Devotees of the Golden Age of American popular music are aware that most of the best songwriters of the 1920s, 30s and 40s were Jewish (Gershwin, Berlin, Arlen, Rodgers, Hart, Hammerstein, Kern, etc.) — a subject worthy of a treatise in itself. But this article is about a great lyricist of that period who even this muse of a music devotee didn’t know was Jewish, until doing research to recognize his birthday today (born July 10, 1900).
I refer to the man who (quoting jazz historian Warren Vache) “wrote the lyrics to so many great songs that the list reads like an all-time hit parade”, Michael Hyman Pashelinsky — you may know him better as Mitchell Parish. Composers who were his collaborators included the likes of Hoagy Carmichael (Star Dust), Duke Ellington (Sophisticated Lady), Peter DeRose (Deep Purple) and Ray Perkins (Stars Fell On Alabama).
Again quoting Vache, Mitchell Parish “had the gift of creating precise imagery in the listener’s mind of romantic scenes, gorgeous girls, and sometimes delicious melancholy, songs often as well remembered for the words as for the melody.”
Parish was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972. Here are two of the reasons why, as played and sung by the greatest trumpet man and the greatest trombone man in jazz history: