Carl Sigman in the News
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Billboard, July 26, 2003
Sign Of The ‘Times’...
By Jim Bessman

Paul McCartney’s pride in the Beatles’ “Yesterday,” for which he claims sole songwriting credit, may have been wounded by reports of the song’s similarity to Carl Sigman’s “Answer Me, My Love.”
Sigman’s song was a chart-topping hit for Frankie Laine in England in 1953 (then titled “Answer Me, Lord Above”), and the budding Beatle could conceivably have been influenced by it subconsciously. So, at least, suggests Michael Sigman, son of the late songwriter and head of his recently reactivated major songs catalog of standards, including “What Now My Love,” “It’s All In The Game,” and “(Where Do I Begin) Love Story.”

“When ‘Yesterday’ came out in 1965, I was 15 and a complete Beatles freak,” Sigman relates. “But my dad thought they were too loud and that their lyrics needed work.
“Then I played him ‘Yesterday,’ and he just fell in love with the song and the group-Paul in particular,” Sigman says. “But I always felt there was a connection between ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Answer Me’-nothing inappropriate, of course, but a similar cadence and spirit.”

The Sigman song, co-written with Gerhard Winkler and Fred Rauch, was so popular in England that a competing version by David Whitfield also charted; Nat “King” Cole covered it the following year as “Answer Me, My Love,” and Johnny Rivers and Joni Mitchell also turned out versions.
Michael Sigman further notes that artists including Marty Robbins and the Impressions have recorded both “Answer Me” and “Yesterday.”
“Bob Dylan has even performed them both live,” he adds, declaring “another interesting twist [in that] Paul owns the copyrights to several of our biggest songs, including ‘Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think)’ and ‘Civilization (Bongo, Bongo, Bongo).’ Hmmm, maybe he got the inspiration for ‘Eleanor Rigby’ from ‘Enjoy Yourself.’”

Yes, Mike, both titles do begin with the letter “E,” but any similarities likely end there. McCartney’s spokesman, Geoff Baker, meanwhile, told the U.K.’s Times newspaper that “Answer Me” and “Yesterday” “are as similar as ‘Get Back’ and ‘God Save The Queen’”-meaning England’s national anthem presumably, and not, the Sex Pistols’.
And speaking of Dylan, The Wall Street Journal has reported that the legendary songwriter apparently lifted numerous lines in “Floater” from his 2001 album “Love and Theft” from Japanese author Junichi Saga’s 1989 book “Confessions of a Yakuza.” Fellow 62-year-old Saga says he’s flattered- and not litigious.

(c) Billboard