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 26-33 of 33 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Brunswick C1148-C1151 10-in. 10/2/1927 I ain’t got nobody (And nobody cares for me) Hotel Gibson Orchestra ; Ray Miller Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo; without vocal (take C1151) lyricist  
Brunswick E28681 10-in. approximately Nov. 1928 I ain’t got nobody (And nobody cares for me) The Midnight Broadcasters Jazz/dance band, with vocal lyricist  
Brunswick E7180-E7181 10-in. 3/2/1928 I ain’t got nobody (And nobody cares for me) Dolly Kay Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band lyricist  
Brunswick E22043-E22045 10-in. 3/21/1927 I ain’t got nobody (And nobody cares for me) Bob Fuller Clarinet solo, with guitar, piano, and vocal; without vocal (take E22045) lyricist  
Edison 5623 10-in. 6/14/1917 Everybody loves a big brass band Edward Meeker Male vocal solo, with orchestra lyricist  
Edison 6166 10-in. May 1918 Has anybody seen my Corinne? Vernon Dalhart Male vocal solo, with orchestra lyricist  
Edison 18737 10-in. 9/19/1928 I ain't got nobody (And nobody cares for me) Vaughn De Leath Female vocal solo, with orchestra lyricist  
Edison N-442 12-in. 9/19/1928 I ain't got nobody (and nobody cares for me) Vaughn De Leath Female vocal solo, with orchestra lyricist  
(Results 26-33 of 33 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Graham, Roger," accessed October 15, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/114118.

Graham, Roger. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 15, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/114118.

"Graham, Roger." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 15 October 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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