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Bob Russell (songwriter)

Bob Russell (April 25, 1914 – February 1970) was an American songwriter (mainly lyricist) born Sidney Keith Rosenthal in Passaic, New Jersey.[1]


Russell attended Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He went to work as an advertising copywriter in New York; for a time his roommate was Sidney Sheldon the future novelist. He turned to writing material for vaudeville acts, and then for film studios, ultimately writing complete scores for two movies: Jack and the Beanstalk and Reach for Glory. The latter film received the Locarno International Film Festival prize in 1962. A number of other movies featured compositions by Russell: Affair in Trinidad (1952), Blue Gardenia (1953), The Girl Can't Help It (1956), The Girl Most Likely (1957), A Matter of WHO, Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952), Sound Off (1952), That Midnight Kiss (1949), and A Ticket to Tomahawk (1950).[2] In the movies The Girl Most Likely, Blue Gardenia and Matter of Who (1961), Russell's compositions included the title songs.

In 1968, Russell along with songwriting partner Quincy Jones were nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Original Song category ("The Eyes Of Love" for the film Banning). The following year, both he and Jones were nominated again in the same category (for the Sidney Poitier film For Love of Ivy).

He had his last hit song in 1969-70 with "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother", co-written with Bobby Scott and recorded by The Hollies. The song was introduced to the group by Russell's son-in-law Jefferey Spearitt, who was living in London at the time with his wife Simohn.

Among Russell's collaborators were Lou Alter, Peter De Rose, Duke Ellington, Bronislaw Kaper, Lester Lee, Carl Sigman, Harold Spina, and Harry Warren.

Hall of fameEdit

In 1970 he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2004, he was posthumously awarded the ASCAP lifetime achievement award in the pop category.

Personal life and deathEdit

Bob Russell died in 1970 from lymphoma in Beverly Hills. He was survived by his wife, Hannah Russell (1913–2002), sister of songwriter Bud Green (1897–1981), who wrote the standards "Sentimental Journey", "Once In A While", and "Alabamy Bound".

Published songsEdit




  • "It's the Beast in Me"
  • "A Lonesome Cup of Coffee"
  • "Matinee (song)|Matinee"
  • "Once"
  • "Time Was (song)"
  • "Watching the Clock"


  1. ^ "Bob Russell Biography" Archived 2015-06-26 at the Wayback Machine, Songwriters Hall of Fame.
  2. ^ "Bob Russell (II) (1914–1970)", IMDb.

External linksEdit