- Robert Maxwell (songwriter)
Robert Maxwell (born
April 19, 1921) is a harpist and songwriter, who wrote the music for two well-known songs: " Ebb Tide" and "Shangri-La."
He was born in
New York City. Neither of his parents had been involved in music, but at age 10 he began playing the harp. In high school, he won a scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music. At age 17, he became the youngest member of the National Symphony Orchestra. He also gave solo performances in both New York and Los Angeles. Among the conductors he performed under were Arturo Toscaniniand Serge Koussevitsky.
He eventually found himself in the
United States Coast Guardin a unit commanded by Rudy Vallee, giving him the opportunity to play the harp in a popular musiccontext. Vallee arranged tours where he performed for servicemen, and he developed a talent for playing in a more down-to-earth style.
He entered a contest on
radiostation KFI in Los Angeles, failing to make the finals but gaining second prize. This led to many appearances on radio, television, and the movies, including one summer as replacement for Frank Sinatraon the Columbia Broadcasting System(CBS) network.
He went on to devising his own arrangements, and composed the three songs which gave him the biggest fame. "Ebb Tide" (1953) is a perennial favorite. "Shangri-La" hit #15 on the
Billboard Hot 100in 1964. Previously, Maxwell had scored a hit with "Little Dipper" under the name The Mickey Mozart Quintet, which peaked at #30 in 1959. [ Joel Whitburn, "The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits". 7th edn, 2000]
Another of his songs, "Solfeggio", performed by Maxwell's orchestra and the Ray Charles Singers, gained unexpected fame as the theme for the comedy skit called
The Nairobi Trio.
Robert Maxwell is the father of well-known modern dancer, Carla Maxwell, artistic director of The Jose Limon Dance Company. * [http://www.limon.org/home.html]
*Biography of Maxwell on [http://www.mmguide.musicmatch.com/artist/artist.cgi?ARTISTID=776631&TMPL=LONG#bio Music Match] site
*Biography of Maxwell on [http://www.spaceagepop.com/maxwell.htm Space Age Musicmaker] site
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