Hoagy Carmichael

Induction Year: 1988

Birth Name: Howard Hoagland Carmichael

Birth Date: 11-22-1899

Place of Birth: Bloomington, Indiana

Death Date: 12-27-1981

Place of Death: Rancho Mirage, California

Hoagy Carmichael made his mark as an esteemed composer, a popular recording artist, and a star of radio, movies and television. As a boy, he was taught to play piano by his mother, who was the pianist for silent movies in the local movie theater. The family moved to Indianapolis when he was 16, and he continued to study music there.

He earned both his bachelor's and law degrees at Indiana University but spent many of his spare hours playing jazz in local bands. During this time, he also sold his first songs, some of which were recorded. Upon graduation, he moved to West Palm Beach, Florida, working as a law clerk and intending to pursue a legal career. But in 1927 he happened to hear a sidewalk phonograph playing a record of his "Washboard Blues," performed by cornetist Red Nichols' band. He was so excited by the recording that he decided then and there to abandon law and make music his career instead.

Working with a variety of lyricists, he composed a number of standards, including "Heart and Soul," "The Nearness of You," "I Get Along Without You Very Well," "Lazy River," "Skylark" and "Georgia on My Mind." His most recorded and most popular composition, "Stardust," was originally an instrumental. Mitchell Parish gave it lyrics in 1929, and the song sold millions during the Big Band era.

Many of Carmichael's songs were written for films, and he had a substantial career on screen himself. Usually portraying a saloon pianist, he appeared in To Have and Have Not (1944), Johnny Angel (1945), Canyon Passage (1946), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Night Song (1947), Young Man with a Horn (1950), Belles on Their Toes (1952), Timberjack (1955) and other features. His "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" won a 1951 Academy Award for Best Motion Picture Song.

In 1953, he starred in his own TV series, Saturday Night Revue. Later, he became a regular on the TV western Laramie (1959-1960). Hoagy Carmichael was inducted as a charter member of the national Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York in 1971. "Georgia on My Mind" was adopted as the state song of Georgia in 1979. Country-pop vocalists Rusty Draper (1957) and Crystal Gayle (1999) have both recorded tribute albums to this songwriter.

"(Up a) Lazy River"

(written with Sidny Arodin)

Hoagy Carmichael1932 
The Hoosier Hot Shots1941 
Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys1947 
The Mills Brothers1952 #22 pop
Art Mooney1952 #29 pop
Gene Vincent1956 
Rusty Draper1957 
Bobby Darin1961 #14 pop
Brenda Lee1962 
Merle Travis1969 
Hank Thompson1972 
Boots Randolph1973 
Chet Atkins & Les Paul1976 
Roy Clark1978 
Crystal Gayle1999 

"Can't Get Indiana Off My Mind"

(written with Robert DeLeon)

Bing Crosby1940 #8 pop
Kate Smith1940 
Crystal Gayle1999 

"Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief"

(written with Paul Francis Webster)

Hoagy Carmichael1946 #18 pop
Betty Hutton1946 #1 pop
Les Brown1946 #6 pop
Rusty Draper1957 

"Georgia on My Mind"

(written with Stuart Gorrell)

Frankie Trumbauer1931 
Mildred Bailey1932 
Ethel Waters1938 
Gene Krupa1941 #17 pop
Dinah Shore1942 
Tennessee Ernie Ford1953 
Rusty Draper1957 
Eddy Arnold1959 
Ray Charles1960 #1 pop,#3 R&B
Brenda Lee1961 
Pat Boone1961 
Floyd Cramer1963 
James Brown1966 
The Righteous Brothers1966 #62 pop
Tom Jones1967 
Rick Nelson1967 
Wes Montgomery1968 #91 pop
Boots Randolph1976 
The Band1977 
Jerry Lee Lewis1977 
Willie Nelson1978 #1 country,#84 pop
Roy Clark1978 
Charlie McCoy1987 
Michael Bolton1990 #36 pop
Crystal Gayle1999 
Van Morrison2002 
Ronnie Milsap2002 
Doug Stone2005 

"Heart And Soul"

(written with Frank Loesser)

Larry Clinton1938 
Eddy Duchin1938 
Al Donohue1938 
The Four Aces1952 #11 pop
Johnny Maddox1956 #57 pop
Ella Mae Morse1957 
The Cleftones1961 #10 R&B,#18 pop
Jan & Dean1961 #25 pop
Floyd Cramer1961 
Joni James1962 
The Incredibles1967 #45 R&B
Livingston Taylor1993 
Crystal Gayle1999 
Ben E. King2010 

"Hong Kong Blues"

Hoagy Carmichael1945 #6 pop
Tommy Dorsey1945 #8 pop
Rusty Draper1957 
Jerry Lee Lewis1963 
Spanky & Our Gang1969 
Junior Brown1996 

