Norman Gimbel, awarded several oscars and a grammy and lyricist of memorable songs like Killing Me Softly, of the English version of The girl from Ipanema as well as the theme of the iconic comedy Happy Days, has died at 91 years old.
His death occurred 10 days ago but has been announced this Friday by BMI music rights organization, who describes him as "a truly talented and prolific writer" whom his friends and admirers will greatly miss.
Born in Brooklyn on November 16, 1927, he died at his home in Montecito, California on December 19, his son said. Tony Gimbel a The Hollywood Reporter. He had three more children, Nelly, Peter and Hannah.
Norman Gimbel won the Oscar Award for Best Original Song with co-author David Shire for It Goes Like It Goes, by Jennifer Warnes, in the movie Norma Rae of 1979. He also wrote the wonderfully melancholic Killing Me Softly With His Song, from Roberta Flack, with her regular collaborator Charles Fox, which gave her the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1973. The success, which was five weeks at number 1 on the Billboard, it was later versioned by the hip hop group The Fugees of the nineties the last century.
Gimbel and Fox also collaborated in I Got a Name de Croce, released the day after the singer's death in a plane crash on September 20, 1973. The song was the subject of The Last American Hero (1973), starring Jeff Bridges.
"I always felt that this letter was among the best of Norman's pen," Fox wrote in his 2010 biography, Killing Me Softly: My Life in Music, in which he told that he and Gimbel had written more than 150 songs together for more than 30 years. "Norman's lyrics have an extraordinary beauty, sensitivity and understanding of the human condition," said Fox, for whom his songs "never had a word of waste or leftovers."
The duo also won the Oscar for Best Original Song for Richard's Window, interpreted by Olivia Newton-John for The Other Side of the Mountain (1975), and by Ready to Take a Chance Again, sung by Barry Manilow in Foul Play (1978).
The English letter of Gimbel for the success of the bossa nova Brazilian The girl from Ipanema, awarded with the Grammy to disc of the year in 1965, turned the standard of jazz into one of the most versioned songs of all time. The lyricist was included in the Hall of Fame of the Composers in 1984.
Robert Folk, who collaborated with Gimbel on some 15 songs, said on his Facebook wall that "Norman had an incredible talent, brilliant in every way, and one that successfully played all genres of popular music."
"Memory […] when after a reproduction by phone for a prominent filmmaker of a song just finished, he told me in private 'never tell them how easy this job is for us and how much fun we have […] or they will never pay us all this money! ", he adds.