Jerome David Kern (January 27, 1885 – November 11, 1945) was an American composer of popular music. He wrote around 700 songs, including such classics as "Ol' Man River", "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man", "A Fine Romance", "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", "All the Things You Are", "The Way You Look Tonight", and "Who?", a 6-week number 1 hit for George Olsen & his Orchestra in 1925. His career spanned dozens of Broadway musicals and Hollywood films from 1902 until his death. Although Kern wrote almost exclusively for musical theatre and musical film, the harmonic richness of his compositions lends them well to the jazz idiom (which typically emphasizes improvisation based on a harmonic structure) and many Kern melodies have been adopted by jazz musicians to become standard tunes.
Jerome Kern was born in New York City to Fanny and Henry Kern, both German Jews. They named him Jerome because they lived near Jerome Park (named after Winston Churchill's grandfather, Leonard Jerome), a favorite place of theirs. Kern grew up on East 56th Street in Midtown Manhattan, where he attended public schools. Fanny Kern encouraged her son to take piano lessons. Henry Kern was.