Allee Willis

Allee Willis

Alta Sherral Willis [cite web|url=|title=Willis' entry on the BMI database|publisher=Broadcast Music Incorporated|accessdate=2008-09-21] better known as Allee Willis is an American songwriter, artist, set designer, multimedia artist, writer and director.


In 1995 Willis was nominated for an Emmy for her #1 hit, “I'll Be There For You”, the theme from "Friends", one of the best selling television themes of all time. In 1985 she won a Grammy for Best Soundtrack for "Beverly Hills Cop". Her songs have sold over 50,000,000 records, including “September” and “Boogie Wonderland” by Earth, Wind & Fire, “Neutron Dance” by the Pointer Sisters, “What Have I Done To Deserve This?” by Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield, and “Lead Me On” by Maxine Nightingale. Willis has collaborated with hundreds of leading artists and composers from all fields of music, including Bob Dylan, James Brown, Herbie Hancock and Motown legend Lamont Dozier. She co-authored the Broadway musical version of “The Color Purple”, based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book by Alice Walker and film by Steven Spielberg, which opened on Broadway at the Broadway Theater December 1 2006 and continues on national tour through 2009. Willis is also an accomplished artist, selling thousands of paintings, sculptures, ceramics and furniture designs, many with her alter-ego, Bubbles the artist. In 1999, Bubbles and Willis collaborated with Lily Tomlin to build, a non-linear exploration of Tomlin's Tony-winning show, The Search For Signs Of intelligent Life In the Universe. Willis and Bubbles latest video, "It's A Woman Thang" was named an Official Honoree in the viral category of the 2008 Webby Awards. As early as 1992, Willis was one of the first pop artists to have a presence in cyberspace, developing willisville, a prototype for a visual collaborative social network and story-driven online world that linked to all traditional pop media and mobile devices. Willis also consulted for various technology and entertainment companies throughout the 1990's including America Online, Microsoft, Silicon Graphics, Fox, Warner Bros., Disney and Intel, who also funded the partial development of willisville. In 1997, she addressed the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property regarding artist rights in cyberspace.

Willis is exploring "Non-Linear Songwriting," which she explains:cquote|So far, when an artist finishes an entire song, then they present it to you, and your choice is either to listen to it or not, to buy it or not. And so that song is written as one linear piece. It's supposed to start at the intro, it's supposed to end at the fade. To me, once you're in a digital environment, where the sequence of something not only doesn't matter, it should only matter to the individual that's experiencing it. So therefore a song to me in the digital age isn't this whole thing that I as the artist have determined is what it is. I should just give you the starting point. You should throw something back at me, I should throw something back at you, and therefore the song is this never ending live musical and visual piece that just constantly grows. And non-linear meaning anyone should be able to experience it in any order that they want. [cite web|url=|title=Songfacts interview with Allee Willis|publisher=Songfacts|accessdate=2008-09-30]


Willis grew up in Detroit. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. Upon graduation, she moved to New York to become a copywriter for Columbia and Epic Records, writing liner notes, print ads and radio commercials for all the female and Black acts, many of whom she went on to write songs for later. She recorded an album of the first ten songs she ever wrote, “Childstar”, on Epic Records and was discovered by Bonnie Raitt and Patti LaBelle when they started recording her songs in the late 70’s.

From 1986 to 1988 Willis had her own column in Details Magazine. It was in that magazine that she introduced her proudest musical find, the Del Rubio Triplets, 70 plus year old 'singing' sisters in mini skirts and go go boots who went on to appear in over 20 network shows and tour around the world.

ongs written by Allee Willis

*"The Color Purple (musical) - Original Broadway Cast Recording"

*"September" - Earth, Wind & Fire

*"Neutron Dance" - The Pointer Sisters

*"Boogie Wonderland" - Earth Wind & Fire with The Emotions

*"What Have I Done to Deserve This?" - Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield

*"I'll Be There For You" - Theme from Friends

*"Lead Me On" - Maxine Nightingale

*"Stir It Up" - Patti LaBelle

*"In The Stone" - Earth Wind & Fire

*"I Am Love" - Jennifer Holliday

*"Shaker Song" - The Manhattan Transfer

*"Who Let In The Rain" - Cyndi Lauper

*"Come What May" - Patti LaBelle

*"Sunday Morning" - Earth Wind & Fire

*"Live My Life" - Boy George

*"The Blue Side" - Crystal Gayle

*"I Shoulda Loved Ya" - Narada Michael Walden

*"Little Girls" - Patti LaBelle

*"It's A Woman Thang" - Bubbles & Cheesecake

oundtrack Filmography

Songs co-written by Allee Willis often appear in feature films, occasionally re-recorded by a member of the cast.

Partial Listing:

* "Boogie Wonderland"

:Written by: Allee Willis

:Appears in: "Happy Feet (film)" (2006)

:Lyrics Performed by: Brittany Murphy

:Published by: Atlantic/WEA

* "September"

:Written by: Allee Willis

:Performed by: Earth, Wind & Fire

:Appears in: "Babel (film)" (2006)

:Appears in: "Night at the Museum" (2006)

:Appears in: "The Ringer" (2005)

:Appears in: "Get Over It!" (2001)

* "Boogie Wonderland"

:Written by: Allee Willis

:Performed by: Earth, Wind & Fire

:Appears in: "Madagascar (film)" (2005)

* "In the Stone"

:Written by: Allee Willis

:Performed by: Earth, Wind & Fire

:Appears in: "Drumline (film)" (2002)

* "Where Did You Get Those Pants"

:Written by: Allee Willis

:Performed by: Fishbone

:Appears in: "High Fidelity (film)" (2000)

* "Planet Love"

:Written by: Allee Willis

:Performed by: Taylor Dayne

:Appears in: "Flawless" (1999)

* "You're The Best"

:Lyrics: Allee Willis

:Appears in: "Futurama" TV Series (1999)

* "Transparent"

:Written by: Allee Willis

:Performed by: Nona Hendryx

:Appears in: "Coming to America" (1988)

* "Live My Life"

:Written by: Allee Willis

:Performed by: Boy George

:Appears in: "Hiding Out" aka Adult Education (USA) (1987)

* "Neutron Dance"

:Written by: Allee Willis

:Performed by: Pointer Sisters

:Appears in: "Beverly Hills Cop" (1984)

* "Stir It Up"

:Written by: Allee Willis

:Performed by: Pointer Sisters

:Appears in: "Beverly Hills Cop" (1984)

:Appears in: "Chicken Little (film)" (2005)

* "You're The Best"

:Written by: Allee Willis

:Performed by: Joe Esposito

:Appears in: "The Karate Kid" ( 1984)

* "No Jinx"

:Music and lyrics written by: Allee Willis

:Performed by: Bette Midler

:Appears in: "Jinxed!" (1983)

* "Any Fool Could See"

:Music and lyrics written by: Allee Willis

:Performed by: Julie Budd

:Appears in: "The Devil and Max Devlin" 1981)


Her house, built as the party house for MGM in 1937, has appeared in major art, architecture and entertainment magazines.

Her motorized artwork, sculpture and furniture have been featured in museums and galleries around the world.

ee also

*Boogie Wonderland
*Prudence Fenton
*Bubbles & Cheesecake

External links

* [ Allee Willis Music] is the official Allee Willis website with pictures, some history behind the songs as well as sound bites and articles.
* [ Bubbles the Artist ] - is the official Bubbles the Artist website, featuring collectible art.
*imdb name|id=0932267|name=Allee Willis
* [ Pop Music and the New Musical] - "Working in the Theatre Seminar" video at American Theatre, September 2005


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