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Harry Who?

April 10, 1988

Michael Feinstein's reference to Harry Warren in your excellent Irving Berlin coverage points toward one of the oddities in the annals of American music ("Behind the Berlin Wall," by Laurence Bergreen, March 27).

In the years of the greatly popular radio program "Your Hit Parade," between 1935 and 1950, the composer who scored the highest was Warren, who had 42 of his songs placed in the coveted Top 10. Berlin came in second with 33, and yet the mention of Warren's name outside the music community still meets with a blank stare, "Harry who?"

Warren wrote the songs for most of the Warner musicals of the 1930s, the Fox musicals of the war years and a dozen MGM musicals in the postwar years, and he won Oscars for "The Lullaby of Broadway," "You'll Never Know" and "On the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe." Yet not that nor the enormous success of "42nd Street" on Broadway these last 10 years seems to have added much in the way of identity. Warren himself grew philosophical about this strange lack of recognition. He once said, "Not even my best friends seem to know what I do."

TONY THOMAS

Burbank

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