Roger Graham

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 32 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  
(Results 1-25 of 32 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Graham, Roger," accessed September 18, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/114118.

Graham, Roger. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved September 18, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/114118.

"Graham, Roger." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 18 September 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/114118

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