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Fridays are the day when we at the McElrath Cabaret Blog present blog posts in our Cabaret Through Time series. We present historical cabaret singers, entertainers, venues, writers, and musicians, and often include cabaret videos. We hope that you find them informative!
Marvin Hamlisch–Award-Winning Composer
We’ve recently lost some giants in the field of popular music–Hal David recently passed away, on September 1st of this year. Tonight I would like to spend a little time remembering another American music composer who passed away on August 6th of this year, and that is Marvin Hamlisch. Noted as a composer of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical A Chorus Line, as well as the composer for Oscar-winning films The Way We Were and The Sting, Hamlisch left an indelible mark on American music that has been enjoyed by millions of people for decades.
Mavin Hamlisch with Michael Feinstein
Source: By Philkon Phil Konstantin (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Marvin Hamlisch’s official website offers the best source of information about the composer. His autobiography is entitled The Way I Was. There is also much useful information concerning Marvin Hamlisch and his large body of work on Wikipedia, IMDB, IBDB, and ASCAP. You will also find Marvin Hamlisch has fan pages on Facebook, Twitter, and has several videos available on YouTube.
I can in no way cover the entirety of Mr. Hamlisch’s work in this brief post, but I would like to give a very short overview of his life and what he accomplished. According to the biography on IBDB, which is sourced to Playbill.com, Marvin Hamlisch grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and Hamlisch’s father was a band leader and accordionist; Marvin was the youngest person ever to be admitted to the Julliard School of Music at age 6. He worked on Broadway first as rehearsal pianist for Funny Girl, where he met Barbra Streisand, and the two became lifelong friends; she put together his remarkable memorial service recently. In addition to Streisand, many famous singers performed his songs, including Liza Minnelli, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Mathis, Linda Ronstadt and many others. He was also a noted principal Pops conductor for several major symphony orchestras around the country.
He wrote so many popular songs. They include:
- The Way We Were
- Looking Through The Eyes of Love
- Nobody Does It Better
He also wrote the music for several Broadway musicals, some of which include:
- A Chorus Line
- They’re Playing Our Song
- Sweet Smell of Success
- the dance arrangements for Seesaw
According to IMDB, “He is one of nine artists who have won all four major entertainment awards (Emmy, Oscar, Tony and Grammy),” and “After legendary musical composer, Richard Rodgers, Marvin Hamlisch is the second only artist to have won the Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Grammy and Pulitzer Prizes.” IMDB also relates that he “Made movie history in 1974 when he became the first individual ever to win three Academy Awards in one night in all three music categories. One for the song, “The Way We Were” (with co-writers Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman), another for the score to the movie The Way We Were (1973) and one for the adaption ofScott Joplin’s ragtime music for The Sting (1973).”
I’d like to share a few songs that Marvin Hamlisch either wrote or performed. Here is “Tribute To The Broadway Musical A Chorus Line”:
Leslie Gore singing the Hamlisch song, “Sunshine, Lolipops and Rainbows”:
And here is Hamlisch playing “A Salute To Scott Joplin”:
Some songs from his Broadway musical The Sweet Smell of Success:
Which Marvin Hamlisch songs do you like the most and why? Let us know in the comments below–we love to hear from you!
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Till next time,
ps–The Cabaret Soiree Link Party will begin anew on Monday–you can visit anytime to click on the links and see what others have posted, or you can share your own recent cabaret blog or website link every Monday through Thursday. Link is below.
Weekly Post Lineup At McElrath Cabaret:
Tuesdays: Cabaret Tip Tuesday
Wednesdays: Ask A Cabaret Question
Thursdays: Featured Cabaret Blog, Website, Performer
Fridays: Cabaret Through Time