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Bob Russell (songwriter)

Sidney Keith "Bob" Russell (25 April 1914 – February 1970) was an American songwriter (mainly lyricist) born in Passaic, New Jersey.

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. He then went to work as an advertising copywriter. Russell 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, Blue Gardenia, The Girl Can't Help It, The Girl Most Likely, Matter of Who, Meet Captain Kidd, Sound-Off, That Midnight Kiss, and Ticket to Tomahawk. In the movies The Girl Most Likely, Blue Gardenia, and Matter of Who, 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" 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 his collaborators were Lou Alter, Peter De Rose, Duke Ellington, Bronislaw Kaper, Lester Lee, Carl Sigman, Harold Spina, and Harry Warren.

In 1970 he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Russell died from cancer in February 1970. In 2004 he was posthumously awarded the ASCAP lifetime achievement award in the pop category.

Family members

Russell's wife, Hannah Russell (1913–2002), born in N.Y.C., was also a composer of children's movies and songs while living in London, England (1959–62) and is also the author of SpaceSongs, A Children's Intergalatica 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, a book for children intended to foster self-esteem. 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).[1] His granddaughter Savannah Spirit (b. 1975) is a Photographer and curator in New York City .[2] Other family members include Molly Hyman, (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. His other daughter, Linda Smith, (1943-2000) died in 2000.

Published songs


Composer and lyricist


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


External links

  • Songwriters Hall of Fame
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Bio on Jazz Standards site
  • Discogs

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