Herman Hupfeld (1894-1951)

From the website Songwriters Hall of Fame:

“Popular music in America is the richer for the presence on an earlier musical landscape of Herman Hupfeld. One of his major contributions as a songwriter was and continues to be the memorable, “As Time Goes By,” a song which first saw the light of day as part of the score for the 1931 musical, “Everybody’s Welcome.”

Since that first hearing on the legitimate musical stage, the song has gone on to become almost a living definition of the term, “standard.” Its most celebrated presence, without question, was its spotlight treatment in the movie classic, “Casablanca,” the war-time Bogart and Bergman opus in which Dooley Wilson played the tune on an upright piano in a smokey North African bar.

Thirty years later, in 1972, pianist Wilson appeared on screen all over again, playing the familiar strains of “As Time Goes By,” in the movie, “Play It Again Sam.” Between ‘72 and 1986, the song popped up again in three more motion pictures, “What’s Up Doc?,” “Blue Skies Again” and “Round Midnight.”

But there is no final curtain for this wonderful and nostalgic American ballad. Jimmy Durante’s rendition of the song in all its wistful glory on the soundtrack to yet another major film, “Sleepless in Seattle,” (1993) starring Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan, which produced yet another new wave of popularity just two years ago.

Hupfeld, who was born in Montclair, NJ, served in the US Navy in World War I, and played and sang in camps and hospitals during World War II. A number of other Hupfeld songs have also left their mark on the popular culture, songs like “Sing Something Simple,” “Let’s Put Out the Lights and Go to Sleep,” “Down the Old Back Road” and “Baby’s Blue.” Still the revered and renowned songwriter, Herman Hupfeld, leaves a very special and indelible musical legacy with “As Time Goes By.”.”

From Wikipedia:

“Hupfeld was born in Montclair, New Jersey, the son of Fredericka (Rader), a church organist, and Charles Ludwig Hupfeld. He was sent to study violin in Germany at age 9. Returning to the United States, he graduated from Montclair High School in 1915 and enlisted in the Navy during World War I. When the war ended, he launched a songwriting career. He entertained camps and hospitals during World War II.

Hupfeld never wrote a whole Broadway score, but he became known as a composer who could write a song to fit a specific scene within a Broadway show. While not known as a public performer, he is featured on a 78 rpm gramophone record with Victor Young & his Orchestra, recorded on 22 January 1932, singing and playing piano on two of his compositions, “Goopy Geer (he plays piano and he plays by ear)” and “Down the Old Back Road”.

Hupfeld never married and lived with his mother in Montclair until his death by a stroke in 1951 at the age of 57. He was buried at Mount Hebron Cemetery in Montclair. His mother died six years later aged 90. While Hupfeld was alive, their house was often visited by people from the world of entertainment, including Bing Crosby and Mae West.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: