Friday, 20 March 2009

Obituary- Jack Lawrence: Songwriter Extrordinaire to the Stars

With a back catalogue of recordings by Sinatra, Fitzgerald, Crosby, King Cole and Holiday, Jack Lawrence is credited with being one of the most important song writers of a generation.

Born to an Orthodox Jewish family, Brooklyn, April 7 1912, the young Jack Schwartz was pressured into enrolling in the First Institute of Podiatry. He graduated in 1932, and changed his name the same year, with his first published song.

His sights set higher than the human foot, and with no musical training, he followed his passion for songwriting. At the age of 20, his “Play Fiddle Play” earned him membership into American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers- then the youngest in ASCAPs history.

“Linda”, published in ‘46, was named after his attorney’s daughter- Linda Eastman, future wife of Paul McCartney.

He launched The Ink Spots to fame with “If I Didn’t Care” and Sinatra’s first solo hit was Lawrence’s “All or Nothing at All”.

His songs catapulted many careers- “Yes, my Darling Daughter” shot Dinah Shore to public recognition and Rosemary Clooney’s career began with his “Tenderly”.

He wrote for the screen and Broadway and “Hold my Hand”, from the ‘54 film “Susan Slept Here”, was nominated for an Oscar.

The prolific songwriter died after a fall in his Redding, Connecticut, home on March 18, aged 96.

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