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Jesse Greer (1896 - 1970)

Pianist, Composer

Jesse Greer worked as a theater pianist and, after serving in WWI, returned home to work in a music publishing house. One of his earliest tunes had the unlikely title of “Daddy Found You Down Beside the Garden Wall” (1917). At a time when novelty tunes were popular for piano he wrote “Flapperette” (1926).

Partnering with lyricist Ray Klages, he wrote for over half a dozen films in 1929 and 1930, including Hollywood Revue of 1929 and Jazz Cinderella (1930). But 1929’s Marianne produced their biggest and most lasting hit, “Just You, Just Me”.

Greer wrote “Baby Blue Eyes” with George Jessel for Troubles of 1922, and in 1931 he collaborated with Billy Rose on “When the Night Is Young.” He also contributed “Time to Go” to the short-lived Broadway show, Shady Lady (1933). Rudy Vallee’s rendition of Greer’s “Kitty from Kansas City” was popular in the 1930s. He collaborated again with Klages on the 1941 film Top Sergeant Mulligan.

Greer was married to Josephine Lauter until her death in 1969. Under her stage name, Josephine Harmon, she was a singer/comedienne on vaudeville and starred with Sophie Tucker in New York’s cabarets, retiring in 1937.

-- Sandra Burlingame

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