Bob Russell (songwriter)

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


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).

Russell attended Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he was roommates with Sidney Sheldon the novelist. Russell went to work as an advertising copywriter. He then turned to writing special 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.

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 fame[edit]

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[edit]

Bob Russell died in 1970 from cancer. He was survived by his wife, Hannah Russell (1913–2002), born in New York City. Hannah was a composer of children's movies and songs while living in London, England (1959–62) and is the author of SpaceSongs, A Children's Intergalactica Musical Journey. Bob Russell's brother-in-law was the important songwriter Bud Green (1897–1981), who wrote the standards "Sentimental Journey", "Once In A While", and "Alabamy Bound". One of Russell's three daughters, Simohn Spearitt (b. 1945) is an author who wrote Pink Rose Bush in 1986, and revised the book in 2015 as Pink Rosie (paperback and digital), a book for children intended to foster self-esteem and anti bullying. She is also an artist and watercolorist who now resides in Mexico with her husband Jefferey. His grandson is singer/songwriter/producer Luther Russell (b. 1970).[3] His granddaughter is photographer Savannah Spirit (b. 1975) who resides in Brooklyn N.Y and is known for her flower, self portrait, political and architectural photography. Other family members include Molly Hyman, retired (b. 1935), who with Hannah Russell formed the family publishing company, Harrison Music Corporation, and later went on to become President of the company. Harrison Music Corp. owned all of the Bob Russell catalog until 2009 when it was bought by Music Sales of the UK. His other daughter, Linda Smith (1943–2000), was a musician and artist.

Published songs[edit]


Composer and lyricist[edit]


  • "It's the Beast in Me"
  • "Just When We're Falling in Love"
  • "A Lonesome Cup of Coffee"
  • "Matinee (song)|Matinee"
  • "Once"
  • "Time Was (song)"
  • "Watching the Clock"
  • "You Go Your Way"


  1. ^ "Bob Russell Biography", Songwriters Hall of Fame.
  2. ^ "Bob Russell (II) (1914–1970)", IMDb.
  3. ^ "Meet me at the Brass Rail…cream pies on me!". 2011-07-12. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 

External links[edit]