James Lamont "Haven" Gillespie
(February 6, 1888 – March 14, 1975) was an American Tin Pan Alley
composer and lyricist. He was the writer of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
" as well as "You Go to My Head
", "Honey", "By the Sycamore Tree", "That Lucky Old Sun
", "Breezin' Along With The Breeze
", "Right or Wrong
," "Beautiful Love
", "Drifting and Dreaming", and "Louisiana Fairy Tale" (which was used as the first theme song in the PBS Production of This Old House
), each song in collaboration with other talented people such as Beasley Smith, Ervin R. Schmidt, Wayne King
, and Loyal Curtis.
Life and career
Gillespie was one of nine children of William and Anna Gillespie. The family was poor and lived in the basement of a house on Third Street between Madison Avenue and Russell Street. Gillespie dropped out of school in the fourth grade and could not find a job. His older sister, Lillian, had married John Hewling, who was in the printing business and the couple moved to Chicago
. Lillian had written Haven that there was a job waiting for him there and that he could live with them. In 1902, Haven left his Covington home to join his sister and brother-in-law.
A few years later, Gillespie began corresponding to a childhood sweetheart back in Covington. In 1908, he proposed marriage to Corene Parker by way of a postcard. The couple married on March 9, 1909, in Corene's Covington... Read More