Jay Livingston

Jay Livingston (born Jacob Harold Levison, March 28, 1915 – October 17, 2001) was an American composer best known as half of a songwriting duo with Ray Evans that specialized in songs composed for films. Livingston wrote music and Evans the lyrics.

Jay Livingston
Jay Livingston photo
Jacob Harold Levison

March 28, 1915
DiedOctober 17, 2001 (aged 86)
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania
Years active1937–2001
Spouse(s)Lynne Gordon (1947–1991; her death; 1 child)Travilyn
Shirley Mitchell (1992–2001; his death)

Early life and career

Livingston was born in McDonald, Pennsylvania; he was born to a Jewish mother and father.[1][2] Livingston studied piano with Harry Archer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he organized a dance band and met Evans, a fellow student in the band. Their professional collaboration began in 1937. Livingston and Evans won the Academy Award for Best Original Song three times,[3] in 1948 for the song "Buttons and Bows", written for the movie The Paleface;[4] in 1950 for the song "Mona Lisa", written for the movie Captain Carey, U.S.A.; and in 1956 for the song "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)," featured in the movie The Man Who Knew Too Much. They also wrote "Tammy" for the movie Tammy and the Bachelor in 1957. Livingston and Evans wrote popular TV themes for shows including Bonanza and Mister Ed, which Livingston sang.[5] They also wrote the Christmas song "Silver Bells" in 1951, for the film The Lemon Drop Kid, initially calling it "Tinkle Bells" but changed it to "Silver" because of the common connotation of "tinkle", as well as "Never Let Me Go" for the 1956 film The Scarlet Hour. Fans of Johnny Mathis can thank Mr. Livingston for All The Time among others.

Livingston appeared as himself with Evans in the New Year's Eve party scene of the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard.


Livingston is an inductee in the Songwriters Hall Of Fame.[6] In 2004, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission installed a historical marker in McDonald, Pennsylvania, noting Livingston's historic importance.[7]


Livingston died in Los Angeles and was interred there in Westwood Memorial Park Cemetery.[8] His brother, longtime Capitol Records executive Alan W. Livingston, is best known for creating "Bozo the Clown" and signing Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys and The Beatles among other legends with Capitol.

His wife, actress Shirley Mitchell, died on November 11, 2013 at 94.

Work on Broadway


  1. ^ Bloom, Nate (2006-12-19). "The Jews Who Wrote Christmas Songs". InterfaithFamily. Retrieved 2006-12-19.
  2. ^ Bloom, Nate (December 22, 2014). "All those Holiday/Christmas Songs: So Many Jewish Songwriters!". Jewish World Review.
  3. ^ Spencer Leigh (October 19, 2001). "Obituary: Jay Livingston". The Independent. Archived from the original on January 1, 2008.
  4. ^ Gilliland, John (1994). Pop Chronicles the 40s: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40s (audiobook). ISBN 978-1-55935-147-8. OCLC 31611854. Tape 4, side B.
  5. ^ "Livingston Obituary". All Things Considered. NPR. October 18, 2001.
  6. ^ "Songwriters Hall of Fame - Barry Gibb Exhibit Home". songwritershalloffame.org. Archived from the original on December 20, 2008. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  7. ^ "Jay Livingston (1915-2001) - PHMC Historical Markers". Historical Marker Database. Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  8. ^ Born to be Hurt

External links

Aaron Slick from Punkin Crick

Aaron Slick from Punkin Crick (a.k.a. Marshmallow Moon in the UK and the Philippines and Härkiä, heiniä ja hakkailua in Finland) is a musical and was a 1952 'hillbilly' movie made by Paramount Pictures, directed by Claude Binyon and produced by William Perlberg and George Seaton. It is based on a 1919 play by Walter Benjamin Hare which was one of the most produced plays in the history of American theater with 40,000 performances, as of 1952, mainly by amateur groups. The cinematography was by Charles Lang and the costume design by Edith Head.

As I Love You

"As I Love You (More and More and More)" is a 1959 hit song by Shirley Bassey with Wally Stott & His Orchestra, written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans for the Universal International Picture The Big Beat (1958).

From 20 February 1959 it was No.1 in the UK Charts for four weeks.

