- Norm Cohen
(b New York, NY, June 18, 1918; d Chevy Chase, MD, Sept 19, 2006). American singer and songwriter. He studied mathematics and physics at Brooklyn College (BA 1938), then took up labor economics and music at graduate school. From 1944 to 1961 he was an education director, first for the Textile Workers’ and then for the Rubber Workers’ Union, and from 1961 to 1981 he worked for the US Information Agency as labor specialist. He began writing his own union and protest songs in the 1940s, performing them, together with traditional songs, to his own guitar accompaniment at union meetings, political dinners and conventions, and civil-rights rallies. Among his best-known compositions are “The mill was made of marble” (1947), “Too old to work” (1950, written during a strike of Chrysler automobile workers), and the anti-Reagan “Jellybean Blues” (1982). He recorded over 30 albums for Folkways, Labor Arts, Washington, and various labor union labels; he also produced much of his own material, including songs on ...