CARL SIGMAN WAS BORN in Brooklyn, New York in 1909.
After a childhood highlighted by baseball games and classical piano
lessons, he graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School, and his mother
gave him the ultimatum of becoming a doctor or a lawyer. Since he did
not like the sight of blood, he chose law. He attended NYU Law School
and was admitted to the New York State Bar. But music was his love,
and he never practiced law. As his wife Terry Sigman would later put
it, Carl felt music was more up his (Tin Pan) alley.
of Carls friends as a young man was Johnny Mercer, already an
important songwriter. Carls first published song was Just
Remember, a collaboration with Mercer that became a hit in England
in 1936. Although he loved Carls melodies, Johnny advised him
to write lyrics, on the theory that he had already shown he had a way
with words and tune writers were a dime a dozen. Mercer moved to Los
Angeles, embarking on one of the most remarkable careers in the history
of popular music, while Carl continued to make his way in New York.
__Before World War II, Carl had his first
smash hit, collaborating with Glenn Miller on "Pennsylvania 6-5000,"
which remains a standard to this day.
was drafted in 1942 and was attached to the glider division of the 82nd
Airborne. He received a $25 war bond for writing what became the 82nd's
official song "The All American Soldier." Awarded a Bronze
star for his service in Africa, he was a true World War II hero when
he was discharged in 1945.
1946-1947, amazing things started to happen for Carl. In quick succession,
he wrote "Ballerina," "Crazy He Calls Me," "Enjoy
Yourself," "Civilization," and a number of other songs
which reached to top levels of "Your Hit Parade." He also
wrote his one and only Broadway Show, "Angel in the Wings,"
which ran for almost a year and gave Elaine Stritch her first big break.
1948 CARL MET his future wife and best friend, Terry, who was working
as a personal assistant for Louis Prima in the legendary Brill Building.
They were married after a whirlwind courtship, and three sons and a
myriad hit songs followed over the next several years. "My Heart
Cries For You," "It's All In The Game," "Answer
Me," and "Careless Hands" were among the future evergreens
written during this period, as Carl wrote both lyrics and melodies with
collaborators including Peter De Rose, Bob Hilliard, Bob Russell, Duke
Ellington and Tadd Dameron.
the 50s passed into the 60s, Carl wrote some of his most well-known
and enduring songs, including "Ebb Tide," "Shangri La,"
"Arrivederci Roma," "Till," and "Buona Sera."
By this time Carl's songs had been recorded by virtually every major
star, including Frank Sinatra (who eventually recorded some 15 of his
songs) Billie Holiday, Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley,
Mel Torme and Ella Fitzgerald.
1960s were a turbulent time in pop music, as the Beatles and other rock
groups swept many of the more traditional songs off the charts. Nevertheless,
Carl continued to thrive during this period, writing such hits as "What
Now My Love," "The Day The Rains Came," "You're
My World," "A Day In The Life Of A Fool," and "(Over
And Over) The World We Knew."
1970 Carl wrote what would become his most popular song, and one of
the most popular songs internationally of all time, "Where Do I
Begin (Love Story)," the theme from the Ryan ONeal/Ali McGraw blockbuster
film. This song sold a huge amount of sheet music and was recorded by
hundreds of artists, including Andy Williams, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis,
and Shirley Bassey. Later in the decade, Carl wrote hits for Andy Williams
("Music From Across The Way"), Elvis Presley ("Fool"),
and Frank Sinatra ("The Saddest Thing Of All").
the past two decades, right up to his death at the age of 91 in 2000,
Carl continued to write new songs while reaping the benefits of continued
success for this many standards. During his period his songs were even
recorded and performed by many rock and reggae acts, including Mink
DeVille, Bad Manners, The Specials, and Deep Purple.
Sigmans catalogue numbers some 800 songs and has become, to quote
the recent MIDEM Daily News, one of the most important US catalogues.