| Henderson came from a musical family
and developed his talent in the choir and at the organ of the local
Episcopal church. His next step was to play with local dance bands,
and then moved to New York, finding work with music publishers.
One of the publishers introduced him to lyricist Lew Brown. An early success in the 'Greenwich Village Follies' encouraged Henderson, and in the next 20 years he wrote hundreds of songs for revues and film.
Despite working with other lyricists (he had a big hit with Bye
Bye Blackbird in 1925 with Mort Dixon) his partnership with
Brown was the most durable. In 1925 Brown and Henderson teamed with
lyricist Buddy De Sylva, and the most celebrated songwriting trio
in history was formed.
Among the team's standards are : It All Depends
on You, The Best Things in Life Are
Free, You're The Cream in my Coffee,
Button Up Your Overcoat, You
Are My Lucky Star, Keep Your Sunny
Side Up, If I Had A Talking Picture
In 1930, after a spell on the West Coast, the team split up. For a while, Buddy De Sylva remained in Hollywood as a successful producer, and later returned to Broadway as a producer (of musicals).
Brown and Henderson continued as a team, returning to Broadway, where their songs were heard in a great many musical hit shows.
In 1939 he contributed a song to a revue called Sticks
and Stones with a lyric by Dorothy Fields. The song was Swing
Low, Sweet Chariot.
For more information on Ray Henderson, visit the Tunesmiths Database : Ray Henderson