Friday, July 25, 2008

Authors who moonlighted as songwriters, (#1)

Dorothy Parker (August 22, 1893–June 7, 1967) was an American writer and poet, best known for her caustic wit, wisecracks, and sharp eye for 20th century urban foibles. From a conflicted and unhappy childhood, Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary output in such venues as The New Yorker and as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table, a group she would later disdain. Parker survived three marriages (two to the same man) and several suicide attempts, but grew increasingly dependent on alcohol. Although she would come to dismiss her own talents and deplore her reputation as a "wisecracker," her literary output and her sparkling wit have endured long past her death.

"I Wished On the Moon"
Words & Music by Dorothy Parker and Ralph Rainger
Performed by Billie Holliday with The Teddy Wilson Orchestra

Michael O'Donoghue (January 5, 1940 - November 8, 1994) was a 20th century American writer and performer. He was known for his dark and destructive style of comedy and humor, was a major contributor to National Lampoon magazine, and was the first head writer of the highly influential American television program Saturday Night Live.

"Single Women"
Words & Music by Michael O'Donoghue
Performed by Dolly Parton

William Saroyan (August 31, 1908 - May 18, 1981) was an American author. A few of his early short articles were published in The Overland Monthly. His first stories appeared in the 1930s. Among these was "The Broken Wheel", written under the name Sirak "Goryan" and published in the Armenian journal Hairenik in 1933. Many of Saroyan's stories were based on his childhood experiences among the Armenian-American fruit growers of the San Joaquin Valley, or dealt with the rootlessness of the immigrant. The short story collection My Name is Aram (1940), an international bestseller, was about a young boy and the colorful characters of his immigrant family. It has been translated into many languages.

"Come On-A My House"
Words & Music by William Saroyan and Ross Bagdasarian
Performed by Rosemary Clooney
Song starts around 1:40, Look for Ross Bagdasarian (see below) as the song promoter!

And while we're here...

Rostom Sipan Bagdasarian aka Ross Bagdasarian, Sr.
(January 27, 1919 – January 16, 1972) was an American pianist, singer, songwriter, actor and record producer. In his professional life, he was better known by the stage name David Seville, which he used on his recordings featuring Alvin and the Chipmunks. Bagdasarian was of Armenian descent. As a young man, Bagdasarian was in the Broadway cast of The Time of Your Life, written by his famous cousin, William Saroyan. Bagdasarian's first musical success was the song he wrote with Saroyan, "Come on-a My House", sung by Rosemary Clooney.

"The Chipmunk Song"
Words & Music by Ross Bagdasarian
Performed by David Seville & the Chipmunks