Monaco was born in Fornia, Italy; his family emigrated to Albany, New York when Jimmy was six. He worked as a ragtime player in Chicago before moving to New York. Monaco's first successful song "Oh, You Circus Day" was featured in the 1912BroadwayrevueHanky Panky. Further success came with "Row, Row, Row" (lyrics by William Jerome) in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1912. Perhaps his best remembered song is "You Made Me Love You" (lyrics by Joseph McCarthy) introduced by Al Jolson in 1913 and famously performed by Judy Garland with revised lyrics as "Dear Mr Gable" in 1937.
Monaco worked with a number of lyricists before moving to Hollywood where he teamed with lyricist Johnny Burke to produce songs for several Bing Crosby films.
Four of Monaco's songs received Academy Award nominations for Best Song:
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