Hoagy Carmichael

One of the most prolific and popular American composers of all time got his recorded start in Richmond.

Hoagy Carmichael was an American composer of popular songs best known for one of the most-recorded tunes of the 20th Century.

Carmichael had been wrestling with a new melody that had come to him on the Indiana University campus, while reminiscing on an old romance. He refined it on the piano at a Bloomington bookstore and organized it in a ragtime style. He and seven band members then headed to Richmond to record for Gennett at between 3-5 a.m. in the morning on Oct. 31, 1927 and played with frenzied reckless abandon. After it was over Carmichael fell off his piano stool and proclaimed it ‘my masterpiece.’

It was.

The tune, “Star Dust,” eventually changed his life and created a classic that became one of the 20th Century’s most recorded songs, recorded by Billie Holiday, Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong, Ella Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and others.


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June 19, 2012