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Indiana Historical Bureau

IHB > Historical Markers > Find a Marker > James Frederick Hanley James Frederick Hanley

St Vincent's InfirmarySt Vincent's Infirmary

Location: Southeast corner of Front and Washington Streets, Rensselaer (Jasper County, Indiana)

Installed 2008 IHB and Jasper County Historical Society

ID# : 37.2008.1

Text

Side one:

Born February 17, 1892 in Rensselaer; became part of New York Tin Pan Alley music scene. Wrote for Broadway musicals such hits as "Second Hand Rose" (Grant Clarke, lyrics) for Fanny Brice (1921 Ziegfeld Follies) and "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" (1934), popularized by Judy Garland 1938. Wrote scores for many Hollywood musicals in early 1930s.

Side two:

"(Back Home Again in) Indiana," by Hanley and Ballard MacDonald (lyrics), was hit in 1917, 1920s jazz classic recorded by Louis Armstrong, and a 1930s swing tune by Benny Goodman. Song has remained popular and has been performed at every Indianapolis 500 since 1946. Hanley died February 8, 1942 in New York; buried there in Gate of Heaven Cemetery.

Keywords

Arts and Culture

Annotated Text

Side one:

Born February 17, 1892 in Rensselaer;(1) became part of New York Tin Pan Alley music scene.(2) Wrote for Broadway musicals such hits as "Second Hand Rose" (Grant Clarke, lyrics) for Fanny Brice (1921 Ziegfeld Follies)(3) and "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" (1934), popularized by Judy Garland 1938.(4) Wrote scores for many Hollywood musicals in early 1930s.(5)
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Side two:

"(Back Home Again in) Indiana," by Hanley and Ballard MacDonald (lyrics), was hit in 1917,(6) 1920s jazz classic recorded by Louis Armstrong, and a 1930s swing tune by Benny Goodman.(7) Song has remained popular and has been performed at every Indianapolis 500 since 1946.(8) Hanley died February 8, 1942 in New York; buried there in Gate of Heaven Cemetery.(9)

Notes:

(1) Jasper County Health Department Record of Birth (B060343).

(2) David A. Jasen, Tin Pan Alley: An Encyclopedia (New York, 2003), 175-76 (B060377); Hao Huang, et al, Editorial Board, Music in the 20th Century, Vol. 3 (Armonk, Nebraska, 1999), 632-33 (B060389); and Gained World Fame with His Songs, Lyrics, Rensselaer Republican, February 9, 1942 (B060369).
The Lilly Library in Bloomington, Indiana, contains many examples of popular sheet music, including nearly 30 examples of Hanley's work. The Indiana State Library also has a sizable sheet music collection, including some Hanley pieces.

(3) Thomas S. Hischak, The Tin Pan Alley Song Encyclopedia (Westport, Connecticut, 2002), 313 (B060376); Jasen, 176 (B060377); and Gained World Fame with His Songs, Lyrics, Rensselaer Republican, February 9, 1942 (B060369).

(4) Hischak, 427 (B060376) and Jasen, 176 (B060377). Garland sang the song in Listen, Darling (1938).

(5) Hanley's music was featured in several films including: Honeymoon Lane, Blaze Glory, and Rainbow Man. Daniel I. McNamara, ed., The ASCAP Biographical Dictionary of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, Second Edition (New York, 1952), 214 (B060333).

(6) James Frederick Hanley, music; Ballard Macdonald, words, "Indiana," (New York, 1917), Sam DeVincent Collection of American Sheet Music, Lilly Library, Indiana University, www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/devincent.shtml (accessed 3/28/07) (B060488).
The song "Indiana" also became known as "Back Home Again in Indiana." Hischak, 182 (B060376).
It was first published, 1917, by Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. of New York (they published a great deal of his later work), and was first recorded by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1917. Jasen, 175-76 (B060377); and "Original Dixieland Jazz Band Discography," http://www.mainspringpress.com/ (accessed April 9, 2007) (B060451).

(7) Hischak, 182 (B060376).

(8) Supposedly, a trackside band first played "Indiana" in May 1919, while Hoosier native Howdy Wilcox was on his final laps to victory in the Indianapolis 500 race. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Web site, www.indy500.com (accessed March 30, 2007) (B060527).  The first performance of "Indiana" before the Indianapolis 500 began in 1946, which was the first year that the race ran since the beginning of World War II and the first year the race ran under the ownership of Anton Tony Hulman, Jr. Festive Crowds Greet Return of Race Classic, Indianapolis Star, May 31, 1946, p. 1 (B060526).
In 1948, the singing of "Indiana" was moved up to its current slot “just before the starting of the engines. Over the years succeeding singers have included: Mel Torme, Vic Damone, Dinah Shore, Ed Ames, Peter Marshall, Dennis Morgan, Johnny Desmond, and since 1972, Jim Nabors. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Web site, www.indy500.com (accessed March 30, 2007) (B060527).
In 2007 Jim Nabors could not attend the race due to illness; the spectators were asked to sing in his stead. Nabors to Miss Indy Due to Illness; Fans to Sing "Back Home Again," Indianapolis Motor Speedway, www.indy500.com (accessed August 1, 2007) (B061252) and Even rain can't rain on Indy 500's parade, MSNBC, www.msnbc.msn.com (accessed August 3, 2007) (B061253).

(9) Gained World Fame With His Songs, Lyrics, Rensselaer Republican, February 9, 1942, p.1 (B060369); "Deaths," New York Times, February 10, 1942 (B060383); and New York and Long Island Cemeteries Addresses and Telephone Numbers, www.longislandgenealogy.com/cemindex.html (accessed April 13, 2007) (B060550).