Buttons and Bows

"Buttons and Bows" was a popular song with music written by Jay Livingston and lyrics by Ray Evans. The song was published in 1947. The song was written for and appeared in the Bob Hope and Jane Russell film, The Paleface, and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. It was originally written with an Indian theme, but was changed when the director said that would not work in the movie. It was a vocal selection on many radio programs in late 1948. It was reprised in the sequel, Son of Paleface, by Roy Rogers, Jane Russell and Bob Hope. In 2004 it finished #87 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of the top tunes in American cinema.

The most popular version of the song was recorded by Dinah Shore in 1947 and reached the charts the following year. Charting versions of the song were also recorded by The Dinning Sisters, Betty Rhodes, Evelyn Knight, and Betty Garrett the same year. In addition, the song was recorded by Gene Autry and by Geraldo and his orchestra (with vocalist Doreen Lundy).

Dear Heart (song)

"Dear Heart" is a song written by Henry Mancini, Ray Evans, and Jay Livingston and performed by Andy Williams. The song reached #2 on the U.S. adult contemporary chart and #24 on the Billboard chart in 1964. It appears on the 1965 Andy Williams album, Andy Williams' Dear Heart.

The song was the theme to the 1964 movie Dear Heart. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song and also nominated for best song at the 22nd Golden Globe Awards.

In the Arms of Love

"In the Arms of Love" is a song featured in the 1966 film, What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? The song's music was composed by Henry Mancini with lyrics by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans and was performed by Andy Williams. "In the Arms of Love" peaked at #49 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was Williams' second of four number ones on the Easy Listening chart, where it stayed at the top for two weeks in October 1966. The song also reached #33 in the UK.

K Cera Cera

"K Cera Cera", a presentation of The Red Army Choir by the K Foundation (Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty), was released as a limited edition single in Israel and Palestine in November 1993. The song was an amalgam of Jay Livingston/Ray Evans's "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" and John Lennon/Yoko Ono's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)".

Originally intended for release when "world peace [is] established" (i.e. "never" and in "no formats"), the Israeli release was made "In acknowledgement of the recent brave steps taken by the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO)". Said Bill Drummond: "Our idea was to create awareness of peace in the world. Because we were worried it would be interpreted by the public as an attempt by The KLF to return to the music world on the back of a humanist gimmick, we decided to hide behind the Foundation."Plans to broadcast the track from the main stage of the 1993 Glastonbury Festival at the beginning and end of every day were scuppered by festival organiser Michael Eavis because, in his words, the record was "simply dreadful". The record was instead broadcast at that year's Phoenix Festival.A rendition of "K Cera Cera" was incorporated into Drummond and Cauty's 1997 "23 minutes only" comeback performance at the Barbican Centre in London, part of their "Fuck the Millennium" campaign.

Mona Lisa (Nat King Cole song)

"Mona Lisa" is a popular song written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston for the Paramount Pictures film Captain Carey, U.S.A. (1950).

The title and lyrics refer to the renaissance portrait Mona Lisa painted by Leonardo da Vinci.

The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1950.

Oh, Captain!

Oh, Captain! is a musical comedy based on the film The Captain's Paradise with music and lyrics by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans and the book by Al Morgan and José Ferrer. The basis of the musical was the 1953 film The Captain's Paradise, which had been written by Alec Coppel and Nicholas Phipps.

The musical updated the film's Gibraltar and Algiers setting to London and Paris. The production was dismissed by the critics as a "tired businessman's show", but the cast and choreography were much praised.

A 5 minute dance sequence between Tony Randall (in the title role) and prima ballerina Alexandra Danilova is called "the best five minutes in the show" by Ken Mandelbaum.

Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)

"Que Será, Será (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)", first published in 1956, is a popular song written by the songwriting team of Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. The song was introduced in the Alfred Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), starring Doris Day and James Stewart in the lead roles.Day's recording of the song for Columbia Records (catalog number 40704) made it to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one in the UK Singles Chart. From 1968 to 1973, it was the theme song for the sitcom The Doris Day Show, becoming her signature song. The four verses of the song progress through the life of the narrator—from childhood, through young adulthood and falling in love, to parenthood—and each asks "What will I be?" or "What lies ahead?" The chorus repeats the answer: "What will be, will be." It reached the Billboard magazine charts in July 1956. The song in The Man Who Knew Too Much received the 1956 Academy Award for Best Original Song with the alternative title "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Será, Será)". It was the third Oscar in this category for Livingston and Evans, who previously won in 1948 and 1950. In 2004 it finished at #48 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema.

The title sequence of the Hitchcock film gives the song title as "Whatever Will Be". It was a #1 hit in Australia for pop singer Normie Rowe in September 1965.

