Versatile American composer and songwriter, who frequently worked on Broadway in collaboration with the lyricist Mack David. Livingston studied piano and theory at the University of Arizona and arrived on the music scene as a sideman with a Denver dance band. After briefly leading his own orchestra on campus, he set out for New York in 1932 where he found further employment as a pianist. Livingston fronted another big band in 1940, but the venture only lasted a year. He then traded in his baton and established his own music publishing house.

In 1949, Livingston moved to Hollywood, where he enjoyed an immensely successful career for the next decade, writing catchy theme music for classic TV shows like Cheyenne (1955), Bourbon Street Beat (1959), Bronco (1958) and 77 Sunset Strip (1958). He also wrote the Bugs Bunny intro song "This is It"; the novelty hit "Mairzy Doats"; the ballads "Talk of the Town", "Under a Blanket of Blue" and "Invitation to a Dance"; the Oscar-nominated theme song for The Hanging Tree (1959) and the "The Ballad of Cat Ballou" (from the comedy western Cat Ballou (1965). He also co-wrote the Johnny Mathis hit "The Twelfth of Never" with Paul Francis Webster.

Livingston was a former president of the Songwriters Guild of America.