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The Magnificent Goldberg

Standards by non-standard people

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There's been a bit of discussion about who wrote stuff and it prompted me to think of some unlikely composers of tunes/songs. Not necessarily jazz.

An obvious one, but not really very likely, is 'I'm a fool to want you' for which Frank Sinatra got his name on the credits.

Two more were by a comedian called Lovin' Sam Theard (aka Lovin' Sam from Down in Bam) who made quite a few records singing, moderately poorly, songs that were supposed to be off colour, though they're no more off colour than George Formby's. But two have had lasting value and everyone knows 'em. 'I'll be glad when you're dead, you rascal you' is one that's been done to death.

'Let the good times roll' contains the only really funny line in all of his work, in my view - that's 'Don't let no female, play me cheap, I've got fifty cents more than I'm gonna keep.' Sam never recorded it, but Louis Jordan and, later, Ray Charles, did and made it into a standard.

'Mariama' is a song by Soundioulou Cissohko, a kora player from the Gambia, who moved into Senegal. A famous player of traditional classic Mandinke music, he was accompanist to Maa Hawa Kouyate, a Guinean classic singer. Some of their recordings can be obtained still. The song was written for Maa Hawa's daughter, who later married Soundioulou's brother. But 'Mariama' is a Mbalax song, which has been recorded by the Royal Band de Thies and Pape & Cheikh, as well as being quoted by numerous Mbalax singers including Viviane and Ismael Lo. It's also been recorded by the Guinean bands/singers The Super Boiro Band; Mory Kante; Keletigui et ses Tambourinis; Balla et ses Balladins, and Soundoulou himself, in a Mandinke vein, but always to create pop music. Once again, it's quoted widely among Guinean artists.

I actually know Mariama, which is a bit like knowing the girl from Ipanema.

Another comedian who wrote a standard is Phil Silvers, who wrote the words for 'Nancy with the laughing face'.

Any more for any more?

MG

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It was very common for publishers and/or famous artists to share songwriting credits with unproven songwriters.  

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1 minute ago, Teasing the Korean said:

It was very common for publishers and/or famous artists to share songwriting credits with unproven songwriters.  

Oh, so Frank Sinatra might not have written 'I'm a fool to want you'? Was Tommy Wolf an unproven songwriter at the time? Dunno.

MG

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4 minutes ago, The Magnificent Goldberg said:

Oh, so Frank Sinatra might not have written 'I'm a fool to want you'? Was Tommy Wolf an unproven songwriter at the time? Dunno.

MG

I don't know Tommy Wolf, not that my lack of familiarity with him should be a barometer of fame, but it's very possible.

May Dad and his then-songwriting partner wrote a song recorded by Duke Ellington.  They share songwriting credits with Ellington and Gordon, not that the record earned any royalties to begin with. 

IIRC, Elvis has a songwriting credit on one of his own big hits.  He never wrote a song in his life. 

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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7 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

I don't know Tommy Wolf, not that my lack of familiarity with him should be a barometer of fame, but it's very possible.

May Dad and his then-songwriting partner wrote a song recorded by Duke Ellington.  They share songwriting credits with Ellington and Gordon, not that the record earned any royalties to begin with. 

IIRC, Elvis has a songwriting credit on one of his own big hits.  He never wrote a song in his life. 

Yes. Lots of companies' owners got their names, or those of their nominees, on credits. I'm not talking about the likes of those guys. They're not non-standard people, because it was a regular practice. Often they paid for the copyrights (usually not much, I believe - there's a story about Sid Nathan regularly sending Cowboy Copas off to Nashville to buy copyrights for five or, exceptionally, ten dollars - but he missed 'Tennessee waltz because he wouldn't cough up fifty).

MG

 

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26 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

I don't know Tommy Wolf, not that my lack of familiarity with him should be a barometer of fame, but it's very possible.

May Dad and his then-songwriting partner wrote a song recorded by Duke Ellington.  They share songwriting credits with Ellington and Gordon, not that the record earned any royalties to begin with. 

IIRC, Elvis has a songwriting credit on one of his own big hits.  He never wrote a song in his life. 

