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Russell also wrote lyrics for several foreign compositions, all number one hits. “Frenesi” (Alberto Dominquez), a 1940 collaboration with Ray Charles, belonged to Artie Shaw. “Maria Elena” (Lorenzo Barcelata) was popularized by Bob Eberly with Tommy Dorsey (1941). “Brazil” (Ary Barroso) made the charts with Xavier Cugat and Jimmy Dorsey (1943) and appeared in several movies. Of Ernesto Lecuona’s many popular compositions, Russell supplied lyrics for “Taboo” and “Babalu” (1941), a hit for Cugat and later, Desi Arnaz.
With Carl Sigman he had hits with “Ballerina” (1947), a Vaughan Monroe favorite, and “Crazy He Calls Me” (1949) written for Billie Holiday. “You Came a Long Way from St. Louis,” with John Benson Brooks (1962), enjoyed a second life with the 1959 Peggy Lee/George Shearing recording. “No Other Love” (1950), based on a Chopin etude and written with Paul Weston, was a hit for Jo Stafford. Kay Starr made a splash with “Half a Photograph” (1953), written with Hal Stanley. And the fairly obscure “Circus,” written with Louis Alter (1949), was recorded by Tony Martin, the Four Freshmen, and a handful of jazz artists.
Russell’s film collaborations with Quincy Jones won Oscar nominations for “The Eyes of Love” from Banning (1967) and the title cut of For Love of Ivy (1968). He also wrote the title cut for Blue Gardenia (1953) and the theme song for TV’s “Wagon Train” (1957). In 1969 he supplied lyrics for Bobby Scott’s “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.”
- Sandra Burlingame
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Anne Baxter, Richard Conte
The Blue Gardenia (1953)
Sidney Poitier, Abbey Lincoln
For Love of Ivy (1968)
Girl Most Likely
Interglobal Home Video
VHS Russell wrote title song
A Matter of WHO
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