 7/9/1929 Don't hang your dreams on a rainbow Waldo Mayo Violin solo, with instrumental ensemble and mixed vocal ensemble composer  
Gramophone 0PC1038 10-in. 12/16/1954 '0" Conjunto Mário Simôes Male vocal solo, with instrumental ensemble composer  
(Results 101-103 of 103 records)


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Johnson, Arnold," accessed June 18, 2024,

Johnson, Arnold. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved June 18, 2024, from

"Johnson, Arnold." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 18 June 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier


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