SONGS WRITTEN BY TOMMY WOLF

ORIGINAL SONGS

Title  Written by  Originally by  Original date  Covered by 
A Face Like Yours Tommy WolfVictor Feldman Blossom Dearie 1975 Covered by (13 artists)
Apples on the Lilac Tree Tommy WolfFran Landesman Tommy Wolf - Monty Budwig, Shelly Manne 1958 Covered by (2 artists)
City of the Angels Fred AstaireTommy Wolf Fred Astaire September 19, 1975 Covered by Tony Bennett
I'm Always Drunk in San Francisco Tommy Wolf Cannonball Adderley with Ernie Andrews October 4, 1964 Covered by (10 artists)
It Isn't So Good It Couldn't Get Better Tommy WolfFran Landesman Tommy Wolf - Monty Budwig, Shelly Manne 1958 Covered by (11 artists)
It's Nice Weather for Ducks Tommy WolfFran Landesman Irene Kral June 1977 Covered by (10 artists)
Listen Little Girl Tommy WolfFran Landesman Jackie and Roy May 1955 Covered by (8 artists)
Little Bird Tommy WolfPete JollyDick Grove The Pete Jolly Trio and Friends 1963 Covered by (6 artists)
Night People Tommy WolfFran Landesman Richard Hayes and Tani Seitz June 1959 Covered by (2 artists)
Season in the Sun Tommy WolfFran Landesman     Covered by (2 artists)
Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most Tommy WolfFran Landesman Jackie and Roy May 1955 Covered by (248 artists)
The Ballad of the Sad Young Men Tommy WolfFran Landesman Tani Seitz June 1959 Covered by (86 artists)
This Little Love of Ours Tommy WolfFran Landesman Tommy Wolf 1956 Covered by (3 artists)
You Smell So Good Tommy WolfHarry Stone [1] Jackie and Roy May 1955 Covered by (10 artists)
 

 

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Some have suggested that Paul sharing songwriting credit with Linda on Ram was a maneuver to minimize the negative effects of Beatles-related legal entanglements after the group's breakup, but I don't remember the details.

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Sadie Vimmerstedt!  She sent the idea for and what eventually turned out to be the first line for "I Wanna Be Around" to Johnny Mercer.  He gave her co-composer credit and 1/3 of the royalties.

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1 hour ago, Larry Kart said:

SONGS WRITTEN BY TOMMY WOLF

ORIGINAL SONGS

Title  Written by  Originally by  Original date  Covered by 
A Face Like Yours Tommy WolfVictor Feldman Blossom Dearie 1975 Covered by (13 artists)
Apples on the Lilac Tree Tommy WolfFran Landesman Tommy Wolf - Monty Budwig, Shelly Manne 1958 Covered by (2 artists)
City of the Angels Fred AstaireTommy Wolf Fred Astaire September 19, 1975 Covered by Tony Bennett
I'm Always Drunk in San Francisco Tommy Wolf Cannonball Adderley with Ernie Andrews October 4, 1964 Covered by (10 artists)
It Isn't So Good It Couldn't Get Better Tommy WolfFran Landesman Tommy Wolf - Monty Budwig, Shelly Manne 1958 Covered by (11 artists)
It's Nice Weather for Ducks Tommy WolfFran Landesman Irene Kral June 1977 Covered by (10 artists)
Listen Little Girl Tommy WolfFran Landesman Jackie and Roy May 1955 Covered by (8 artists)
Little Bird Tommy WolfPete JollyDick Grove The Pete Jolly Trio and Friends 1963 Covered by (6 artists)
Night People Tommy WolfFran Landesman Richard Hayes and Tani Seitz June 1959 Covered by (2 artists)
Season in the Sun Tommy WolfFran Landesman     Covered by (2 artists)
Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most Tommy WolfFran Landesman Jackie and Roy May 1955 Covered by (248 artists)
The Ballad of the Sad Young Men Tommy WolfFran Landesman Tani Seitz June 1959 Covered by (86 artists)
This Little Love of Ours Tommy WolfFran Landesman Tommy Wolf 1956 Covered by (3 artists)
You Smell So Good Tommy WolfHarry Stone [1] Jackie and Roy May 1955 Covered by (10 artists)
 
Of course.  The Nervous Set.
 
The senior brain...
Edited by Teasing the Korean

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1 hour ago, Larry Kart said:

SONGS WRITTEN BY TOMMY WOLF

ORIGINAL SONGS

Title  Written by  Originally by  Original date  Covered by 
A Face Like Yours Tommy WolfVictor Feldman Blossom Dearie 1975 Covered by (13 artists)
Apples on the Lilac Tree Tommy WolfFran Landesman Tommy Wolf - Monty Budwig, Shelly Manne 1958 Covered by (2 artists)
City of the Angels Fred AstaireTommy Wolf Fred Astaire September 19, 1975 Covered by Tony Bennett
I'm Always Drunk in San Francisco Tommy Wolf Cannonball Adderley with Ernie Andrews October 4, 1964 Covered by (10 artists)
It Isn't So Good It Couldn't Get Better Tommy WolfFran Landesman Tommy Wolf - Monty Budwig, Shelly Manne 1958 Covered by (11 artists)
It's Nice Weather for Ducks Tommy WolfFran Landesman Irene Kral June 1977 Covered by (10 artists)
Listen Little Girl Tommy WolfFran Landesman Jackie and Roy May 1955 Covered by (8 artists)
Little Bird Tommy WolfPete JollyDick Grove The Pete Jolly Trio and Friends 1963 Covered by (6 artists)
Night People Tommy WolfFran Landesman Richard Hayes and Tani Seitz June 1959 Covered by (2 artists)
Season in the Sun Tommy WolfFran Landesman     Covered by (2 artists)
Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most Tommy WolfFran Landesman Jackie and Roy May 1955 Covered by (248 artists)
The Ballad of the Sad Young Men Tommy WolfFran Landesman Tani Seitz June 1959 Covered by (86 artists)
This Little Love of Ours Tommy WolfFran Landesman Tommy Wolf 1956 Covered by (3 artists)
You Smell So Good Tommy WolfHarry Stone [1] Jackie and Roy May 1955 Covered by (10 artists)
 

 

So it was some other Wolf.

