Saturday, April 13, 2024

He’s Only Just Begun: Paul Williams, Writer of Hits for the Carpenters, Three Dog Night, Others, Will Get Johnny Mercer Award


Paul Williams, who everyone in the music biz loves and adores, will get the Johnny Mercer Award this year at the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Paul, a man of great stature, wrote a few hits, just a few, like “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “Rainy Days and Mondays” for the Carpenters, and “An Old Fashioned Love Song,” for Three Dog Night. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. He co-wrote “Evergreen” with Barbra Streisand, the only hit with the singer’s name in the credits. Also in Paul’s catalog, “Rainbow Connection” from the Muppets. He has an Oscar, three Grammy Awards, and two Golden Globe Awards.

Williams is also President and Chairman of the Board of ASCAP, which just a couple of weeks ago signed Mariah Carey up after she left rival SESAC. (A SESAC source told me this wasn’t a big deal as Mariah– unlike Paul Williams– only has one song that gets licensed a lot in “All I Want for Christmas.”) Mariah is also, coincidentally, being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame this year, on June 11th. Maybe the SHOF will issue a video of Paul and Mariah together explaining their processes. That would be amazing!

Other inductees this year at the SHOF will be Annie Lennox / Dave Stewart p/k/a Eurythmics, Ernie Isley / Marvin Isley / O’Kelly Isley / Ronald Isley / Rudolph Isley / Chris Jasper p/k/a The Isley Brothers, Steve Miller, Chad Hugo / Pharrell Williams p/k/a The Neptunes, Rick Nowels and William “Mickey” Stevenson.

Nile Rodgers, current president of the SHOF, said in a statement: “Paul Williams is a songwriter’s songwriter. He’s one of the most wonderful and colorful creators of our time and a man who has given the world so much love through [his] songs.”

PS Fans of “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” will note that the Palladino’s used Paul’s own recording of his “Bless the Beasts and the Children” at the end of an episode this past season.

 Here’s my favorite Paul Williams song:





Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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