For Jack Lawrence, it was always all about the music. Could there be others who contributed as much to popular culture who’s name the public does not know? It never really bothered Jack. He just wanted a chance to write, and a chance to have his songs heard.
In the final years of his life, he was always amazed that anyone remembered him at all. After all, the heyday of his career began back in the 1930s when he wrote for Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, the Andrews Sisters, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Tony Bennett.
He co-wrote Sunrise Serenade recorded by Glenn Miller. “Tenderly” became Rosemary Clooney’s theme song. “All or Nothing At All” was Frank Sinatra’s first hit as a solo artist and a song Old Blue Eyes re-recorded several times over his career. And he penned the song that defined Bobby Darin, “Somewhere Beyond The Sea” and “If I Didn’t Care”, which lifted the Ink Spots to stardom.
He was born in Brooklyn on April 7, 1912. He taught himself to play piano and began writing songs at age 10. He told Growing Bolder that his parents urged him to “have a career,” so he went to school to become a podiatrist! Fortunately, he chose music!
He was co-producer of off-Broadway’s long-running “Other People’s Money” and on Broadway with “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music” and “Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.” And he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1975.
Lawrence suffered a fall at his home in Connecticut and passed away just two days later, on March 15, 2009. He was working on a collaboration with Quincy Jones, and finishing the follow-up to his autobiography at the time of his death. He was 96 years old.
Listen to Jack’s final appearance on the Growing Bolder Radio Show.
December 20th, 2008