Johnny Mandel to be Inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame

Jazz and pop arranger and composer recognized for lifetime achievement

Johnny Mandel image 0
John Reeves

Johnny Mandel

Songwriter and arranger Johnny Mandel will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame this year in an awards ceremony and dinner to be held on Thursday, June 17, 2010 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. Among Mandel’s fellow inductees are Leonard Cohen, Jackie DeShannon, David Foster and the members of Earth, Wind & Fire.

Mandel has had a long career in the music business, starting back in the’40s when he worked as a teenaged trumpeter with Joe Venuti’s orchestra. That was followed by stints as a player (on trumpet and trombone) and/or arranger with the bands of Buddy Rich, Jimmy Dorsey, Woody Herman and Artie Shaw. Eventually he moved to the world of commercial television, all the while maintaining his connection to jazz, mainly as an arranger for Count Basie and a host of notable singers, such as Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Mel Torme, Jo Stafford, Tony Bennett and Chet Baker. He also did numerous film scores, including The Sandpiper, M*A*S*H*, Being There and The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming. Among the popular songs he composed, many for successful films, are: “The Shadow of Your Smile,” “Emily,” “Suicide is Painless,” and “Close Enough for Love.”

One of his most indelible contributions to the jazz oeuvre came late in his career when he worked with Shirley Horn on her critically-acclaimed and commercially-successful Here’s To Life album, which seemed like a career capstone for both of them and brought them both Grammies. He also won a Grammy for his arrangements for Natalie Cole’s Unforgettable.

Mandel turns 85 in November of this year.