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Al Piantadosi

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Al Piantadosi (born John Alberto Joseph Piantadosi; August 18, 1882 in New York City – April 8, 1955 in Encino, California) was an American composer of popular music during the heyday of Tin Pan Alley. He started out as a saloon and vaudeville pianist and rapidly flourished as a songwriter. For about ten years — from 1918 to 1928, he was an independent music publisher.
Piantadosi was born August 18, 1882, in the Italian Quarter of Manhattan, New York. Early in his career (circa 1906), Piantadosi gained recognition as "Ragtime Al," playing piano at Callahan's Dance Hall on Manhattan's at Chatham Square and Doyers Street in Chinatown, where he wrote the briefly popular "My Mariucci Take a Steamboat" with lyricist George Ronklyn (1878–1943), the bouncer at Callahan's known as "Big Jerry."
Piantadosi's compositions include "I'm Awfully Glad I'm Irish" (1910) and "That's How I Need You" (1912). "The Curse of an Aching Heart" (1913) became his most famous tearjerker. He also composed "Mississippi Days" (1916) and "If You Had All the World and Its Gold."
His composition, "I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier" (1915) became a controversial protest song. It sold 650,000 copies in the first three months, which helped establish American World War I pacifism as a quantifiable political reality. The song continued to sell well until the United States entered the World War I in 1917. Then it was pretty much discarded. However, a few pro-war writers modified the lyrics in new melodies, including "I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be A Coward," by Charles Clinton Case (1843–1918) (composer) and Franklin G. McCauley (lyricist) and "I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be A Slacker," a march by Theodore Baker (1917, G. Schirmer).
Harry Haas brought a plagiarism suit against Leo Feist, Incorporated, claiming that the melody was from a song he composed in 1914, "You'll Never Know How Much I Really Cared" — Bill Cahalin (né William R. Cahalin; born around 1883), lyricist. The plaintiffs won. And, although credit was never changed, Cahalin won a large settlement. Adolph Deutsch (born 1868), a raincoat maker, was a one-third partner on the song with Haas and Cahalin.
Five of his compositions exceeded sales of one million copies.
In 1914, Piantadosi became a charter member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).
In 1918, Al Piantadosi and his brother, George, founded Al. Piantadosi & Company, Inc. Personnel that year included:
By 1920, the firm suffered financial duress, owing $40,708.87 with only $7,521.26 in the till. After reaching an agreement to pay creditors 10% in lieu of filing for protection under bankruptcy, Frank Goodman, an employee, paid it and took over the company.
From early 1923 to mid 1924, Piantadosi tried his hand at selling real estate lots in Hollywood.
He was a piano accompanist for several variety artist, including Anna Chandler.
Collaborators throughout his career included Alfred Bryan, Joe Goodwin (1889–1943), Edgar Leslie, Joseph McCarthy, and Irving Berlin. Ted Fiorito worked for him as a demonstrator, playing piano.
In 1931, with debt of $17,717 and assets of $500, Piantadosi filed for bankruptcy in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Piantadosi eventually moved to California, settling in Encino and worked in semi-retirement, operating Piantadosi Music Publications and Society Records. He died in Encino, California, in 1955.
(artist unknown)
Rosenbaum Studios
Rosenbaum Studios
Al Piantadosi's nephew, Arthur Piantadosi (1916–1994), was a sound engineer, notably for motion pictures in Hollywood.