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Sid Tepper, Elvis Presley Songwriter, Dead At 96

OBIT SID TEPPER_3

We live in a different world, one where the lesson of the Brill Building changed from everyone could be a songwriter to everybody can write their own songs -pace Carole King and Neil Diamond. In 2015, the producer is often the songwriter is often the side, and in country songwriting is the stepping stone to performing yourself and is it worth noting that Hip Hop is the wild world of credits with battles royale over fresh beats.

But Sid Tepper, who died last week at the age of 96 was a different sort of songwriter. He wrote 43 songs for Elvis Presley alone. According to Nick Di Riso in Ultimate Classic Rock’s  obituary (here“Puppet on a String,” “G.I. Blues,” “All That I Am,” “Once is Enough” and “Stay Away.” The pair earned five songwriting credits in 1961′s Blue Hawaii alone. Elvis memorably sang their song “The Lady Loves Me” poolside with actress Ann-Margret in 1964′s Viva Las Vegas.” As well as early rock hits like “Glad All Over” and “The Young Ones”.

Here is Tepper’s Wikipedia entry:

As a youth, Tepper’s family moved to Brooklyn, where Tepper met his future musical collaborator, Roy C. Bennett. Their first hit was “Red Roses for a Blue Lady” (1948), recorded by Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians. Over the next 22 years, the songwriting team wrote for Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughn, Dean Martin, and many more.

Tepper and Bennett adjusted well to the advent of rock ‘n roll. In 1961, their song “The Young Ones” was instrumental in boosting the career of Cliff Richard, for whom they wrote 21 compositions. They went on to write 43 songs for Elvis Presley, the most of any songwriter, or song writing team (all related to his movies).

In the 1970s, Tepper suffered a heart attack, which necessitated the end of his songwriting partnership with Bennett. Tepper retired in Surfside, Florida. In 2002, he and Bennett were honored in Memphis for their part in Elvis Presley’s stellar career. Tepper lived in Surfside until 2004, when he moved to Williams Island in Aventura just north of the Miami area. He was honored by the town of Surfside for his works in 2008 as Sid Tepper Day.

He died on April 24, 2015, at the age of 96.”

Tepper wrote many many popular songs. Minor league pop numbers but in retrospect, Presley’s movie tracks with tuneful, playful, self-effacing and often very very good. If Tepper was borderline novelty tunes, the operative word was borderline, and many of them have been part of our pop vernacular since we first heard them.

About writing for Presley, Tepper said: “I believe that Elvis’ movies and their songs made a mighty contribution to his career.They brought him to the attention of millions of people who otherwise would never have known the greatness of the King.”

Now that is a life well spent.

 

 

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