Cliff Burwell

Clifford R. Burwell (October 6, 1898 – October 10, 1976) was an American pianist and composer. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut on October 6, 1898. His most popular composition was "Sweet Lorraine," with lyrics by Mitchell Parish.

He played piano in dance bands in the 1920s, including touring with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra. His compositions included "Swing Express to Harlem" "Going Wacky" and "Why." He became the pianist and arranger for the Rudy Vallee band in 1928. The song "Sweet Lorraine" was introduced on the radio by Rudy Vallee in 1928. That year it was recorded by Vallee and also Johnny Johnson & his Hotel Statler Pennsylvanians. It was recorded by Isham Jones in 1932 and Teddy Wilson in 1935 both for Brunswick. The King Cole Trio recording on Decca in 1940 established Nat King Cole as a singer.

He played piano with the Rudy Vallee band from 1928 to 1943. He died in New Haven on October 10, 1976.

Birth and Death Data: Born 1898, Died 1977

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1928 - 1940

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer, piano, songwriter

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


Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BVE-45575 10-in. 6/11/1928 Sweet Lorraine Johnny Johnson ; Statler Pennsylvanians Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer  
Victor BS-021625 10-in. 3/25/1938 Sweet Lorraine Benny Goodman Trio Jazz/dance trio composer  
Victor BS-054689 10-in. 8/6/1940 Sweet Lorraine Dick Todd Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BVE-Test-152 10-in. 6/4/1928 Sweet Lorraine Rudy Vallée Male vocal solo, with piano instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-Test-153 10-in. 6/4/1928 Georgie Porgie Rudy Vallée Male vocal solo, with piano instrumentalist, piano  
Columbia W146307 10-in. 5/18/1928 Sweet Lorraine Radiolites Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer  
Columbia 146356 10-in. 5/28/1928 Sweet Lorraine Lou Gold Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer  
Brunswick E29492 10-in. Mar. 1929 I never guessed Copley Plaza Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo; without vocal (take G) composer, songwriter  
Brunswick C2121 10-in. 7/23/1928 Sweet Lorraine Jimmie Noone’s Apex Club Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Burwell, Cliff," accessed May 23, 2024,

Burwell, Cliff. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved May 23, 2024, from

"Burwell, Cliff." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 23 May 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier


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