Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [obit] Ray Ellis

Expand Messages
  • Henry R. Kujawa
    Let me clean this up a bit... litlgrey wrote: Composer Ray Ellis dies at 85 Arranged Chances Are, Splish Splash By Mike Barnes Oct 31, 2008, 08:30 PM ET
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 1, 2008
    • 0 Attachment
      Let me clean this up a bit...

      litlgrey wrote:
      Composer Ray Ellis dies at 85
      Arranged 'Chances Are,' 'Splish Splash'

      By Mike Barnes

      Oct 31, 2008, 08:30 PM ET
      Composer Ray Ellis, who arranged such classics as "Chances Are" by
      Johnny Mathis, "Splish Splash" by Bobby Darin and "Standing on the
      Corner" by the Four Lads, died Monday in Encino of complications from
      melanoma. He was 85.

      During a career that spanned almost 65 years, the Philadelphia native
      also arranged for acts including Tony Bennett, Doris Day, the
      Drifters, Connie Francis, Judy Garland and Ray Price.

      Ellis, in collaboration with his son Marc, wrote original music for
      many of the animated series produced by Filmation Studios, along with
      the original "Spider-Man" cartoon, "The NBC Nightly News" and "The
      Today Show." Father and son also created music for game shows
      including "Sale of the Century."

      In the late 1940s and early '50s, Ellis played tenor sax in the Gene
      Krupa Band and the Paul Whiteman Band and performed on live TV with
      jazz combos on WCAU in Philadelphia.

      He was discovered in 1955 by Columbia Records producer Mitch Miller,
      and under the famed bandleader's guidance, Ellis arranged a string of
      top 10 records for acts including the Four Lads, Mathis, Bennett,
      Darin and Chris Connor.

      Ellis also recorded instrumental albums under the Ray Ellis and His
      Orchestra banner for Columbia and RCA Records.

      With Jerry Wexler at Atlantic Records, Ellis arranged R&B classics for
      the Drifters ("Under the Boardwalk"), Brook Benton ("There Goes My
      Baby"), Ben E. King ("Spanish Harlem") and Etta James ("C.C. Rider").
      He did arrangements for Billie Holiday's last album, 1958's "Lady in
      Satin."

      Ellis became A&R director at MGM Records in 1959, creating hits for
      Connie Francis ("Where the Boys Are"), Frankie Laine and Clyde
      McPhatter ("Lover's Question"). Later, he worked with such artists as
      Lena Horne, Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, Anthony Newley, Michelle
      Lee, Liza Minnelli and Maurice Chevalier.

      Most recently, Ellis worked on projects with Adam Sandler, Barry
      Manilow and Bette Midler. During his retirement years, he was involved
      in fundraising efforts for the Ojai Music Festival.

      Among Ellis' survivors is his wife of more than 60 years, Yvette.







      Well, another one of the greats gone. It seemed to me about the time
      the DVD set was coming out that most of the people involved with the
      show were already gone or dropping like flies. And STILL no original
      recordings have turned up. (sigh)

      When I started learning about Ray Ellis a few years ago, I commented
      that there seemed to me to be a heirarchy when it came to composers
      doing film soundtracks. You had those who did feature films. Then you
      had those who "only" did tv shows. And then you had those who did tv
      CARTOONS. This does not diminish the people or the work they did in
      the latter 2 categories. Let me put it this way: I love John Williams'
      work on LOST IN SPACE more than anything he's done since. Really! (The
      scores for the 1st 2 STAR WARS movies were wonderful, of course.) A
      lot of GREAT tv music from the 60's-- and I consider the 60's to be
      quite possibly the best-EVER era for tv music (seriously, can ANYBODY
      name ANYTHING since that measure up??) has taken decades to show up on
      LP, CD, whatever. We're still waiting for SPIDER-MAN.

      It was wonderful to read of the various things Ellis was involved in--
      "Spanish Harlem" is one of the all-time greats (though even I have to
      wrack my brain sometimes to remember exactly what it is an "arranger"
      does). Mitch Miller, a favorite of mine when I was a little kid (no
      really) turns out to have had a big impact on who worked for Columbia,
      bieng their R&D man (he also signed Bob Dylan-- ain't that a kick?).

      I'm playing the SPIDEY COVERS disc right now. I suggest anyone who
      hasn't gotten a copy yet go do it! They may not be his recordings, but
      they are his songs.


      Henry
    • rbgrar
      This is sad news. But for some reason, I thought he had passed away a couple of years ago (i.e. shortly after the Volume CD came out). Sure would be nice if
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 1, 2008
      • 0 Attachment
        This is sad news.

        But for some reason, I thought he had passed away a couple of years ago
        (i.e. shortly after the Volume CD came out).

        Sure would be nice if his music (original or faithfully rerecorded)
        could be released on CD, as a tribute to this great composer.

        Richard G.
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.