Moses Jaffe was born in Vilna, Russia (now Vilnius, Lithuania) October 23, 1901, and left for America almost immediately, carried into emigration at the age of six months. His family settled in Keyport, New Jersey, where his father peddled dry goods and owned a stable.

After graduating from Keyport High School, Moe worked his way through the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School (class of '23) and Law School (class of '26) by playing piano and leading a campus dance band, Jaffe's Collegians. 

The popularity of Jaffe's Collegians led to two major milestones in Moe's life. On a personal level, it brought him in contact with Gladys Matusow (class of '27), who booked the band for a sorority dance and married the bandleader in 1930.

Professionally, it was the band's theme song, Collegiate, that turned the law student toward Tin Pan Alley. Written by Moe and fellow law student Nat Bonx, Collegiate was well known on the Penn campus when Fred Waring (a Penn State grad) brought his Pennsylvanians to play at the U of P's annual Ivy Ball. At the ball, Waring received so many requests for Collegiate that he first assumed it was a published song. When he learned that the writers were on campus, introductions were made and on April 4, 1925, Waring's Pennsylvanians recordedCollegiate at the Victor studios in Camden, NJ. If the recording had not become a hit, it would still have historical significance as the first electronic recording of a song; that is, the first to use electronic microphones rather than recording horns.

Within the year, Waring's recording helped make Collegiate the number three song in the country, selling over one million copies of sheet music. Over the years, the song sold over five million discs and was "interpolated" into several movies -- most notably, Chico Marx's piano version in "Horse Feathers" (1932).

The success of Collegiate did not prevent Moe from finishing law school; in fact, he always insisted that his legal training was invaluable in negotiating contracts and researching copyrights. But it certainly changed his focus.

With Nat Bonx (who did become a practicing lawyer), Moe quickly followed up with thematic spin-offs likeCollegiate Blues (1925) and I Love The College Girls (1927), both recorded by Waring's Pennsylvanians.

In the summer of 1927, with law degree in hand and cash in the bank, Moe joined his band-mates in Europe, sailing home before all his money ran out. He had quickly learned the value of money -- and a hit song.

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