Composer Jule Styne, often teamed with lyricist Sammy Cahn, published 1,500 songs and produced endless hits for Tin Pan Alley, Frank Sinatra, and Broadway. His notable shows included Bells Are Ringing (1957), Gypsy (1959), and Funny Girl (1962). Al Hirschfeld's drawing of Styne accompanied John Corry's 1977 Broadway column in the New York Times. At the time, Styne was performing his own songs at the Rainbow Grill. He admitted enjoying the "ego trip" of his two shows a night: "You write a show and then you lose it," he explained. "It belongs to the guy conducting in the pit."
Al Hirschfeld drew Styne's arms and hands with his trademark abbreviated line, but other passages, including the spiraling dots of the cigarette ash, the curl of stray hairs, and the elegantly complex hatching of the glasses and shirtfront, reveal the artist's remarkable versatility.