Victor Young

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Victor Young (born August 8, 1900 in Chicago , Illinois , † November 10, 1956 in Palm Springs , California ) was an American violinist , composer and bandleader , who is mainly known for his composition of numerous film scores , but also for Jazz standards like (I Don't Stand) a Ghost of a Chance (With You) , Stella by Starlight and Street of Dreams .


The musically gifted Victor Young came to Europe at the age of 10, where he studied violin with Isidor Lotto at the Warsaw Conservatory and took part in several international tours of the Warsaw Philharmonic as a violinist.

Back in the United States, Young worked as a concertmaster for various classical orchestras before settling as a violinist and arranger of the Big Band of Ted Fiorito devoted joined and from then amplifies the light music. In the 1920s and early 1930s, Young worked for numerous radio stations in his hometown of Chicago and New York , including as an orchestral conductor for Al Jolson .

In the mid-1930s, Young moved to California , where he founded his own orchestra and thus accompanied numerous vocalists on their studio recordings, such as Bing Crosby on many of his recordings for Decca Records . In 1938 he and his orchestra accompanied Judy Garland on her first recording of the evergreen Over the Rainbow .

As a song composer, Young had his first big hit in 1932 with (I Don't Stand) A Ghost of a Chance (With You) , which he had written with Ned Washington and Bing Crosby and which quickly became the jazz standard. In the same year, the similarly successful, with Sam M. Lewis written piece Street of Dreams appeared . Together with Washington later other hits such as Stella by Starlight (1944) for the film Der unheimliche Gast (The Uninvited), Mad About You (1949) and My Foolish Heart (1949) were created.

In addition to Washington, Young also worked successfully with other copywriters, such as Ray Evans and Jay Livingston for Golden Earrings (1946), Mona Lisa (1950) and with Edward Heyman for When I Fall In Love (1952), a hit by Doris Day . Young's songs have been interpreted by many well-known jazz and pop artists, including Crosby Nat King Cole , Ella Fitzgerald , Judy Garland , Billie Holiday , Harry James and Frank Sinatra , for whose television show Young and Washington in 1950 the piece You're the One ( For Me) composed.

Young moved to California in 1935 and then worked in Hollywood as a film composer and orchestral conductor. Young became one of the most successful film composers within a few years and wrote compositions for a wide variety of genres such as westerns, film noirs, musical films and melodramas. By 1956 he had over 350 film scores, and Young worked regularly for the Paramount Pictures and Columbia Pictures studios . From the Western Union Pacific (1939) he regularly wrote the film music for the productions of the star director Cecil B. DeMille , including Pirates in the Caribbean Sea (1942) and Samson and Delilah (1949). He also composed the music for several John Ford films , including the classic film Der Sieger (1952). Young wrote one of his best known film scores for the western classic My Great Friend Shane (1953) by George Stevens .

His works earned him a total of 22 Oscar nominations; between 1938 and 1943 alone he was nominated fifteen times for an Oscar, in 1939 and 1940 even for four films at the same time. However, he was only able to win the award once, for Around the World in 80 Days ; the award was given to him posthumously over four months after his death at the 1957 Academy Awards . With a text by Ned Washington, an instrumental theme from this film entitled Around The World became Young's last hit as a songwriter through recordings by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra (both 1957). In Germany, Around The World In 80 Days Youngs was the only chart success, the title reached number 16 in the singles charts in 1957.

In the 1950s, Young occasionally worked as a television composer; his theme tunes for the series Medic and Light's Diamond Jubilee earned him two Emmy nominations in 1955/56 . On November 10, 1956, before the premiere of his last film Storm over Persia , he succumbed to the consequences of a cerebral haemorrhage suffered the day before .

Victor Young was posthumously awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (6363, Hollywood Boulevard ) in the music recording category. He was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 .

Well-known song compositions (selection)

With text by Ned Washington

  • Any Time, Any Place, Anywhere (1933, with Lee Wiley )
  • Can't We Talk It Over (1931)
  • Got the South In My Soul (1932, with Lee Wiley)
  • A Hundred Years From Today (1933)
  • (I Don't Stand a) Ghost of a Chance (With You) (1932, with Bing Crosby )
  • Love is the thing
  • A love like this
  • Mad About You (1949)
  • The Maverick Queen
  • My Foolish Heart (1949)
  • my love
  • Shadows on the Moon
  • Stella by Starlight (1944)
  • Sweet Madness
  • Waltzing in a Dream (with Bing Crosby)
  • You're the One (For Me) (1950)
  • You're Not In My Arms Tonight
  • The High and the Mighty (1954)


Filmography (selection)


Academy Awards (Oscars)



Golden Globe Awards



Emmy Awards


Individual evidence

  1. Victor Young | Biography & History. Retrieved May 3, 2020 (American English).
  2. Ehnert, Günter (Ed.): Hit balance sheet. German chart singles 1956-1980 . Hamburg: Taurus Press, 1990, p. 222

Web links