Billy Barnes (composer)

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Billy Barnes
BornJanuary 27, 1927
DiedSeptember 25, 2012(2012-09-25) (aged 85)[1]
OccupationComposer, writer
Spouse(s)Joyce Jameson (divorced)
Richard Tyler Jordan (husband)
ChildrenTyler Barnes (b. 1953)

Billy Barnes (January 27, 1927 – September 25, 2012) was a composer and lyricist from Los Angeles, California. His hit songs includes "(Have I Stayed) Too Long at the Fair" recorded by Patti Page and Barbra Streisand (in "The Second Barbra Streisand Album" ), and "Something Cool", recorded by jazz vocalist June Christy.[2] Barnes is best known for his theatrical revues, including The Billy Barnes Revue, Billy Barnes' People, Billy Barnes' Party, Billy Barnes' L.A.,[3] and Billy Barnes' Hollywood. Other productions with Barnes' songs include Movie Star, and Blame It on the Movies (1988).[4] An assertive composer and skillful pianist, Barnes is affectionately known as the "Revue Master of Hollywood."

Barnes started writing musical comedy sketches while still in high school, and continued while at UCLA. He started collaborating in college with Bob Rodgers, and their first professional revue, a Cabaret Concert Show, was staged in 1956 in Los Angeles.[2] His revues were the springboard for many talented comics and singers, including Bert Convy, Ken Berry, Jo Anne Worley, Steve Franken, Jackie Joseph, Ann Morgan Guilbert, Donald Ross, Dick Patterson, Dave Ketchum and Barnes' former wife, Joyce Jameson.[5]

On television he wrote special material and original musical production numbers for Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, The Danny Kaye Show,[6] The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, Cher and The Carol Burnett Show. He wrote opening production numbers for several Academy Awards telecasts. He has composed comedic and topical songs for many of show business's greatest personalities including Lucille Ball, Bette Davis and Angela Lansbury. He wrote the songs for the 1976 television musical adaptation of Pinocchio starring Sandy Duncan in the title role, Danny Kaye as Mister Geppetto and Flip Wilson as the Fox.

Barnes had a recurring acting role on Mad About You in the 1990s as "Mr. Edlin", the musical director and pianist of a community theatre.

Barnes received The Los Angeles Theatre Alliance Governor's Award for his lifetime achievement in the theatre. Barnes died on September 25, 2012.

The 2013 HBO series Getting On is set in the fictional Mt. Palms Hospital's "Billy Barnes Extended Care Unit" in Long Beach, California.


  1. ^ McLellan, Dennis. "Billy Barnes dies at 85; satirical songwriter for Hollywood revues" Los Angeles Times, September 25, 2012
  2. ^ a b Erickson 2000, p. 106.
  3. ^ Billy Barnes' L.A. listing Archived December 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, accessed August 4, 2009
  4. ^ Flinn 2006, p. 177.
  5. ^ Billy Barnes Revued, review Archived November 7, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, accessed August 4, 2009
  6. ^ Erickson 2000, pp. 46, 64, 105, and 106.


  • Erickson, Hal (2000). "From Beautiful Downtown Burbank": A Critical History of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, 1968-1973. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. pp. 46, 64, 105, and 106. ISBN 978-0786440498.
  • Flinn, Denny Martin (2006). Little musicals for little theatres. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Limelight Editions. p. 177. ISBN 978-0879103217.

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