Walter Donaldson was born on February 15, 1893 in Brooklyn, New York. One of eleven children in a music-loving family, his early musical talent bloomed under the tutelage of his mother, a classically trained pianist and teacher. As a boy he wrote songs for school productions, demonstrated sheet music in five and ten cent stores, worked as a pianist in neighborhood nickelodeons and at a Brighton Beach hotel. After a brief flirtation with the world of finance and Wall Street, Donaldson began his professional music career as a staff pianist in Tin Pan Alley.
In 1915 he wrote his first hit songs, and continued to write throughout his enlistment in the army during the First World War, frequently entertaining the troops and at War Bond Rallies. Along the way, Donaldsons songs were regularly featured in Vaudeville and many shows.
His legendary songs of the 1910s and 1920s include: How Ya Gonna Keep Em Down On The Farm (After Theyve Seen Paree), The Daughter Of Rosie OGrady, My Little Bimbo Down On The Bamboo Isle, My Mammy, My Buddy, Carolina In The Morning, Yes Sir, Thats My Baby, (What Can I Say) After I Say Im Sorry, At Sundown, My Blue Heaven, I Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight, Because My Baby Dont Mean Maybe Now, That Certain Party, Dont Be Angry, Hes The Last Word, Changes, Thinking Of You, There Aint No Maybe In My Babys Eyes and Oh Baby! among hundreds of others.
In 1928 Donaldson formed his own music publishing firm: Donaldson, Douglas and Gumble, with partners Walter Douglas and Mose Gumble. Notably, from his earliest days as…