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Al Kasha (born January 22, 1937) is a Brooklyn–born composer, songwriter, arranger and businessman. He started songwriting and producing at a young age and was hired as a producer at Columbia Records aged 22. He worked at the Brill Building in 1959 alongside writers and artists like Carole King, Neil Sedaka, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Burt Bacharach, Hal David, and Neil Diamond. He has worked with many great artists such as Aretha Franklin ("Operation Heartbreak" and "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody"), Neil Diamond, Donna Summer ("I'm A Fire"), Charles Aznavour ("Dance In The Old Fashioned Way"), Bobby Darin ("Irresistible You"), and Jackie Wilson ("I'm Coming on Back To You," "My Empty Arms," "Forever And A Day," "Each Night I Dream Of You," "Lonely Life," and "Sing And Tell The Blues So Long"). He was responsible for signing The Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin to publishing contracts in the 1960s when he worked for CBS Publishing. Kasha is most noted for his years of collaboration with songwriter Joel Hirschhorn. The two wrote and collaborated on many nominated and award winning songs for many music groups, movies, and musicals. The Peppermint Rainbow's "Will You Be Staying After Sunday" is just one example of the many songs they wrote for groups during their time.
The songwriting duo won two Oscars for Best Song, "The Morning After" from The Poseidon Adventure in 1973 and "We May Never Love Like This Again" from The Towering Inferno in 1975. They also received two more Academy Award Nominations for their work in the 1977 Walt Disney live action animated classic Pete's Dragon where they were nominated for Best Song Score and Best Song ("Candle On The Water," sung by Helen Reddy).
Along with Hirschhorn, Kasha also received two Tony nominations for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Copperfield, two Grammy nominations and an Emmy, as well as four Golden Globe nominations and a People's Choice award. They also composed the theme song to the short-lived 1990s game show The Challengers.
Amongst Al's many family scoring credits. He received an Angel Award for his score to China Cry for the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Additionally Mr. Kasha has a running television series entitled Beyond Belief, which is currently airing around the world.
Kasha has written three books: If They Ask You Can Write A Song, Notes On Broadway, and his autobiography, Reaching The Morning After. He is also in the process of finishing a fourth book that is the definitive book on songwriting entitled, The Song.
Kasha's more recent work has included two musicals, The Real Love and Loving The Silent Tears, that he conceived and created with Vietnamese poet Supreme Master Ching Hai.
Kasha is currently married to Ceil Kasha who handled the late Donna Summer's business affairs and is a well known celebrity interior designer.
- Al Kasha Monday, November 24, 2003 Interview by Dan Kimpel