Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

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Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by drjohncarpenter »

Songwriter Ben Weisman is famous -- or, to some, infamous -- for having 57 songs recorded by Elvis Presley.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Weisman

In fact, it's basically become a legacy statement, as in this 2007 Los Angeles Times obituary:


660300_W Ben Weisman.JPG

BEN WEISMAN
He is thanked by Elvis Presley in the 1960s.
Weisman wrote or co-wrote a string of gold- and
platinum-selling songs for the singer.




Ben Weisman, 85; helped write many songs for Presley

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Ben Weisman, a classically trained pianist who helped write nearly 60 songs for Elvis Presley, including many for his movies, has died. He was 85.

Weisman died Sunday of complications of a stroke and pneumonia at a long-term care hospital in Los Angeles, his family told the Associated Press.

Weisman, whom Presley nicknamed "the mad professor," wrote or co-wrote a string of gold- and platinum-selling songs for Presley, including "Follow That Dream" and "Fame and Fortune."


Among the 57 songs are "Got a Lot O' Livin' to Do" for the movie "Loving You," "Wooden Heart" for "G.I. Blues," "Rock-a-Hula Baby" for "Blue Hawaii" and "Crawfish" for "King Creole."

"It seems like a long time ago that it all got started," Weisman said in a 1993 interview with The Times.

"But I can remember it like it was yesterday. It was 1956, and I was writing songs for Hill & Range Publishing in the Brill Building in New York City.

"At the time, even though my background had been in jazz, pop and classical music, I was writing a lot of country songs -- sometimes two a day -- for people like Lefty Frizzell, Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb and Red Foley.

"One day my publisher, Jean Aberbach, called me into his office, told me that we had a new artist named Elvis Presley, and asked me to write some songs for him.

"So I watched Elvis on 'The Tommy Dorsey Show.' I didn't think it was anything special at first. I approached it the way I would any songwriting assignment, trying to figure out his range, and tried to get a feeling for his style. Then I sat down to write something for him."

He also wrote for other pop stars, including Barbra Streisand ("Love in the Afternoon"), Reba McEntire ("Silly Me"), Bobby Vee ("The Night Has a Thousand Eyes"), and Conway Twitty ("Lonely Blue Boy").

Weisman was born Nov. 16, 1921, in Providence, R.I., and raised in Brooklyn.

He studied classical piano as a teenager and at the Juilliard School and served as a music director for the Army Air Forces during World War II.

Services were pending.


Los Angeles Times - Wednesday, May 23, 2007
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/193465375/


But unless I'm missing a tune somehow the legendary total is actually . . . 56 songs.

Count 'em for yourself . . .

A Dog's Life
All I Needed Was The Rain
Almost
Almost Always True
As Long As I Have You
Beyond The Bend
Change Of Habit
Chesay
Cindy, Cindy
Clambake
Crawfish
Cross My Heart And Hope To Die
Danny
Dominic
Don't Ask Me Why
Don't Leave Me Now
Do The Clam
Easy Come, Easy Go
Fame And Fortune
First In Line
Follow That Dream
Forget Me Never
Frankie And Johnny
Fun In Acapulco
Got A Lot O' Livin' To Do
Happy Ending
Hard Luck
Have A Happy
He's Your Uncle, Not Your Dad
How Can You Lose What You Never Had
I Got Lucky
I'll Be Back
I'll Never Know
In My Way
I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell
It Feels So Right
It's Carnival Time
It Won't Be Long
Let Us Pray
Moonlight Swim
Pocketful Of Rainbows
Riding The Rainbow
Rock-A-Hula Baby
Rubberneckin'
Signs of the Zodiac
Slowly But Surely
Spinout
Stay Away, Joe
Steppin' Out Of Line
Summer Kisses, Winter Tears
There Is So Much World To See
This Is Living
Twenty Days And Twenty Nights
We Call On Him
Who Are You
Wooden Heart



That's all of 'em.

