On this day in Alabama history: Hugh Martin, composer of hit show tunes, died

On this day in Alabama history: Hugh Martin, composer of hit show tunes, died
Hugh Martin works on the score for the Broadway musical High Spirits, which he co-wrote with Timothy Grey and which was produced for the stage in 1964. The production was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Musical, and Martin and Grey were nominated for Best Author of a Musical and Best Composer and Lyricist. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo courtesy of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame)

March 11, 2011

Birmingham native Hugh Martin, whose songwriting credits include “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” died in California at the age of 96. After being encouraged as a young child to become a classical pianist, Martin turned toward popular music. Leaving Birmingham-Southern College after a year and a half, Martin moved to New York and soon was arranging music for Broadway shows. In 1941, he and collaborator Ralph Blane wrote all the songs for the musical “Best Foot Forward,” which later was made into a movie starring Lucille Ball. Moving on to Hollywood, his “The Trolley Song” from the film “Meet Me in St. Louis” was nominated for an Academy Award in 1945. Later in life, he converted to the Seventh-day Adventist Church and turned his musical attention to gospel. In 2010, he published a memoir, “Hugh Martin: The Boy Next Door.”

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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