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John Francis Burke (October 3, 1908 – February 25, 1964) was a lyricist, successful and prolific between the 1920s and 1950s. His work is considered part of the Great American Songbook. […] After graduating from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1927, Burke joined the Chicago office of the Irving Berlin Publishing Company in 1926 as a pianist and song salesman. He also played piano in dance bands and vaudeville.
Irving Berlin Publishing transferred Burke to its New York City office, where he began to write lyrics in collaboration with composer Harold Spina. In 1932, they wrote “Shadows on the Swanee”, followed in 1933 by “Annie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”, their first big hit for the Guy Lombardo Orchestra. In 1934, Burke and Spina wrote “You’re Not the Only Oyster in the Stew”, which was a novelty hit for Fats Waller, as was “My Very Good Friend the Milkman“. Burke and Spina wrote many songs that were played by leading bands of the day, including those led by Ben Pollack, Paul Whiteman and Ozzie Nelson. The Burke – Spina partnership ended in 1936 when Burke left for Hollywood. […]
Last updated on November 1, 2020