Is there anyone brave enough to take a look at the above and tell us ... is one title missing?

Or are my calculations correct?


-----


UPDATE: June 2015

I've long had a feeling the above photo with Ben Weisman is cropped.

Below is a more complete version of the image, which I have never seen before. It shows Elvis with Weisman's most frequent songwriting partner, Sid Wayne.

Gee Ben, why did you cut him out?


660300_w Wayne_Wiseman_Culver City.JPG
With songwriters Sid Wayne and Ben Weisman at MGM Studios, Culver City - March 1966


-----


UPDATE: December 2022


By chance today I found the original source of the photo with the songwriting team of Sid Wayne and Ben Wiseman!

It was published in July 1966. One wonders what Wayne thought when the photo started making the rounds with him cut out?




660702_Cash Box_p215_DETAIL.jpg
Cash Box - July 2, 1966

THANKS ELVIS—Elvis Presley was recently presented with a “Thanks Elvis” plaque by songwriters Sid Wayne (left) and Ben Weisman, who’ve written 52 Presley recordings over the past 10 years. The combined international sales of the disks has passed the 50 million mark.



"52 recordings"? Sorry, Cash Box, I only see 42 titles on that plaque.


660300_Wayne and Weisman thank you plaque.jpg


Looking at my close-up of the songs listed, I'm surprised to see "Britches" in there. It was not used in the 1960 film "Flaming Star," and left unreleased until 1978. Hmm. What about the other 41 numbers?

Notice "Moonlight Swim," which was not written for Elvis. It had originally been placed as a August 1957 Capitol single for "new teen sensation" and future Oscar winner Joel Grey. It actually made the top 40 a few months later, in a cover version by actor Tony Perkins. And the songwriters are Sylvia Dee and Ben Weisman!

And then there's "First In Line," which is on Elvis' second RCA LP in 1956 but written by Aaron Schroeder and Weisman!

There's a whole lot of fudgin' going on!

Oh well, no one seemed to notice then.

And just me now, in the 21st century.



Thank you to FECC member and super-fan Glen Johnson for the topic inspiration.



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Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Sun Dec 18, 2022 1:50 pm, edited 5 times in total.


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Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by rjm »

Maybe someone can find another, but it may not matter, officially. Because his name is not on Rubberneckin'. It is credited to Dory Jones and Bunny Warren. I think one of them was his wife. He, nonetheless, is not listed as a writer, no matter what he actually did.

So, that brings the official total down to 55. I don't think he can make 57 that way!

But is there a mystery song, anyway?

rjm


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Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by drjohncarpenter »

rjm wrote:Maybe someone can find another, but it may not matter, officially. Because his name is not on Rubberneckin'. It is credited to Dory Jones and Bunny Warren. I think one of them was his wife. He, nonetheless, is not listed as a writer, no matter what he actually did.

So, that brings the official total down to 55. I don't think he can make 57 that way!

But is there a mystery song, anyway?




No, "Rubberneckin'" counts as a Ben Weisman song, and I am sure his got his royalties on it as well.



I wrote "Rubberneckin'" and my wife helped me a bit so i used her name for it, Bunny Warren.

- Ben Weisman, Writing For The King, pg. 60

Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Sat Dec 17, 2022 11:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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elvisalisellers

Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by elvisalisellers »

It might be the rumoured Blue Hawaii reject "Playing With Fire."
pwfbh.jpg
..Playing With Fire - Terry Stafford
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Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by Mike Windgren »

Hi there!! :D :D :D.

A relaible source: http://www.biwa.ne.jp/~presley/elnews-BenWeisman.htm, states that Ben Weisman wrote 57 songs, but I counted them and it gives me a gran total of 56 songs, so we will have to rely on the composer words or on our counts. Hope this help!. Bye for now :smt006.

