Popular composer Paul Williams entered showbusiness as a stunt man and film actor, appearing as a child in The Loved One (1964) and The Chase (1965). He turned to songwriting, and in the 70s composed many appealing and commercially successful numbers, such as 'We've Only Just Begun', 'Rainy Days And Mondays', and 'I Won't Last A Day Without You' (written with Roger Nichols), all three of which were popular for the Carpenters'; 'Out In The Country' (Nichols), 'Cried Like A Baby' (with Craig Doerge), 'Family Of Man' (Jack S. Conrad), 'Love Boat Theme' and 'My Fair Share' (both Charles Fox), 'You And Me Against The World', 'Inspiration', and 'Loneliness' (all with Ken Ascher), 'Nice To be Around (with Johnny Williams), and 'An Old Fashioned Song', 'That's Enough For Me', and 'Waking Up Alone' (words and music by Paul Williams. Williams recorded his first solo album for Reprise Records in 1970 before moving to A&M Records the following year. None of these albums sold well, but Williams developed a highly praised nightclub act in the early 70s.
Williams' first film score was for Phantom Of The Paradise, Brian de Palma's update of the Phantom Of The Opera story, in which Williams also starred. This was followed by songs for A Star Is Born (1976), another modern version of an old movie, which starred Kris Kristofferson and Barbra Streisand, and included the Oscar-winning song 'Evergreen' (with Barbra Streisand). However, Williams' most impressive score was for the 30s pastiche Bugsy Malone, a gangster spoof with a cast consisting entirely of children. His later scores included The End (1977) and The Muppet Movie (1979), including 'Rainbow Connection', with Kenny Ascher). In 1988, Williams appeared at Michael's Pub in New York. His varied programme included some numbers intended for a future Broadway musical, as well as details of his recovery from the ravages of drugs and alcohol. In 1992, he contributed music and lyrics for the songs in the feature film The Muppet Christmas Carol, which starred Michael Caine, and continues to appear occasionally in movies and on television. His songwriting career was resurrected in the late 90s when Diamond Rio had a Top 10 Country hit with 'You're Gone', co-written with Jon Vezner. Not to be confused with the British R&B vocalist/bass player who worked with Zoot Money and others, and leads his blues band Blue Thunder.
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