February 13, 2015

Paul Williams, hit maker.

Most people will recognize Paul Williams instantly from his roles in the Muppet Movie, Smokey and the Bandit, or even Phantom of the Paradise*. But he's so much more than an eccentric man who popped up in movies during the 70s. This “that guy” is also a song writing legend.

His songwriting career spanned from the late 50's to the present. He's written songs for The Carpenters, Three Dog Night, David Bowie, Barbra Streisand and on and on. He wrote songs for artists that were deep cuts, like “Fill your Heart” off of David Bowie's album Hunky Dory (my personal favorite), and other more instantly recognizable songs like, Three Dog Night “An Old Fashioned Love Song”, The Carpenters ”We've Only Just Begun” and “Rainy Days and Mondays”. And that doesn't even cover the songs he wrote for movies and television, most notably “Rainbow Connection” for the Muppet Movie and the theme to “Love Boat". Of late, he's been popping up in places like the most recent Daft Punk album. His impact on popular music is unmistakable, but sadly mostly unknown to the people who appreciate it.

But thanks to filmmaker Stephen Kessler you can learn so much more about Mr. Williams through the documentary Paul Williams Still Alive. Amazon has it available here, and it's well worth the scratch to learn more about this wild and talented man.

*You may even recognize his voice as the Penguin in Batman the Animated series.

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