Roger Nichols (songwriter)
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|Born||Missoula, Montana, United States|
|Occupation(s)||Songwriter, composer, instrumentalist|
|Instruments||Violin, guitar, bass, piano|
|Associated acts||Paul Williams, Tony Asher, Bill Lane|
Asher and Nichols co-wrote several songs on Nichols' debut album Roger Nichols And The Small Circle Of Friends (A&M Records, 1968) which was produced by Tommy LiPuma, engineered by Bruce Botnick and featured session contributions from Van Dyke Parks, Randy Newman and Lenny Waronker. Although the album was not a big seller, A&M co-owner Herb Alpert recommended that Nichols be hired by A&M publishing as a staff songwriter, and it was during this period that he was introduced to Paul Williams.
Nichols' collaborations with Paul Williams include "We've Only Just Begun" (performed by The Carpenters), which was originally written for a Crocker Bank commercial. They were commissioned to write a jingle after a bank executive heard Nichols' album, and it was composed in a matter of hours on the last day before the deadline.
The commercial (sung by Williams) was heard on TV by Richard Carpenter, who believed it had hit potential and his group The Carpenters subsequently recorded a version, which became a major hit for them in late 1970. It was nominated for a Grammy for Song of the Year, was included on BMI's million performances list and received an award for selling a million copies of sheet music. The song was also covered by Curtis Mayfield among many others.
Another Nichols-Williams song, "Out in the Country" by Three Dog Night (later covered by R.E.M.), reached the Top Ten. Six months later, "Rainy Days and Mondays" was another gold record by The Carpenters and Nichols' third gold record in a single year.
Other hits were The Carpenters' "I Won't Last a Day Without You", Art Garfunkel's "Travelin' Boy" (covered by Rumer) and "I Never Had It So Good" (covered by Barbra Streisand). He also scored the theme song from Hart to Hart with a lyric by Lane.
Nichols released a Japan-only CD in 1995 called "Roger Nichols and a Circle of Friends -- Be Gentle With My Heart", featuring vocalist Sheila O'Connell-Roussell, on which he recorded some of his best-known tunes, including "We've Only Just Begun", "I Won't Last a Day Without You", and "Rainy Days and Mondays" (which features Paul Williams on guest vocal).
He also released a CD in 2007 with the original Small Circle of Friends called Full Circle which brought together the group to cover many of Nichols hits for other bands, including "Out in the Country" and "Let Me Be the One" as well as other tunes penned during Roger's late-1960s heyday. 2008 saw an upgraded release of "Full Circle" issued by Steve Stanley's Now Sounds label. This version also contains 5 previously-unreleased, 1960s-era demo recordings.
In addition to his extensive musical career, Nichols also is a successful jeweler.
- Roger Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends (1968)
- Roger Nichols and a Circle of Friends—Be Gentle With My Heart (1995)
- Roger Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends—Full Circle (2007)
- Roger Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends—Full Circle (2008; Now Sounds edition with 5 extra tracks)
- Roger Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends - My Heart is Home (2012)
- Roger Nicols Trio, Love Song, Love Song (L. Marks, Doug Tibbles) / Snow Queen (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) (1967) A&M Records 830