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Don Raye

Donald McRae Wilhoite Jr.

Songwriter, Dancer, Bandleader

(1909 - 1985)

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Big Bands Database


Song--"This Is My Country" at me...


On Broadway at ibdb.com
Don Raye was born in Washington, D.C. As a dancer, he won the state championship in the Charleston and Black Bottom categories while still a teenager. Raye went on to perform internationally in vaudeville, both singing and dancing, but settled down in his mid-twenties to study advertising and literature at New York University.

He soon returned to the music profession, taking a job as a songwriter with a music publishing house in New York and then for Hollywood studios. Most notable were his boogie-woogie numbers, which became hits for the Andrews Sisters and in turn helped to shape that genre. Among his many successes in the early ‘40s were Rhumboogie” (introduced in the film Argentine Nights in which Raye also dances), “Cow Cow Boogie,” “House of Blue Lights,” “Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar,” “Milkman, Keep Those Bottles Quiet,” “Well All Right!” and “Mr. Five by Five.” He also wrote the patriotic song “This Is My Country” with Al Jacobs in 1940.

His collaboration with Gene De Paul produced “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” (1941), which won an Academy Award nomination, and “Down the Road Apiece” (1941) which reemerged in the 1960s, performed first by Chuck Berry and then the Rolling Stones. While his songs spanned generations they also crossed musical genres. “Just for a Thrill,” a Lil Hardin Armstrong composition to which Raye added lyrics, was a hit for the Ink Spots, recorded by Peggy Lee, and popularized again by Ray Charles. Jazz pianist/vocalist Shirley Horn included it in her tribute CD to Charles.

Within the jazz genre, Raye is best known for his contributions to “You Don’t Know What Love Is” (1941), “I’ll Remember April” (which was introduced in the 1941 Abbott & Costello film Ride ‘Em Cowboy along with “Cow Cow Boogie”), “Irresistible” and “Star Eyes” which appeared in the 1946 film I Dood It.

- Jeremy Wilson

The Very Best of the Andrews Sisters

The Andrews Sisters Includes three Raye songs

The Very Best of Ella Mae Morse

Ella Mae Morse Includes six Raye songs

You Don't Know What Love Is

Eddie Higgins

Blue Light Til Dawn

Cassandra Wilson Includes "You Don't Know What Love Is"

I'll Remember April: Live at Foothill College

Art Pepper

Nice Day With Buddy Collette

Buddy Collette Includes "I'll Remember April"

This Is June Christy!/June Christy Recalls Those Kenton Days

June Christy Includes "I'll Remember April"

Star Eyes

Lorez Alexandria

Swedish Schnapps

Charlie Parker Includes "Star Eyes"

Light out of Darkness (A Tribute to Ray Charles)

Shirley Horn Includes "Just for a Thrill"

House of Blue Lights

Eddie Costa
Reading and Viewing

At Amazon.com you can often buy used for a fraction of the new price

Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

DVD (Includes "You Don't Know What Love Is")

George Shearing, Joe Williams

Joe Williams with George Shearing: A Song is Born

VIEW, Inc.


Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Andrews Sisters

Buck Privates

Universal Studios

DVD Features "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy"

Bing Crosby, Basil Rathbone, Eric Blore

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (Disney Gold Classic Collection)

Walt Disney Video

DVD Songs by Raye

Red Skelton, Eleanor Powell, Helen O'Connell

I Dood It

MGM (Video & DVD)

VHS - "Star Eyes" was introduced in this film by Helen O'Connell and Bob Eberly

George Murphy, Ginny Simms, Charles Winninger, Gloria DeHaven, Nancy Walker, Ben Blue, Lena Horne, Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, Hazel Scott, Tommy Dorsey

Broadway Rhythm

MGM (Warner)

VHS Features several Raye songs including "Milkman..." and "Irresistible"

Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Louis Armstrong

A Song is Born [VHS]

Hbo Home Video

VHS Raye wrote title song and "Daddy-O"

George Reeves, Constance Moore, Peggy Moran, Ritz Brothers, Andrews Sisters

Argentine Nights

Nostalgia Home Video

VHS Introduced "Rhumboogie"

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