Ray Evans

Raymond Bernard Evans (February 4, 1915 – February 15, 2007) was an American songwriter. He was a partner in a composing and songwriting duo with Jay Livingston, known for the songs they composed for films. Evans wrote the lyrics and Livingston the music for the songs.

Red Garters (album)

Red Garters is an LP album of songs by Rosemary Clooney (and others, especially Guy Mitchell) from the movie of the same name, released by Columbia Records in 1954.

The album was reissued, combined with the 1954 Rosemary Clooney album Irving Berlin's White Christmas, on compact disc by Collectables Records on June 12, 2001.

Silver Bells

"Silver Bells" is a popular Christmas song, composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.

"Silver Bells" was first sung by William Frawley, then sung in its entirety and in the generally-known version immediately after by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in the motion picture The Lemon Drop Kid, filmed in July–August 1950 and released in March 1951. The first recorded version was by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards on September 8, 1950 with John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra and the Lee Gordon Singers which was released by Decca Records in October 1950. After the Crosby and Richards recording became popular, Hope and Maxwell were called back in late 1950 to refilm a more elaborate production of the song.

Stuff Like That There

"Stuff Like That There" is a song that was performed by The King Sisters in the 1945 film On Stage Everybody, with music by Jay Livingston and lyrics by Ray Evans. It was recorded in December 1945 by Betty Hutton.In 1991, the song was performed by Bette Midler in the motion picture For the Boys. It was later recorded by Kelly Clarkson on Big Band night, American Idol season 1, and by Seohyun of South Korean girl group Girls' Generation during their first Japanese Tour and second Asia tour.

Swing Hostess

Swing Hostess is a 1944 American musical comedy film directed by Sam Newfield for Producers Releasing Corporation and starring Martha Tilton, Iris Adrian, Charles Collins, Betty Brodel, Cliff Nazarro and Harry Holman.

Tammy (song)

"Tammy" is a popular song with music by Jay Livingston and lyrics by Ray Evans. It was published in 1957 and made its debut in the film Tammy and the Bachelor. It was nominated for the 1957 Academy Award for Best Original Song. "Tammy" is heard in the film in two versions. The one that became a number one hit single for Debbie Reynolds in 1957 is heard midway through the film, and was a UK No. 2 hit single in the same year. The version that used for the film's main titles was a hit for the Ames Brothers; there have also been several other cover versions of the song.

The song's title served as the inspiration for Berry Gordy's first record label. In 1959, Gordy set up a new record company, and wanted to call it "Tammy Records" after the song, but the name was taken and "Tamla" was chosen instead. The main Motown label was created later that year and the two labels were incorporated into the Motown Record Corporation in 1960. Tamla served as a primary R&B and soul subsidiary throughout Motown's existence.

That Travelin' Two-Beat

That Travelin' Two-Beat is a duet album by Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney recorded in 1964 and released on Capitol Records in 1965.With its world tour theme, it was a revisitation of the concept explored in the duo's acclaimed RCA Victor album, Fancy Meeting You Here, released in 1958. That album had been arranged by Billy May, and he was called upon again to write the charts for this sequel.

As its title implies, the album took popular songs from around the world, but then set them all to Dixieland two-beat arrangements.

The songwriters Jay Livingston and Ray Evans supplied the title track and added new lyrics and countermelodies to the other, more-established songs.

Crosby and Clooney were friends, who often performed together on television, radio and stage. That Travelin' Two-Beat was re-released on CD in 2001 on the Collectors' Choice label, combined with another Crosby album from 1965 (this time without Clooney), Bing Crosby Sings the Great Country Hits.

The Continental (song)

"The Continental" is a song written by Con Conrad with lyrics by Herb Magidson, and was introduced by Ginger Rogers in the 1934 film, The Gay Divorcee. "The Continental" was the first song to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Major record hits at the time of introduction included Jolly Coburn and Leo Reisman.

In 1952 Harry James released a recording on the album Hollywood's Best (Columbia B-319 and CL-6224) with Rosemary Clooney on vocals.

A later version by Maureen McGovern reached number 16 on the UK Singles Chart in 1976.

Steve Howe recorded it as a duet with Graham Preskett on The Steve Howe Album in 1979.

To Each His Own (Jay Livingston and Ray Evans song)

"To Each His Own" is a popular song with music written by Jay Livingston and lyrics by Ray Evans. It is the title song of the movie of the same name. The song was published in 1946 by Paramount Music.


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