“Rainbow Connection” composer Paul Williams, Jimmy Webb Take Over ASCAP

ASCAP LOGO“Rainbow Connection” composer is new head of ASCAP.

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From the press release:

Songwriter Paul Williams was elected President and Chairman of the Board of ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) today by the ASCAP Board of Directors at its meeting in Nashville, Tn.

Williams’ election follows on the heels of songwriter Marilyn Bergman’s decision to step down from the ASCAP Presidency effective today, although she will continue as an active Board Member. Bergman announced her plans on April 8, 2009, after 15 distinguished years as President and Chairman of the Board.

Songwriter Jimmy Webb has been elected writer Vice Chairman to replace Williams, who held that post for the prior two years. On the publisher side, the re-elected officers are: Irwin Robinson of Paramount Allegra Music as Vice Chairman; Kathy Spanberger of peermusic as Secretary; and James M. Kendrick of Schott Music Corporation/European American Music Corporation as Treasurer.

Commenting on the Board’s choice for her successor, Bergman said: “I have worked closely with Paul during his eight years as a member of the ASCAP Board of Directors, and particularly since he assumed the post of writer Vice Chairman. He is an outstanding choice to lead the vital work that ASCAP conducts on behalf of all of us who create music. In addition to his tremendous talent as a songwriter, Paul has deep knowledge of both the challenges and opportunities that face music creators in today’s environment. I have no doubt that he will be a powerful and vigorous advocate for our needs and rights. And I’m very pleased that illustrious songwriter and performer Jimmy Webb will be serving as writer Vice Chair.”

Williams added: “It’s a great honor and privilege to be elected President and Chairman of the Board of ASCAP. On behalf of my fellow Board members, I would like to thank Marilyn for her extraordinarily productive work and the dedication she has shown over the last fifteen years. The ability to make a viable living from creating music is of critical importance not just to songwriters and composers, but also to our society as a whole. Recent advances in areas like technology have opened many new doors for music creators. But we also face a host of daunting challenges relative to how the act of creating music is both fairly valued and compensated. ASCAP must remain a strong voice for our creative community, and I plan to do all I can to ensure this is the case.”

Timeless Standards Mark an Award-Winning Career

Paul Williams is an Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe winning Hall of Fame songwriter. “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “Rainy Days and Mondays,” “You and Me Against the World,” “An Old Fashioned Love Song,” “I Won’t Last a Day Without You” and “Let Me Be The One” are among his timeless standards.

His songs have been recorded by such diverse musical icons as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Willie Nelson, Ella Fitzgerald, David Bowie, Ray Charles, R.E.M., Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughn, Johnny Mathis, Luther Vandross and Kermit the Frog.

Bugsy Malone and Phantom of the Paradise are among his song scores for film. “The Rainbow Connection” from the children’s classic The Muppet Movie and “Evergreen” from A Star is Born are two of his songs that grace the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 movie songs of all times.

Having completed the music and lyrics for the Garry Marshall musical Happy Days, Williams joined forces with the Henson Company to produce a new Christmas musical based on the perennial favorite, Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas. In 2008, NBC aired A Muppet Christmas: Letter To Santa, an original Christmas special with both story and songs by Williams.

Publicly lauded for his work as a songwriter, performer, actor and humanitarian, Williams predicts he’ll be most remembered for playing Little Enos in the Smokey and the Bandit trilogy and for his lyrics to “The Love Boat” theme. As a devoted husband to writer Mariana Williams and proud father, he considers his son Cole and daughter Sarah to be his best work.


Established in 1914, ASCAP is the first and leading U.S. Performing Rights Organization (PRO) representing the world’s largest repertory totaling over 8.5 million copyrighted musical works of every style and genre from more than 350,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members. ASCAP has representation arrangements with similar foreign organizations so that the ASCAP repertory is represented in nearly every country around the world where copyright law exists. ASCAP protects the rights of its members and foreign affiliates by licensing the public performances of their copyrighted works and distributing royalties based upon surveyed performances. ASCAP is the only American PRO owned and governed by its writer and publisher members.

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