"I Get Along Without You Very Well"

Red Norvo1939 
Jimmy Dorsey1939 
Chet Baker1954 
Frank Sinatra1955 
Frankie Laine1958 
Billie Holiday1958 
Peggy Lee1961 
Lena Horne1966 
Carly Simon1981 
Linda Ronstadt1986 
Kenny Rogers1994 
Crystal Gayle1999 
Diana Krall2001 
Jerry Jeff Walker2003 

"In The Cool Cool Cool Of The Evening"

(written with Johnny Mercer)

Academy Award

Bing Crosby & Jane Wyman1951 #11 pop
Jo Stafford & Frankie Laine1951 
Rusty Draper1957 
Crystal Gayle1999 
Bette Midler2003 


Jo Stafford1947 #13 pop
Dick Haymes1947 #19 pop

"Lazy Bones"

(written with Johnny Mercer)

Ted Lewis1933 
Don Redman1933 
Mildred Bailey1933 
The Mills Brothers1934 
Perry Como1943 
Rusty Draper1957 
The Supremes1965 
Liza Minnelli1970 
Crystal Gayle1999 
Harry Connick Jr.2007 

"Ole Buttermilk Sky"

(written with Jack Brooks)

Hoagy Carmichael1946 #2 pop
Kay Kyser1946 #1 pop
Paul Weston1946 #6 pop
Helen O'Connell1946 #7 pop
Danny O'Neil1946 #12 pop
Connee Boswell1946 #14 pop
Frank Sinatra1946 
Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys1946 
Rusty Draper1957 
Bill Black's Combo1961 #25 pop
Willie Nelson1988 
Crystal Gayle1999 

"Riverboat Shuffle"

(written with Irving Mills, Dick Voynow)

The Wolverines1924 
Isham Jones1925 
The Benson Orchestra of Chicago1925  
Frankie Trumbauer1927 
Red Nichols1928 

"Rockin' Chair"

Hoagy Carmichael1932 
The Mills Brothers1932 
Mildred Bailey1937 
Rusty Draper1957 
Crystal Gale1999 


(written with Johnny Mercer)

Dinah Shore1942 #5 pop
Glenn Miller1942 #7 pop
Harry James1942 #11 pop
Bing Crosby1942 #14 pop
Tony Bennett1960 
Bobby Darin1961 
Aretha Franklin1963 
Bette Midler1973 
Linda Ronstadt1985 
Cassandra Wilson1996 
k. d. lang1997 
Crystal Gayle1999 

"Small Fry"

(written with Frank Loesser)

Bing Crosby & Johnny Mercer1938  
Mildred Bailey1938 
Rusty Draper1957 
Crystal Gayle1999 


(written with Mitchell Parish)

Hoagy Carmichael & His Pals1927 
Irving Mills1930 
Isham Jones1931 
Bing Crosby1931 
Louis Armstrong1931 
Jimmie Lunceford1935 
Benny Goodman1936 
Tommy Dorsey1936 
Sammy Kaye1939 
Cliff Bruner's Texas Wanderers1939 
Artie Shaw1941 #2 pop
Tommy Dorsey & Frank Sinatra1941 #7 pop
Glenn Miller1941 #20 pop
Baron Elliott1943 #18 pop
Tommy Dorsey (reissue)1943 #23 pop
Billy Ward & His Dominoes1957 #5 R&B,#12 pop
Nat King Cole1957 #79 pop
Frank Sinatra1962 #98 pop
Nino Tempo & April Stevens1964 #32 pop
Willie Nelson1978 
Wynton Marsalis1984 
Crystal Gayle1999 

"The Lamplighter's Serenade"

(written with Paul Francis Webster)

Bing Crosby1942 #23 pop
Frank Sinatra1942 

"The Nearness of You"

(written with Ned Washington)

Glenn Miller1940 #5 pop
Frank Sinatra1947 
Bob Manning1953 #16 pop
Patti Page1956 
Rick Nelson1963 
Barbra Streisand1967 
Paul Anka1969 
Tom Jones1987 
Kenny Rogers1994 
Crystal Gayle1999 
Rod Stewart2002 
Norah Jones2002 
Willie Nelson2009 

"Two Sleepy People"

(written with Frank Loesser)

Hoagy Carmichael & Ella Logan1938 
Fats Waller1938 
Sammy Kaye1938 
Kay Kyser1938 
Bob Crosby1938 
Lawrence Welk1938 
Bob Hope & Shirley Ross1939 
Eddy Arnold1957 
Dean Martin1959 
Gene Pitney1967 
Crystal Gayle1999 

"Washboard Blues"

(written with Fred B. Callahan, Irving Mills)

Red Nichols1928 
Paul Whiteman1928 

Hoagy Carmichael

Induction Year: 1988