The Light Music Hall of Fame

These pages were last edited on April 26, 2017

Introduction: What is “Light Music”?

Composers and Arrangers of Light Music

For more information about a particular composer and recommend works, click on his name if it is underlined...Those names which are not yet underlined are being researched, and information will be posted as soon as the process is complete.

First we honor composer/arrangers who made major contributions to the field of Light Music and who are favorites of the authors of this Web Site:

Robert Farnon | Leroy Anderson | David Rose | Henry Mancini | Nelson Riddle

Here are other composer/arrangers who have written particular distinctive pieces which became classics of the "Light Music" genre, listed in roughly chronological order of birth:

John Phillip Sousa | Eric Coates | Benjamin Frankel | Ken Warner | Sydney Torch | Wallingford Riegger
Ray Martin | "Skip" Martin | Felix Arndt | Paul Weston | Robert Maxwell | Bernie Wayne | Milton Delugg
Louis Busch (Joe "Fingers" Carr) | Albert Harris | Frank DeVol | Andre Popp
Ernest Tomlinson | Bob Thompson | Richard Hayman

Following are "arranger/stylists", who were known for their strong individual styles applied to every piece. In realizing the arrangements for recordings they sometimes almost "re-composed" a piece. They were admired craftsmen, even though they were celebrated more for their distinctive arranging, performing, or producing styles, than for writing original compositions

Please note: we do not choose to honor here every pop music arranger working in the field, only those who in our opinion made a distinctively unique contribution to the art of arranging light music...

Percy Faith | Andre Kostelanetz | George Melachrino | Les Baxter | Les Paul | Chet Atkins
Les & Larry Elgart | Ray Conniff | Hugo Winterhalter | Bert Kaempfert

Here are some composer/arrangers of what used to be called "Mood Music" or "Cue Music", now called "Production Music." Usually it is sold as part of a Music Scoring Service or Production Music Library. "Library tracks" are licensed on a non-exclusive basis, for use as background cues, Main Titles, or End Credits Themes for radio, TV, and films. In the "Classic" days of film, radio and TV it was commissioned by European music publishers who had developed a recorded music division; or -- in the U.S. -- it was more often the result of a composer or music packager who wanted to re-cycle music composed for a different production.

Sometimes the original cue was "laundered" by having a few notes changed and the structure switched around, and then the whole thing re-recorded by a foreign orchestra, so it could be given a new title for the purpose of collecting performance royalties.

Often this music has multiple uses down through the years, or becomes associated with different programs in different countries. The tunes can be familiar and memorable, even if the composers' names are unknown. We honor those unsung heroes -- composers whose "Mood Music"was particularly memorable, and fits the style of Light Music as well. They are listed here in roughly chronological order of birth:

Charles Williams | Roger Roger | Ronald Hanmer | Alexander Laszlo | Herschel Burke Gilbert
Joseph Mullendore | Raoul Kraushaar | Dave Kahn | Melvyn Lenard Gordon | Leon Klatzkin
Mahlon Merrick | Bernard "Bernie" Green | Stanley J. Wilson

Next are feature film composers whose melodic themes also became well known in the Light Music genre, sometimes in their original form and sometimes in arrangements by others:

Max Steiner | Dmitri Tiompkin | Erich Wolfgang Korngold | Victor Young | Alfred Newman | Miklos Rozsa
George Duning | Alex North | David Raksin | Elmer Bernstein | John T. Williams

Certain Broadway Musical Theatre composers have written tunes so memorable, they became classics, when arranged in a Light Music style:

Jerome Kern | Richard Rodgers | Jule Styne | Cy Coleman | Leonard Bernstein

And finally, some more modern songwriters who wrote songs (including theme songs for TV and motion pictures) that crossed over into pop music as well, and become known to fans of Light Music through various media and recorded arrangements:

Jerry Livingston | Jay Livingston | Jimmy Van Heusen | Sammy Fain | Johnny Mercer | Rod McKeun

In the following list, we also give “Honorable Mention” to composers, arrangers, and conductors, who --
although they did not make our own "Hall of Fame list" for various reasons having to do with
time-frame, style, or subjective matters of taste -- have been suggested by various correspondents:

Alfredo Antonini | Burt Bacharach | Edward German | Frederic Curzon | Alphonse D'Artega
Ron Goodwin | Morton Gould | Philip Green | Albert Ketèlbey | George Melachrino
Annunzio Mantovani | Billy Mayerl | Stu Phillips | Franck Pourcel | Charles Strouse
Frederick Loewe | Irving Berlin | Axel Stordahl | Haydn Wood | Ray Martin

Also check out:

Classic U.S. TV Series -- Theme List

Old-Time U.S. Radio Series -- Theme List

What is A.S.C.A.P.?

The History of Production Music

Film & TV Studio -- Signature Logo List

The Music and Media Technology TimeLine

Light Music and Theme Composer TimeLine

Music-related Links, Books, and Other Resources

For a Glossary of Music and Media Terms, click here

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