Sherman Edwards

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Sherman Edwards
Birth name Sherman Edwards
Born (1919-04-04)April 4, 1919
Origin New York City, U.S.A.
Died March 30, 1981(1981-03-30) (aged 61)
Occupations Songwriter
Instruments Piano

Sherman Edwards (April 4, 1919 – March 30, 1981) was an American songwriter.

Biography[edit]

Edwards was born in New York City and was raised in Weequahic, New Jersey, where he attended Weequahic High School. He lived in Parsippany NJ from 1919-1981. He attended Columbia University, where he majored in history.[citation needed] Throughout college, Edwards moonlighted, playing jazz piano for late night radio and music shows. After serving in World War II, Edwards taught high school history for a brief period before continuing his career as a pianist, playing with some of history's most famous Swing bands and artists.[citation needed] He also composed for Broadway.[1]

After a few years as a band leader and arranger for artist Mindy Carson, Edwards started writing pop songs at the famous Brill Building with writers including Hal David, Burt Bacharach, Sid Wayne, Earl Shuman and others.[citation needed] He turned out numerous hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s. As Rock n' Roll caught on, he found himself still at the Brill Building writing songs for Elvis Presley, including the well known Presley number Flaming Star. However, working with Presley's manager "The Colonel" proved to be Edwards' impetus to leave pop and rock songwriting; Presley's songwriters were forced to make huge monetary concessions in order to have their songs recorded by the great artist.[citation needed] According to collaborator Earl Shuman, one day while collaborating with Edwards in the Brill building, where publishers provided music rooms for the songwriters, Edwards left mid-song saying something to the effect that he "wasn't into the rock songs any more" and that he had an idea for a show and was going home to write it.[citation needed] This began the evolution of 1776.[citation needed] Edwards talked to Peabody Award winning radio personality Mike Whorf about 1776 in an audio interview at Official 1776 web site.

He was married to Ingrid Edwards, a dancer who was a member of the original Ed Sullivan dancers and danced on Broadway in Pins and Needles, Annie Get Your Gun, and Kiss Me, Kate.

Death[edit]

The grave of Sherman Edwards

Sherman Edwards died of a heart attack in Manhattan at age 61 in 1981 and was interred at Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, NY.

Pop songs written by Edwards[edit]

1776[edit]

Edwards' crowning achievement was, arguably, the musical 1776, for which he wrote the lyrics and music. The show depicts the meeting of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, culminating with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It opened at the 46th Street Theatre on March 16, 1969 and ran for 1,217 performances. It won a Tony Award for Best Musical.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sherman Edwards at the Internet Broadway Database
  2. ^ 1776 at the Internet Broadway Database

External links[edit]