Songwriters Friends

Bandleader and clarinetist, Nat Shilkret was born Nathaniel Schuldkraut in Queens, New York in 1895. He began studying the violin and clarinet at the age of five and later the piano, studying under Charles Hambitzer, also the instructor to George Gershwin. After graduating from college with a civil engineering degree, Shilkret began playing as a classical clarinetist with the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

He began his recording career on the RCA Victor label in 1924. He became one of the top bandleaders of the late 20’s and early 30’s with over 50 chart hits including ‘Tell Me You’ll Forgive Me’ (#7, 1924), ‘June Brought the Roses’ (#7, 1925), ‘Rio Rita’ (#8, 1926), ‘On the Riviera’ (#6, 1926), ‘All Alone Monday’ (#2, 1927), ‘One Alone’ (#4, 1927), ‘I Know That You Know’ (#5, 1927), ‘Hallelujah!’ (#3, 1927), ‘Me and My Shadow’ (#5, 1927), ‘Diane (I’m in Heaven When I See You Smile)’ (#2, 1928), ‘The Sidewalks of New York’ (#2, 1928), ‘You Were Meant for Me’ (#2, 1929), ‘Pagan Love Song’ (#3, 1929), ‘Chant of the Jungle’ (#3, 1930) and ‘Dancing With Tears in My Eyes’ (#1, 1930).

In the mid 1930’s, Shilkret began working in various radio programs and later in Hollywood as a studio composer for films including Swiss Miss. He was also the Director of Light Music or Victor Records until 1945.

Nat Shilkret died in 1982.


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