Rose, Jolso, and De Sylva’s Avalon
Avalon, a well-known song referencing Avalon, California, was co-written and performed by Al Jolson and Vincent Rose in 1920. Rose and Jolson were initially marked as the writers Buddy De Sylva's name was added later on.
At the age of four, Buddy De Sylva started performing on stage from the age in a song and dance act. He went on to collaborate with the Gershwins.
Composer and bandleader, Vincent Rose, was born in Italy in 1880. He was active in music into the early '40s, recording with his orchestra and writing hits. Rose had extensive training in music. When he was seventeen, he came to America in 1897. While in Chicago, he worked as a pianist and violinist and later on moved to Los Angeles and worked as music director. In 1904, Rose formed his own orchestra while still working as a bandleader up to early '40s. He was in collaboration with various songwriters over the years.
Al Jolson's family came to the U.S. in 1894 and settled in Washington, D.C. His career was influenced by several factors his youth including his religious Jewish upbringing, the death of his mother. Although Jolson acquired a love of singing from his father who worked as a cantor, he did not want to use his voice in the synagogue. Together with his brother, Harry, he sang on street corners for money. Jolson also attended the theater and discovered his passion to perform.
Jolson, DeSylva, and Rose ran into a problem because of Avalon. Its opening melody bears a resemblance to Giacomo Puccini's aria E lucevan le stelle (And the Stars were Shining), from the opera Tosca. The Puccini publishers sued them for plagiarism and were awarded the royalties by the court.
Avalon was included in various films: The Jolson Story (1946), The Benny Goodman Story (1956), and Casablanca (1942), and You Said a Mouthful (1932).
The song was doing well by the 1930s. Benny Goodman Quartet recorded a version which they revisited later in 1980.