Songwriters Paul Williams and Charles Fox honored in Universal City Dec. 3

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Songwriters Paul Williams and Charles Fox were this year’s recipients of the Golden Score Award, presented annually by the American Society of Music Arrangers & Composers. They were honored at a dinner on Sunday, December 3 at the Hilton in Universal City.

If you were alive in the 1970s, you know their songs. Williams wrote the lyrics to the Carpenters’ “We’ve Only Just Begun,” Helen Reddy’s “You and Me against the World” and Barbra Streisand’s “Evergreen (Love Theme from ‘A Star Is Born’).” Fox composed the melodies to Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly with His Song,” Jim Croce’s “I Got a Name” and Barry Manilow’s “Ready to Take a Chance Again.” (Great songs never go out of style. The hip-hop trio Fugees, featuring Lauryn Hill, had a big hit with an update of “Killing Me Softly” in 1996.)

These pros elevated every assignment—high-brow or low—with their talent.

Both honorees also wrote TV theme songs that are as famous as any of their pop hits. Fox composed the themes to “Love, American Style,” “Happy Days” and “Laverne & Shirley.” Fox and Williams co-wrote “The Love Boat” theme. Jack Jones was on hand to sing the buoyant song (which he also sang on the series). The theme song to a guilty-pleasure TV show isn’t exactly the place you would expect to find a finely-crafted lyric, but there it is: “Love—life’s sweetest reward.” These pros elevated every assignment—high-brow or low—with their talent.

Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino was an able and affable host for the evening. Mervyn Warren (an original member of the jazz group Take Six) and jazz vocalist Calabria Foti also sang the honorees’ songs. Manilow, Richard Carpenter and Dash Crofts (of Seals & Crofts) were among those who congratulated the honorees on video. Streisand sent a warm letter, which was read aloud.

One of the evening’s highlights was “The Rainbow Connection,” which was introduced by Kermit in 1979’s “The Muppet Movie.” The lovely, graceful ballad is one of Williams’ most enduring copyrights. And with all the standards he’s written, that’s saying something.

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Paul Grein writes regularly about pop music for such outlets as Yahoo.com and HitsDailyDouble.com. He has written liner notes for two Burt Bacharach collections.

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