Remembering Marvin Hamlisch

If music were a sport, Marvin Hamlisch would be an All-Star and an MVP.

Marvin was without a doubt one of the most successful and sought after composers in the Hollywood film and Broadway community. Just look at the stats on this guy.  Three Oscars, Four Emmys, and one of the very few who have won an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy, a Tony, and even a Pulitzer prize. The list of songs and shows that Marvin Hamlisch was a part of reads like a roadmap of iconic music for our generation.  “A Chorus Line”, “The Way We Were”, “The Spy Who Loved Me”, “Sophie’s Choice”, “Ordinary People”, and of course “The Sting”, which may well have been solely responsible for the resurgence of ragtime music in the mid 1970’s. Now that’s entertainment!

Marvin Hamlisch started early, the youngest person ever admitted to New York’s prestigious Julliard school of music, at age 7.  One of his first gigs was as an assistant vocal arranger for Barbra Streisand.  Not a bad thing to have on your resume.

In addition to his writing and arranging, Marvin performed with symphony orchestras around the country, including the Seattle Symphony.  If you ever saw one of his pops or Holiday shows in Seattle, you saw the real deal.

Many people thought Hamlisch to be a fluffy, shallow commercial performer.  But Hamlisch loved bringing music to the masses and making a sometimes stilted world of music accessible to everyone.

During a 2010 interview, Marvin Hamlisch said “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing a very wondrous, fabulous, commercial show…There’s nothing wrong with the word ‘commercial.’ ”

Marvin Hamlisch died at 68 after a brief illness.  And since he didn’t mind a cliché, I think it only fitting to pay our tribute to one of the true greats by saying that his music will live on.

Photo by Vivanista1 / CC BY 2.0