Gerald Marks (born October 13, 1900, Saginaw, Michigan, USA – died January 27, 1997, New York City, USA) was an American composer, songwriter, pianist and bandleader best known for the songs All Of Me (1931), his biggest hit written with Seymour Simons, has been recorded by artists including Louis Armstrong, Paul Whiteman, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Johnny Ray and Willie Nelson and Is It True What They Say About Dixie? (1936), written with Irving Caesar and Sammy Lerner.
Gerald Marks was born on October 13, 1900. When he was six years old, he learned to play the piano. Marks accompanied his aunt to her piano lessons. He began writing songs when he was 10 years old and continued until near his death.
After Marks dropped out of school, he made his way to New York to become a professional songwriter. Before turning composer, a self-taught pianist worked in local dance bands, eventually forming his own orchestra in the late 1920s. That same year, he began composing songs and launched a career writing for Broadway musicals and Hollywood films.
All of Me and other hits
In 1931, Marks teamed up with bandleader and frequent collaborator Seymour Simons to write All of Me, which was his biggest hit. All of Me has been recorded in about 2,000 different versions, including four by Frank Sinatra. Both Louis Armstrong and Paul Whiteman had hits with the song the following year. A great number of jazz and pop artists recorded their own versions, including Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Willie Nelson, Mae West and others.
Another Marks’ hit, Is It True What They Say About Dixie?, was written in 1936 with lyricists Irving Caesar and Sammy Lerner. That same year, with Caesar, Marks wrote a song That’s What I Want for Christmas for Shirley Temple, which she sang in the film Stowaway.
Other his collaborations with Lerner and Caesar included Old Susannah, Dust Off That Piana and I Don’t Know You, but You’re Beautiful. In addition to writing songs for movies and musicals, he wrote music for campaigns related to children’s safety and government war bonds. Marks wrote the music for Caesar’s 22-song series for children, intended as teaching aids – Sing a Song of Safety, Songs of Health, and Sing a Song of Friendship.
From 1970 to 1981 Marks served on the ASCAP board of directors and was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Marks spent his last years giving lectures at universities about his days writing music in Tin Pan Alley and at the time of his death was finishing a book, What I Found in the Alley. Marks retired in 1991.
He was invited to the White House by Presidents Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Ford and Clinton. In November of 1993, he presented an autobiographical musical revue, What I Learned in the (Tin Pan) Alley at Washington’s Smithsonian Institution.
Gerald Marks died on January 27, 1997.
You can find and download free scores of the composer: