Sherman Edwards

Sherman Edwards

Sherman Edwards (April 4, 1919 - March 30, 1981) was a songwriter born in New York City and raised in Weequahic New Jersey where he attended Weequahic High School outside of Newark, NJ, then Columbia University in New York where he majored in History. Throughout college Edwards moonlighted, playing jazz piano for late night radio and music shows. After serving in WWII Edwards taught high school history for a brief period before continuing his career as a pianist, playing with some of history's most famous Swing bands and artists, and also acting on Broadway. After a few years as band leader and arranger for artist Mindy Carson, Edwards started writing pop songs at the famous Brill Building with writers including Hal David, Burt Bacharach, Sid Wayne, Earl Shuman and others. He turned out numerous hits in the late 1950's and early 1960's. As Rock n' Roll caught on he found himself still at the Brill Building now writing songs for Elvis Presley, including the well known Presley number "Flaming Star" and others. However, working with Presley's manager "The Colonel" proved to be Edwards' impetus to leave pop and rock songwriting; Presley's songwriters were forced to make huge monetary concessions in order to have their songs recorded by the great artist. According to collaborator Earl Shuman, one day while collaborating with Edwards in the Brill building, where publishers provided music rooms for the songwriters, Edwards left mid-song saying something to the effect that he "wasn't into the rock songs any more" and that he had an idea for a show and he was going home to write it. This began the evolution of "1776". Edwards talks to Peabody Award winning radio personality Mike Whorf about "1776" in an audio interview at [ Official "1776" web site] . He was married to Ingrid Edwards, a dancer in who was a member of the original Ed Sullivan dancers and danced on Broadway in "Pins and Needles", "Annie Get Your Gun", "Kiss Me, Kate" and others. He is survived by his wife Ingrid, daughter Valerie and son Keith.

Edwards wrote:

*"Broken Hearted Melody" (words by Hal David), a 1959 hit for Sarah Vaughan
*"Dungaree Doll!" (words by Ben Raleigh), a 1955 hit for Eddie Fisher
*"Flaming Star" (words by Sid Wayne), the theme song for the 1960 Elvis Presley film of the same name
*"The Sounds of Summer" (words by Sid Wayne), recorded by the Harry Simeone Chorale
*"Johnny Get Angry" (words by Hal David), a 1962 hit for Joanie Sommers
*"Wonderful, Wonderful" (words by Ben Raleigh), a 1957 success for Johnny Mathis
*"See You In September" (words by Sid Wayne), a 1966 hit for The Happenings.

Edwards' crowning achievement was the musical "1776" for which he wrote the original book as well as both lyrics and music. The show depicts the meeting of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia culminating with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It opened at the 46th Street Theatre on March 16, 1969 and ran for 1217 performances. It won a Tony Award for Best Musical.

External links

* [ Sherman Edwards] 1970 Mike Whorf interview about "1776" (audio)

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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