There is a nice music collection available you may find interesting :wink::

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Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by Blue River »

elvisalisellers wrote:It might be the rumoured Blue Hawaii reject "Playing With Fire."
Thanks, elvisalisellers. It does make one wonder if there's an Elvis acetate of "Playing With Fire" hidden away somewhere.

Mike Windgren wrote:There is a nice music collection available you may find interesting
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That's a cool looking DVD set, Mike. I've never seen it before.

Thanks for sharing!


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Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by mysterytrainrideson »

Nice topic,Doc. Sadly, not all his songs are of top quality, most of them are real stinkers...but there are some gems too.

Btw, why did Elvis call him "the mad professor"?


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r&b

Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by r&b »

About half are really good songs. The other half, average to poor.




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Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by Mister Moon »

mysterytrainrideson wrote:Nice topic,Doc. Sadly, not all his songs are of top quality, most of them are real stinkers...but there are some gems too.
I agree 100%. Except for maybe ten songs, not the kind of stuff that does Elvis justice. But he did cut it...

Gee, what a waste of talent...



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Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by drjohncarpenter »

Mike Windgren wrote:A relaible source: http://www.biwa.ne.jp/~presley/elnews-BenWeisman.htm, states that Ben Weisman wrote 57 songs, but I counted them and it gives me a gran total of 56 songs, so we will have to rely on the composer words or on our counts. Hope this help!.
Well, it certainly proves that the site you quote is not so "relaible" after all, and in fact I am much more credible a reference.

So thank you for underscoring that fact. ;-)


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Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by Daryl »

drjohncarpenter wrote:Songwriter Ben Weisman is famous -- or, to some, infamous -- for having 57 songs recorded by Elvis Presley. In fact, it's basically his legacy, as his 2007 remembrance in the Los Angeles Times will attest:
Ben Weisman, 85; helped write many songs for Presley
Los Angeles Times, Wednesday, May 23, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Ben Weisman, a classically trained pianist who helped write nearly 60 songs for Elvis Presley, including many for his movies, has died. He was 85.

Weisman died Sunday of complications of a stroke and pneumonia at a long-term care hospital in Los Angeles, his family told the Associated Press.

Weisman, whom Presley nicknamed "the mad professor," wrote or co-wrote a string of gold- and platinum-selling songs for Presley, including "Follow That Dream" and "Fame and Fortune."

Among the 57 songs are "Got a Lot O' Livin' to Do" for the movie "Loving You," "Wooden Heart" for "G.I. Blues," "Rock-a-Hula Baby" for "Blue Hawaii" and "Crawfish" for "King Creole."

"It seems like a long time ago that it all got started," Weisman said in a 1993 interview with The Times.

"But I can remember it like it was yesterday. It was 1956, and I was writing songs for Hill & Range Publishing in the Brill Building in New York City.

"At the time, even though my background had been in jazz, pop and classical music, I was writing a lot of country songs -- sometimes two a day -- for people like Lefty Frizzell, Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb and Red Foley.

"One day my publisher, Jean Aberbach, called me into his office, told me that we had a new artist named Elvis Presley, and asked me to write some songs for him.

"So I watched Elvis on 'The Tommy Dorsey Show.' I didn't think it was anything special at first. I approached it the way I would any songwriting assignment, trying to figure out his range, and tried to get a feeling for his style. Then I sat down to write something for him."

He also wrote for other pop stars, including Barbra Streisand ("Love in the Afternoon"), Reba McEntire ("Silly Me"), Bobby Vee ("The Night Has a Thousand Eyes"), and Conway Twitty ("Lonely Blue Boy").

Weisman was born Nov. 16, 1921, in Providence, R.I., and raised in Brooklyn.

He studied classical piano as a teenager and at the Juilliard School and served as a music director for the Army Air Forces during World War II.

Services were pending.

http://articles.latimes.com/2007/may/23/local/me-weisman23
660300_W Ben Weisman.JPG
Ben Weisman with Elvis on the set of "Spinout" (March 1966)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Weisman


But ... unless I'm missing a tune, the legendary tally is actually 56 songs!

