Samuel Howard Stept[a] (aka Sammy Stept; 18 September 1897 – 1 December 1964) was an American songwriter who wrote for Broadway, Hollywood and the big bands. He became known simply as Sam Stept or Sam H. Stept – he rarely used his full middle name.
Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Stept came to the United States at the age of three and grew up in Pittsburgh. Sam was the son of Solomon (1874–1969,) and Clara Stept (born 1872), who were married around 1895, in Russia. Sam Stept married Jessie E. Stept (née McBride, c. 1901–1967). Jessie was the daughter of George B. McBride and Ada F. McBride of Pittsburgh.
Early in his music career, Stept worked for a local publishing house as staff pianist (song-plugger), then in vaudeville as accompanist to performers that included Anna Chandler, Mae West, and Jack Norworth.
During the early 1920s, Stept lived in Cleveland, Ohio, where he led a dance band. Within the next few years, he began composing with lyricist Bud Green. Their first hit came in 1928 with vocalist Helen Kane's rendition of "That's My Weakness Now," and the duo would collaborate on tunes through the early 1930s.
Stept worked with many other lyricists through his career, including Sidney Mitchell and Ned Washington (while songwriting for Hollywood from the mid-1930s to mid-1940s), Lew Brown, Charles Tobias, and Eddie DeLange.
Some of his popular tunes for the big screen are "Laughing Irish Eyes" for the 1936 film of the same name, "Sweet Hearts" for Hit Parade of 1937 and for the 1942 movie Private Buckaroo, "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree" and "Johnny Get Your Gun." Stept's output slowed down in the late 1940s, and by the late 1950s, he was concentrating fully on his music-publishing business.
Songs written by Stept have been recorded by many other big names in pop and jazz, including, Sarah Vaughan, Glenn Miller, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, as well as by Henry "Red" Allen, Bunny Berigan, Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson, and Josephine Baker.