By Don Heckman
Carl Sigman was one of Tin Pan Alley’s most prolific songwriters, with nearly a thousand songs to his credit. The titles, sparkling with hits, embrace such classics as “It’s All In the Game,” “Ebb Tide,” “Love Story,” “Crazy He Calls Me” and much, much more. His songs have been recorded by artists reaching from Glenn Miller, Dinah Shore and Frank Sinatra to Linda Ronstadt, Sam Cooke and Rod Stewart.
September 24 will mark the centennial of Sigman’s birth in Brooklyn. Although he graduated from law school and passed the New York state bar exams, he was urged to focus on songwriting (which he did as both a lyricist and a melodist) by his close friend and mentor Johnny Mercer. His songwriting career, which began with “Just Remember” (written with Mercer) in 1937, continued up to his death in 2000 at the age of 91.
In celebration of his father’s centennial, his son, Michael Sigman, is writing a pair of reminiscences for the Huffington Post. The first, “Field Notes From A Songwriter’s Centennial,” was published yesterday with a lead line from one of Carl Sigman’s most famous songs: “Many a tear has to fall, but it’s all in the game.”
The post overflows with entertaining information about a remarkable era in American songwriting. Here’s a paragraph describing some of Sigman’s humorous numbers:
“Some funny song titles from the early years: “I Left The One I Love On One Of The Thousand Islands, But I Can’t Remember Which One,” “The Big High Mountain With Nothing On The Top,” “Our Horses Are Falling In Love.” And who can forget that ode to the hot dog, “Pickle In the Middle and the Mustard on Top”?”
And here’s another noting the reach that his father’s songs continue to have:
“‘Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think),’ a New Year’s Eve perennial and still my mom’s voicemail message, has been assayed by Bing Crosby, Doris Day, reggae immortal Prince Buster, ska stalwarts The Specials, alt-country great Todd Snider, the apparently stoned-out-of-their-minds Wingless Angels — produced by Keith Richards — and, just last month, the Jim Kweskin Jug Band.”
But there’s more, much more. And I urge you to read Michael Sigman’s complete posting, as well as the follow-up post scheduled for next week..
To get there, click here: Field Notes From A Songwriter’s Centennial.
Click here to reach Part 2 of Field Notes From A Songwriter’s Centennial
To read Don Heckman’s other Here, There & Everywhere posts, click here.