Claude A. “Bennie” Benjamin was born on November 4, 1907 in Christiansted, St. Croix, Virgin Islands. He moved to New York City at the age of twenty and studied the banjo and guitar with Hy Smith.
Benjamin spent several years performing in vaudeville and various orchestras before becoming a staff composer and music publisher. Benjamin’s prolific output began in 1941 and collaborating with Sol Marcus, Ed Durham and Ed Seiler, Benjamin produced the hit songs “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire”, “Strictly Instrumental”, “When the Lights Go On” and “Cancel the Flowers”.
In 1946, Benjamin teamed with George David Weiss a partnership that would produce “Rumors Are Flying”, “Surrender”, “Confess”, “I Don’t See Me In Your Eyes Anymore”, “Can Anyone Explain? (No, No, No)”, “Echoes”, “I’ll Never Be Free”, “To Think You’ve Chosen Me”, “I Ran All the Way Home”, “Jet”, “Wheel of Fortune”, “Cross Over the Bridge” and “How Important Can It Be”.
In the late 1950’s and 60’s, worked with Sol Marcus on “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”, “I Am Blessed”, “Of This I’m Sure”, “Our Love (Will See Us Through)”, “How Can I?”, “Fabulous Character” and “Lonely Man”.
In 1968, Benjamin formed his own publishing company, Bennie Benjamin Music. In addition to his enormous catalog, Benjamin also collaborated on music and theme songs for movies including Fun and Fancy Free and Melody Time.
Bennie Benjamin died in New York City on May 2, 1989.
I DON’T WANT TO SET THE WORLD ON FIRE
Eddie Durham, Sol Marcus, Edward Seiler, Bennie Benjamin
Eddie Durham Swing Music/Ocheri Publishing Corp./Bennie Benjamin Music, Inc.
OH, WHAT IT SEEMED TO BE
Frankie Carle, George David Weiss, Bennie Benjamin
Anne-Rachel Music Corp./Abilene Music, Inc.