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He has written in a variety of styles and his work has been recorded by musicians from all over the world in a multitude of styles. Besides composing music and lyrics for dozens of pieces he was also a television producer and worked with great like Jackie Gleason and Milton Berle. Among his best known songs are "I Believe", introduced by Jane Froman which became a number one hit for Frankie Laine in 1953 (and holds the record for number of non-consecutive weeks spent at number one. It has also been recorded by over a dozen other artists including Barbra Streisand.
He penned "It Was a Very Good Year", in under an hour at the request of The Weavers, who recorded it. When Frank Sinatra heard their recording on the radio as he was traveling through the desert to Las Vegas, he pulled over at the nearest phone booth and called his producer and said, " I want to record this song now." He did record it with an arrangement by Nelson Riddle and it became one of the best selling records in his portfolio. Frank included this piece in his act almost every night. One night, he was performing with Dean Martin and they were surreptitiously recorded joking around: "When I was seventeen you were a pain in my ass." The Sinatra recording is played regularly today and at one point hit the top ten on the charts for 1966. This piece has been recorded in over ten languages and by more than twenty-five artists on many major labels.
One of his most famous lyrics, introduced by Billie Holiday, was recorded in one take while he was present with Irene Higgenbothom the composer as they sent there mesmerized within inches of the great artist. That piece lives on today as a jazz standard: Good Morning Heartache. It has been recorded by somewhere between 65-75 artists.
Ervin Drake has received several honorary doctorates, achievement awards, as well as being inducted into the songwriter's hall of fame. He was president of AGAC for many years, testified before Congress, and is responsible for several laws that have since been enacted that protect songwriters and composers rights. He is working on several projects at the moment. A biography is presently in the works.
Work on Broadway
- Heads or Tails (1947) - play - co-playwright
- What Makes Sammy Run? (1964) - musical - composer and lyricist
- Her First Roman (1968) - composer, lyricist, and bookwriter
- Sophisticated Ladies (1981) - revue - featured songwriter for "Perdido"
- Interview with Ervin Drake
- When He Was 46 it Was a Very Good Year from the Wall Street Journal April 2, 2009
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Ervin Drake. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.|