June 18, 2013
The Songs of Our Lives, Volume VI
Seasoned vocalists and hit songwriters gather to raise college funds for disadvantaged L.A. youth by Jon Burlingame
SANTA MONICA, Calif.—An estimated $110,000 was raised for the education charity The Fulfillment Fund at the sixth annual "Songs of Our Lives" benefit concert Monday night at the Eli and Edythe Broad Stage.
The three-hour event paid tribute to Oscar-winning songwriters Marilyn and Alan Bergman, who attended, and also featured performances by songwriters including Allan Rich, Steve Karmen and Charles Fox (Fox and his wife Joan were producers of the event). Comedian Sinbad was an especially funny host.
Performing Bergman songs were Debby Boone ("Where Do You Start?"), Jack Jones ("What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?"), Stephen Bishop ("It Might Be You"), Monica Mancini ("The Summer Knows"), and Billy Davis and Marilyn McCoo ("How Do You Keep the Music Playing?"). Alan Bergman himself took the stage to sing "The Windmills of Your Mind," "That Face" and "You Must Believe in Spring."
Jones opened the show with a rendition of The Love Boat theme, written by Fox and Paul Williams for the 1970s TV show. He regaled the crowd with a story about losing the original manuscript in a divorce; Fox emerged from the wings to present Jones with a new, framed edition signed by both songwriters.
Earlier, Allan Rich performed his Oscar-nominated "Run to You" (from The Bodyguard) and, with songwriting partner Jud Friedman, their "I Don't Have the Heart" and "For the First Time" (from One Fine Day).
Karmen, one of the commercial-music industry's leading writers of "jingles" (songs for advertising), did a fun 25-minute set consisting of many of his most famous ad tunes, including "When You Say Budweiser, You've Said It All," "Nationwide Is on Your Side," "Hershey Is the Great American Chocolate Bar," "Weekends Were Made for Michelob" and his biggest hit, "I Love New York" (now the official state song). He also played familiar jingles for Pan Am, Ford, Midas and other companies.
Fox performed several of his own hits from the 1970s, including his Grammy-winning "Killing Me Softly With His Song," "I Got a Name" and "Ready to Take a Chance Again." He also talked about the Fulfillment Fund, which helps an estimated 2,000 underprivileged Los Angeles-area students a year to finish high school and enter college.
All the performers gathered onstage at the conclusion of the evening to perform "The Way We Were," which the Bergmans wrote with Marvin Hamlisch (who died just last year). Approximately 500 people attended the event.
©2013 Jon Burlingame