Roger A. Graham (12 June 1885 Providence, Rhode Island – 25 October 1938 Chicago) was an American lyricist, composer, singer, and music publisher who flourished from 1906 to 1920 — a period that included World War I, the golden age of Tin Pan Alley (from about 1915 to 1920), the dawn of the Jazz Age (circa 1914), and the silent film era. Graham was a proponent of vaudeville and burlesque songs. But as a lyricist and publisher, Graham is most remembered for having been an exponent of blues songs.
From about 1914 to 1919, Graham's success and popularity as lyricist and publisher led to close friendships with stars of the stage and silent screen — George M. Cohan, Sophie Tucker, Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, and many others.
But after failing to have a hit as a writer or publisher for three or four years, and a year after the start of Prohibition, Graham quit writing music and publishing in 1921 and took a job as a department manager at Mandell Brothers, a large department store.
In 1938, nine years after the Wall Street Crash and in the throes of the Great Depression, Graham died alone and penniless in the Cook County Hospital charity ward, reportedly unknown to those attending him and without any kin or friend mourning at his side. Graham's remains would have been interred in a pauper's grave were it not for an alert attendant at the Cook County Morgue, who, after recognizing his name on a list, contacted a sister, Elizabeth (Mrs. Lawrence Joseph Mulhearn; 1887–1982) of Bronxville, New York, and his ex-wife of 8 years, May Olivette Hill (1888–1978) of Los Angeles.
According to Hill, his lyrics from "I Ain't Got Nobody", and other melancholy songs that made him popular, seemed to foreshadow his decline and ensuing loneliness.
Birth and Death Data: Born June 12th, 1885, Died October 25th, 1938
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1916 - 1939
Roles Represented in DAHR: lyricist, songwriter
Recordings (Results 1-25 of 33 records)
|Company||Matrix No.||Size||First Recording Date||Title||Primary Performer||Description||Role||Audio|
|Victor||B-18192||10-in.||8/9/1916||I ain't got nobody much||Marion Harris||Female vocal solo, with piano and orchestra||lyricist|
|Victor||BVE-39064||10-in.||6/25/1927||I ain't got nobody||Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal duet||lyricist|
|Victor||BVE-64849||10-in.||1/14/1931||I ain't got nobody and nobody cares for me||Dave Nelson and the King’s Men||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||lyricist|
|Victor||ABRC-68228||10-in.||6/10/1931||I ain't got nobody||Clarence ("Henny") Hendrickson ; Louisville Serenaders||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio||lyricist|
|Victor||BRC-71283||10-in.||1/27/1932||I ain't got nobody (And nobody cares for me)||Rollin Smith's Melodians||Male vocal ensemble, with guitar and piano||lyricist|
|Victor||BVE-87734||10-in.||1/28/1935||I ain't got nobody||The Wanderers||Instrumental ensemble, with vocal trio||lyricist|
|Victor||BS-88777||10-in.||3/6/1935||I ain't got nobody||Fats Waller and his Rhythm||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||lyricist|
|Victor||BS-88778||10-in.||3/6/1935||I ain't got nobody (And nobody cares for me)||Fats Waller and his Rhythm||Jazz/dance band||lyricist|
|Victor||BS-0277||10-in.||9/1/1936||I ain't got nobody||Gene Cobb ; Georgia Crackers ; Emmett Miller||Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band and dialogue||songwriter|
|Victor||BS-013880||10-in.||9/28/1937||I ain't got nobody (and nobody cares for me)||Wingy Manone Orchestra||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||lyricist|
|Victor||BS-036536||10-in.||4/26/1939||I'm a real kinda papa (Lookin' for a real kinda girl)||Wingy Manone Orchestra||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||songwriter|
|Columbia||47494||10-in.||4/16/1917||I ain't got nobody||George O'Connor||Male vocal solo, with orchestra||lyricist|
|Columbia||79134||10-in.||4/21/1920||I ain't got nobody||Marion Harris||Female vocal solo, with orchestra||lyricist|
|Columbia||W140858||10-in.||8/19/1925||I ain't got nobody||Bessie Smith and her Band||Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with clarinet, banjo, and piano||lyricist|
|Columbia||W142167||10-in.||5/7/1926||I'm a real kind mama||Maggie Jones||Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with cornet and piano||lyricist|
|Columbia||W144952||10-in.||11/3/1927||I ain't got nobody (And nobody cares for me)||Ruth Etting||Female vocal solo, with piano||lyricist|
|Columbia||W145799||10-in.||3/23/1928||I ain't got nobody (And nobody cares for me)||Ted Lewis and his Band||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||lyricist|
|Columbia||W146553||10-in.||6/18/1928||I ain't got nobody (And nobody cares for me)||Roy Evans||Male vocal solo, with piano||lyricist|
|OKeh||S-73395||10-in.||6/3/1925||I ain't got nobody (And nobody cares for me)||Virginia Liston||Female vocal solo, with reed organ||lyricist|
|OKeh||W80717||10-in.||4/11/1927||I ain't got nobody (And nobody cares for me)||Miff Mole's Molers ; Ted Shapiro ; Sophie Tucker||Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band||lyricist|
|OKeh||W400782||10-in.||6/12/1928||I ain't got nobody (And nobody cares for me)||Dan Fitch ; Emmett Miller||Male vocal solo and comic dialogue, with jazz/dance ensemble||lyricist|
|OKeh||W403264||10-in.||11/14/1929||I ain't got nobody (And nobody cares for me)||Monarch Jazz Quartet of Norfolk||Male vocal quartet, unaccompanied||lyricist|
|OKeh||W403493||10-in.||12/10/1929||I ain't got nobody (And nobody cares for me)||Louis Armstrong Orchestra||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||lyricist|
|Brunswick||9815||10-in.||approximately Feb. 1923||I ain’t got nobody||Marion Harris ; Benny Krueger||Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band and saxophone solo||lyricist|
|Brunswick||C2114||10-in.||7/24/1928||I ain’t got nobody||Stovepipe Johnson||Male vocal solo, with clarinet, guitar, and piano||lyricist|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Graham, Roger," accessed May 17, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/114118.
Graham, Roger. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved May 17, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/114118.
"Graham, Roger." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 17 May 2021.
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