That makes the deal more plausible.

MG

 

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Bing Crosby, I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You

Charlie Chaplin, Smile

David Raksin, Laura

Sigmund Romberg, Lover Come Back to Me & Softly As In a Morning Sunrise

Franz Lehár, Vilia

Eden Ahbez, Nature Boy

Bronislau Kaper, On Green Dolphin Street & All God's Chillun Got Rhythm

Truman Capote, A Sleepin Bee

(Of course on some of these the contribution was minimal)

Maybe not jazz standards, but It's All in the Game was written by US vice president Charles G. Dawes and You Are My Sunshine by Louisiana governor Jimmie Davis

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21 minutes ago, crisp said:

David Raksin, Laura

Sigmund Romberg, Lover Come Back to Me & Softly As In a Morning Sunrise

Bronislau Kaper, On Green Dolphin Street & All God's Chillun Got Rhythm

Kaper also wrote "Invitation."

Not sure how the above three who I quoted figure into the discussion, though.  

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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17 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

Kaper also wrote "Invitation."

Not sure how the above three who I quoted figure into the discussion, though.  

I agree. Particularly David Raskin, who some called the grandfather of film music.

But otherwise that's a damn good list that Crisp put up. Particularly the politicians. :tup

MG

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Just now, The Magnificent Goldberg said:

I agree. Particularly David Raskin, who some called the grandfather of film music.

But that's a damn good list that Crisp put up. Particularly the politicians. :tup

MG

Yeah, I think Charlie Chaplin and the "It's All in the Game" guy probably speak more to how I interpreted your questions.  Raksin, Romberg, and Kaper were all trained musicians with careers as such, so if they are not qualified to write standards, I don't know who is.  

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Oh, a college friend of Hoagy Carmichael called Stu Gorrell said to him one day that he should write a song that went 'Georgia, Georgia' , so HE got half the credits, same as Sadie.

MG

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11 minutes ago, The Magnificent Goldberg said:

Oh, a college friend of Hoagy Carmichael called Stu Gorrell said to him one day that he should write a song that went 'Georgia, Georgia' , so HE got half the credits, same as Sadie.

MG

Hoagy Carmichael also adapted the lyrics of a poem for "I Get Along Without You Very Well."

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42 minutes ago, The Magnificent Goldberg said:

I agree. Particularly David Raskin, who some called the grandfather of film music.

But otherwise that's a damn good list that Crisp put up. Particularly the politicians. :tup

MG

Raksin, not Raskin. 

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10 minutes ago, jazztrain said:

Raksin, not Raskin. 

Fuck me, I've been misreading Raskin all my life!

MG

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Not just you!  It’s a very common mistake. 

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3 hours ago, Teasing the Korean said:

Yeah, I think Charlie Chaplin and the "It's All in the Game" guy probably speak more to how I interpreted your questions.  Raksin, Romberg, and Kaper were all trained musicians with careers as such, so if they are not qualified to write standards, I don't know who is.  

Well Lehar was no amateur either. I interpreted the topic as people outside general songwriting, so film and operetta composers would be OK, but it doesn't matter.

More: Al Jolson contributed to a number of songs; Avalon is probably the best known jazzwise. One of the writers of Too Close For Comfort, Larry Holofcener, was later known as a sculptor (he did that one of Churchill and Roosevelt in New Bond Street in London). Film director Victor Schertzinger co-wrote I Don't Want To Cry Anymore and I Remember You. Eric Maschwitz, who co-wrote These Foolish Things, later became controller of the BBC (among many other achievements). Anthony Newley was an actor who also co-wrote many songs, including the Bill Evans favourites Who Can I Turn To and What Kind of Fool Am I.

And maybe slightly outside jazz (but since you liked the politicians...): screenwriter Edmund Goulding co-wrote Love, Your Spell Is Everywhere and Mam'selle; novelist William Saroyan co-wrote Come On-A My House; and film director Leo McCarey co-wrote the title song for his film An Affair To Remember.

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"Meet The Flintstones" by Hoyt Curtin, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. :)

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With a name like Joe Pesci, he HAS to be a trade union leader.

MG

8 hours ago, duaneiac said:

"Meet The Flintstones" by Hoyt Curtin, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. :)

Only a standard in the sense that Mel Sparks always quotes it :)

MG

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12 hours ago, crisp said:

Well Lehar was no amateur either. I interpreted the topic as people outside general songwriting, so film and operetta composers would be OK, but it doesn't matter.

Fair enough.  We are all going to draw the line at different places.  

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Joe Pesci didn't write The Folks Who Live On The Hill

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