HOLLYWOOD—The multiple Emmy and Grammy-winning Composer, Charles Fox, may not receive accolades for his melodic vocal abilities, but his storytelling and skills on the piano are worthy of his iconic status in the music industry, as witnessed at his cabaret dÃ©but on September 28, at Cabaret At The Castle. In attendance were noted colleagues ranging from Grammy nominated Broadway star Ilene Graff to recording artist NIGEL, as well as comedic legend, Jo Anne Worley and daytime favorite, Kate Linder.
The audience was clearly there to offer adulation to the music legend, and Fox did not disappoint. The voice was perhaps a little shaky with nerves for the dÃ©but, but Fox’s charm and sense of comic timing was impeccable. Even an audience, that thought they already knew the career of the established composer, was heard whispering, “I didn’t know that” or “He wrote that?” A collection of time capsule worthy TV pop culture themes from “Wide World of Sports” and “Monday Night Football” to game show staples such as “What’s My Line,” as well as many iconic series, including “Happy Days,” “Laverne & Shirley,” “Love, American Style,” “Wonder Woman” and “Love Boat.” “His music is a great part of Americana,” said Garry Marshall.
Twice nominated for the Academy Award, the two-time Emmy winning composer and Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, who has written music for the concert hall and the ballet, will soon become part of America’s historic legacy at the Smithsonian Institute in late 2010. Among the hundreds of songs he has written is the Grammy Award-winning “Killing Me Softly with His Song,” a number one record in just about every country in the world, by two different artists: Roberta Flack in 1973 and the Fugees, 20 years later.
Among the pop and movie hits presented at the concert were “And The Feeling’s Good,” “Ready to Take a Chance Again,” “My Fair Share,” “I Got A Name,” “I Go Along,” “Homecoming,” “Girl” (made particularly famous, as Fox explained, by Davy Jones on the Brady Bunch), and his signature success “Killing Me Softly.” In his memoirs of the same title, Fox recounts his development as a musician, beginning with his formal music education in Paris. A particularly exciting and evocative portion of the memoir is the remarkable original letters he wrote home from Paris between 1959 and 1961, which were found among his mother’s belongings. Fox recounts his studies under the tutelage of the most renowned music composition teacher of the 20th century, Nadia Boulanger, whose influence Fox carried throughout his entire professional career.
Following his return to the states, Fox describes the cornerstone events of his musical and personal life. He reflects on the highlights of his career, working with some of the greatest names in entertainment, film, television and records, including Jim Croce, Barry Manilow, Lena Horn, and Fred Astaire. Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004 and a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Composers & Lyricists, Fox’s memoir is a compelling story of a musician and composer whose work continues to entertain and inspire listeners around the world.
Among the highlights to the evening was the premiere of a recently released official Beverly Hills theme song entitled “90210 Beverly Hills” written with pal Hal David, who was in attendance, and the announcement that the Smithsonian Institute will be inducting the only single 45-copy of the “Happy Days” record (used in the opening scene of the hit TV Series) as part of the newly created permanent Entertainment History Exhibit. “The exquisite talent of Charles Fox’s Happy Days album appearing in the Smithsonian is absolutely brilliant!” remarked evening patron, Cathy Silvers (who created the role of Jenny Piccolo on Happy Days), adding, “I hope it finds its way right next to the Fonz’s leather jacket.”
Photographs Courtesy Brian Putnam Photography as follows: Charles Fox on stage, Recording artist, NIGEL, Jo Anne Worley and record Producer, Steve Jahier and Cathy Silvers, Ilene Graff, Charles Fox and Kate Linder