Count 'em ... go on!

A Dog's Life
All I Needed Was The Rain
Almost
Almost Always True
As Long As I Have You
Beyond The Bend
Change Of Habit
Chesay
Cindy, Cindy
Clambake
Crawfish
Cross My Heart And Hope To Die
Danny
Dominic
Don't Ask Me Why
Don't Leave Me Now
Do The Clam
Easy Come, Easy Go
Fame And Fortune
First In Line
Follow That Dream
Forget Me Never
Frankie And Johnny
Fun In Acapulco
Got A Lot O' Livin' To Do
Happy Ending
Hard Luck
Have A Happy
He's Your Uncle, Not Your Dad
How Can You Lose What You Never Had
I Got Lucky
I'll Be Back
I'll Never Know
In My Way
I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell
It Feels So Right
It's Carnival Time
It Won't Be Long
Let Us Pray
Moonlight Swim
Pocketful Of Rainbows
Riding The Rainbow
Rock-A-Hula Baby
Rubberneckin'
Signs of the Zodiac
Slowly But Surely
Spinout
Stay Away, Joe
Steppin' Out Of Line
Summer Kisses, Winter Tears
There Is So Much World To See
This Is Living
Twenty Days And Twenty Nights
We Call On Him
Who Are You
Wooden Heart



Is there anyone brave enough to take a look at the above and tell us if one is missing?

Or am I correct??

Someone must know!!!
For some odd reason, Ken Sharp's FTD book, "Writing For The King" lists 56 songs, yet he lists "Party" but doesn't list "Dominic."


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Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by brian »

mysterytrainrideson wrote:Btw, why did Elvis call him "the mad professor"?
Because according to Ben Weisman he didn't look like a rock n' roll songwriter.

The way he dressed he looked like a professor.




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Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by brian »

Ben Weisman was a pretty good songwriter.

The real bad songs he wrote were written for specific scenes in bad musicals.

''The Night has a thousand eyes'' probably would have been a good song for Elvis.

I wonder if Elvis was offered that song????




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Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by brian »

Daryl wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:Songwriter Ben Weisman is famous -- or, to some, infamous -- for having 57 songs recorded by Elvis Presley. In fact, it's basically his legacy, as his 2007 remembrance in the Los Angeles Times will attest:
Ben Weisman, 85; helped write many songs for Presley
Los Angeles Times, Wednesday, May 23, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Ben Weisman, a classically trained pianist who helped write nearly 60 songs for Elvis Presley, including many for his movies, has died. He was 85.

Weisman died Sunday of complications of a stroke and pneumonia at a long-term care hospital in Los Angeles, his family told the Associated Press.

Weisman, whom Presley nicknamed "the mad professor," wrote or co-wrote a string of gold- and platinum-selling songs for Presley, including "Follow That Dream" and "Fame and Fortune."

Among the 57 songs are "Got a Lot O' Livin' to Do" for the movie "Loving You," "Wooden Heart" for "G.I. Blues," "Rock-a-Hula Baby" for "Blue Hawaii" and "Crawfish" for "King Creole."

"It seems like a long time ago that it all got started," Weisman said in a 1993 interview with The Times.

"But I can remember it like it was yesterday. It was 1956, and I was writing songs for Hill & Range Publishing in the Brill Building in New York City.

"At the time, even though my background had been in jazz, pop and classical music, I was writing a lot of country songs -- sometimes two a day -- for people like Lefty Frizzell, Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb and Red Foley.

"One day my publisher, Jean Aberbach, called me into his office, told me that we had a new artist named Elvis Presley, and asked me to write some songs for him.

"So I watched Elvis on 'The Tommy Dorsey Show.' I didn't think it was anything special at first. I approached it the way I would any songwriting assignment, trying to figure out his range, and tried to get a feeling for his style. Then I sat down to write something for him."

