Milton Ager

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Born: October 6, 1893; Chicago, IL   Died: May 6, 1979; Inglewood, CA  
Milton Ager was one of the top songwriters during the waning days of the Roaring '20s and the early days of the Depression. He composed many popular standards -- "Ain't She Sweet?," "Happy Days Are Here Again," "Happy Feet," and "I'm Nobody's Baby," most with words by Jack Yellen -- as well as quite a few novelty hits of the day like "Lovin' Sam, The Sheik of Alabam'" and "Mama Goes Where Papa Goes (Or Papa Don't Go Out Tonight)." Ager, born in Read more Chicago in 1893, played piano informally from an early age. He left high school one year before graduation and began working in a variety of short-term jobs during the 1910s: intermission pianist at a movie theater in New York, song plugger in Chicago, accompanist for vaudeville performers on a tour of the Orpheum circuit, work at a publisher back in New York, and a post in the Morale Division for the U.S. Army at Fort Greenleaf in Georgia.

By 1921, Ager wrote his first big hit, "I'm Nobody's Baby." One year later, he and Jack Yellen opened their own publishing house. The company gained many hits during the '20s, including "Lovin' Sam," "Hard-Hearted Hannah," "I Wonder What's Become of Sally," and, in 1929, "Ain't She Sweet?" Ager and Yellen moved to Hollywood by the end of the decade, and immediately cashed in with their music to 1930's King of Jazz. Starring Paul Whiteman, the film introduced "Happy Feet," "Happy Days Are Here Again" (a permanent anthem for the Democratic Party), and "A Bench in the Park." Elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Ager died in 1979. ~ John Bush Read less

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