Lew Brown wrote lyrics for some of the most popular songs of the 1920s and 1930s as part of the songwriting team of De Sylva, Brown, and Henderson including “The Best Things in Life are Free”, “I Used to Love You But It’s All Over Now”, “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries”, “You’re the Cream in My Coffee” and “Sunny Side Up”.
He was born Louis Brownstein in Odessa, Russia on December 10, 1893. His family brought him to America in 1898 at the age of five and he attended De Witt Clinton High School in the Bronx, New York. While still in his teens, he began writing parodies of popular songs of the day, and eventually began writing original lyrics. His first songwriting partner was Albert von Tilzer, an already established composer fifteen years his senior, and in 1912 they had a hit with "I'm The Lonesomest Gal In Town". In 1916 the pair had another big hit with "If You Were the Only Girl" and in the course of the next few years they had a number of successful songs, one of which, "Give Me the Moonlight, Give Me the Girl", was revived in the 1950s by the popular British singer Frankie Vaughan.
In 1922, Brown met Ray Henderson, a pianist and composer, and they quickly started writing songs together. Their first hit was "Georgette", introduced in the Greenwich Village Follies of 1922. In 1925, Brown and Henderson were joined by lyricist Buddy De Sylva, creating one of the most influential and popular songwriting and publishing teams in Tin Pan Alley.
With De Sylva and…
YOU’RE THE CREAM IN MY COFFEE
Lew Brown, Buddy De Sylva, Ray Henderson
Ballentine Stephen Music Publishing/De Sylava, Brown, Henderson/Ray Henderson Music Co., Inc.
BEER BARREL POLKA
Lew Brown, Wladimir Timm, Jaromir Vejvoda, Vaclav Zeman
Shapiro Bernstein & Co., Inc.