He also wrote for other pop stars, including Barbra Streisand ("Love in the Afternoon"), Reba McEntire ("Silly Me"), Bobby Vee ("The Night Has a Thousand Eyes"), and Conway Twitty ("Lonely Blue Boy").

Weisman was born Nov. 16, 1921, in Providence, R.I., and raised in Brooklyn.

He studied classical piano as a teenager and at the Juilliard School and served as a music director for the Army Air Forces during World War II.

Services were pending.

http://articles.latimes.com/2007/may/23/local/me-weisman23
660300_W Ben Weisman.JPG
Ben Weisman with Elvis on the set of "Spinout" (March 1966)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Weisman


But ... unless I'm missing a tune, the legendary tally is actually 56 songs!

Count 'em ... go on!

A Dog's Life
All I Needed Was The Rain
Almost
Almost Always True
As Long As I Have You
Beyond The Bend
Change Of Habit
Chesay
Cindy, Cindy
Clambake
Crawfish
Cross My Heart And Hope To Die
Danny
Dominic
Don't Ask Me Why
Don't Leave Me Now
Do The Clam
Easy Come, Easy Go
Fame And Fortune
First In Line
Follow That Dream
Forget Me Never
Frankie And Johnny
Fun In Acapulco
Got A Lot O' Livin' To Do
Happy Ending
Hard Luck
Have A Happy
He's Your Uncle, Not Your Dad
How Can You Lose What You Never Had
I Got Lucky
I'll Be Back
I'll Never Know
In My Way
I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell
It Feels So Right
It's Carnival Time
It Won't Be Long
Let Us Pray
Moonlight Swim
Pocketful Of Rainbows
Riding The Rainbow
Rock-A-Hula Baby
Rubberneckin'
Signs of the Zodiac
Slowly But Surely
Spinout
Stay Away, Joe
Steppin' Out Of Line
Summer Kisses, Winter Tears
There Is So Much World To See
This Is Living
Twenty Days And Twenty Nights
We Call On Him
Who Are You
Wooden Heart



Is there anyone brave enough to take a look at the above and tell us if one is missing?

Or am I correct??

Someone must know!!!
For some odd reason, Ken Sharp's FTD book, "Writing For The King" lists 56 songs, yet he lists "Party" but doesn't list "Dominic."
Did Ben Weisman co-write ''Party?''




Mountain Misst

Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by Mountain Misst »

What a talented man he was.

Thank you.



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Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by londonflash »

A few guilty pleasures in there, to be sure!


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r&b

Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by r&b »

brian wrote:Ben Weisman was a pretty good songwriter.

The real bad songs he wrote were written for specific scenes in bad musicals.

''The Night has a thousand eyes'' probably would have been a good song for Elvis.

I wonder if Elvis was offered that song????
That's a great song. My favorite by Bobby Vee. Yes, I wonder.



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Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by Mike Windgren »

Hi there!! :D :D :D.
drjohncarpenter wrote:
Mike Windgren wrote:A relaible source: http://www.biwa.ne.jp/~presley/elnews-BenWeisman.htm, states that Ben Weisman wrote 57 songs, but I counted them and it gives me a gran total of 56 songs, so we will have to rely on the composer words or on our counts. Hope this help!.
Well, it certainly proves that the site you quote is not so "relaible" after all, and in fact I am much more credible a reference.

So thank you for underscoring that fact. ;-)
If you think you are much more credible a reference, why all this asking? :shock:. Thanks!. Bye for now :smt006.
drjohncarpenter wrote:But ... unless I'm missing a tune, the legendary tally is actually 56 songs!

Count 'em ... go on!
drjohncarpenter wrote:Is there anyone brave enough to take a look at the above and tell us if one is missing?

Or am I correct??

Someone must know!!!


