George M. CohanLyricist | 2006
George Michael Cohan was born in Rhode Island in 1878. His family consisted of traveling vaudeville performers, and with his parents and sister, young Cohan toured as a member of The Four Cohans. He later wrote original skits and songs for the family act, and he sold his first songs to a national publisher in 1893. Cohan’s first big Broadway hit came in 1904 with the show Little Johnny Jones, which introduced his tunes “Give My Regards to Broadway” and “The Yankee Doodle Boy.” Cohan became one of the leading Tin Pan Alley songwriters, publishing several hundred original songs noted for their catchy melodies and clever lyrics. Other major hit songs included “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” “The Warmest Baby In The Bunch,” “I Want to Hear a Yankee Doodle Tune,” “Mary’s a Grand Old Name,” and, perhaps his best known, “Over There,” which he composed in the Great Neck home he purchased in 1916. In the 1960s, a statue of Cohan was erected at Broadway and 47th Street in Manhattan. His Long Island estate has since become an official landmark.