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Hoagy Carmichael

2016 Legend Award


Born in Bloomington, Indiana, in 1899, Howard Hoagland "Hoagy" Carmichael has significantly impacted American popular music as a composer, pianist, singer, actor, and bandleader. Carmichael composed the music for “Stardust,” “Georgia on My Mind,” “The Nearness of You,” and “Heart and Soul”, four of the most-recorded American songs of all time. His significant body of work also includes “Skylark,” “I Get Along Without You Very Well,” “Lazybones,” and “Lazy River”.


As a child, Carmichael was exposed to music not only through his mother, who played piano at silent films and local dances, but also by listening to African-American jazz musicians in the Bucktown neighborhood of Bloomington. He wrote his first song for the cornetist Bix Beiderbecke, whom he met in Bloomington. Carmichael graduated from the Indiana University School of Law in 1926, but soon turned his attention to songwriting. By 1929, he was working as a songwriter in New York City. In 1936, he moved to California and began composing music for films.


Carmichael’s induction into the Songbook Hall of Fame is the latest of many accolades and honors he has been awarded for his contributions to American music. He received an Academy Award nomination in 1947 for “Ole Buttermilk Sky,” and won the Oscar five years later for “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening”. Carmichael was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960 for his work in television. In 1971, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.


Hoagy Carmichael passed away in Rancho Mirage, California on December 27, 1981. He is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Bloomington, Indiana.


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