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Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by Jove »

The 57th track could be Chautauqua, an instrumental track was recorded on Oct.23, 1968, so Weisman probably included the track in his listing. It has the same melody as Almost but in a "march" tempo.


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Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by Blue River »

Mike Windgren wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
Mike Windgren wrote:A relaible source: http://www.biwa.ne.jp/~presley/elnews-BenWeisman.htm, states that Ben Weisman wrote 57 songs, but I counted them and it gives me a gran total of 56 songs, so we will have to rely on the composer words or on our counts. Hope this help!.
Well, it certainly proves that the site you quote is not so "relaible" after all, and in fact I am much more credible a reference.
So thank you for underscoring that fact. ;-)
If you think you are much more credible a reference, why all this asking? :shock:. Thanks!. Bye for now :smt006.
drjohncarpenter wrote:But ... unless I'm missing a tune, the legendary tally is actually 56 songs!
Count 'em ... go on!
drjohncarpenter wrote:Is there anyone brave enough to take a look at the above and tell us if one is missing?
Or am I correct??
Someone must know!!!
Be careful, Mike Windgren... Johnny will threaten you again... much the same way that the 5th graders used to threaten him when he was a senior in high school. :wink:

Jove wrote:The 57th track could be Chautauqua, an instrumental track was recorded on Oct.23, 1968, so Weisman probably included the track in his listing. It has the same melody as Almost but in a "march" tempo.
Very interesting, Jove!
I didn't know that. Where did you get the info from? I don't think it's mentioned in my Tunzi Sessions II book.

::rocks


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Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by Jove »

it's from Elvis His Life From A To Z (Worth, Tamerius)


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Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by Blue River »

Blue River wrote:
Jove wrote:The 57th track could be Chautauqua, an instrumental track was recorded on Oct.23, 1968, so Weisman probably included the track in his listing. It has the same melody as Almost but in a "march" tempo.
Very interesting, Jove!
I didn't know that. Where did you get the info from? I don't think it's mentioned in my Tunzi Sessions II book.
Jove wrote:it's from Elvis His Life From A To Z (Worth, Tamerius)
This one? >>


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Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by Jove »

Blue River wrote:
Blue River wrote:
Jove wrote:The 57th track could be Chautauqua, an instrumental track was recorded on Oct.23, 1968, so Weisman probably included the track in his listing. It has the same melody as Almost but in a "march" tempo.
Very interesting, Jove!
I didn't know that. Where did you get the info from? I don't think it's mentioned in my Tunzi Sessions II book.
Jove wrote:it's from Elvis His Life From A To Z (Worth, Tamerius)
This one? >>

Yes, Blue River, that is the one.


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Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by drjohncarpenter »

r&b wrote:About half are really good songs. The other half, average to poor.
Spot-on. Of 56 Weisman songs above, these 28 may be considered good or better:

All I Needed Was The Rain
Almost
As Long As I Have You
Change Of Habit
Crawfish
Danny
Don't Ask Me Why
Don't Leave Me Now
Fame And Fortune
First In Line
Follow That Dream
Forget Me Never
Got A Lot O' Livin' To Do
I Got Lucky
I'll Never Know
In My Way
I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell
It Feels So Right
Let Us Pray
Moonlight Swim
Pocketful Of Rainbows
Riding The Rainbow
Rubberneckin'
Slowly But Surely
Steppin' Out Of Line
Summer Kisses, Winter Tears
This Is Living
Twenty Days And Twenty Nights


The sad fact is, most of the movie songs Weisman put his name to were pretty horrid.

But he made a lot of money on 'em! ;-)


.
Dr. John Carpenter, M.D.
Stop, look and listen, baby <<--->> that's my philosophy!

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guidedbyvoices
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Re: Songwriter Ben Weisman --> 57 Varieties?

Post by guidedbyvoices »

Yeah but got a lot of livin and follow that dream are two if my alltimers so l is forgiven!


soft silly music is meaningful magical