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Just an old fashioned love song'Cause they're never really gone.
playing on the radio
And wrapped around the music
is the sound of someone promising they'll never go.
You'll swear you've heard it before
as it slowly rambles on and on
No need in bringing 'em back
Paul Williams (born September 19, 1940) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and actor. He was a prominent (albeit diminutive) figure in the pop culture zeitgeist of The Seventies, having composed huge hits for acts such as the Carpenters ("We've Only Just Begun") and Three Dog Night ("An Old Fashioned Love Song"), and appearing in popular television shows of the era, such as Hawaii Five O, The Love Boat and The Muppet Show. He won an Academy Award for the song "Evergreen", performed by Barbra Streisand in A Star Is Born.
Williams composed the soundtracks for the cult Rock Opera Phantom of the Paradise (in which he also performed the role of villainous record producer Swan) and children's gangster movie Bugsy Malone. Continuing his good relationship with The Muppets, he contributed several songs for the soundtrack of The Muppet Movie (most notably perennial classic "Rainbow Connection"), even making a cameo appearance as a piano player. His most recognizable film role would be Little Enos Burdette in the Smokey and the Bandit series.
After a decade of heavy drug use, Williams released his last album for more than a decade in 1981; his career as a musician would never quite recover. Despite this, he remains a hugely respected songwriter in the industry, inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame in 2001; in 2009 he was elected President and Chairman of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).
- Someday Man (1969)
- Just an Old Fashioned Love Song (1971)
- Life Goes On (1972)
- A Little Bit of Love (1974)
- Here Comes Inspiration (1974)
- Ordinary Fool (1975)
- A Little on the Windy Side (1979)
- ...And Crazy for Loving You (1981)
- In Memory of Robert Johnson (1994)
- Back to Love Again (1997)
Tropes associated with Paul Williams:
- Age Progression Song: "We've Only Just Begun", one of the classics. Also, to more heartbreaking effect, "Time".
- Antiquated Linguistics: "Trust" is, at times, Shakespearean like that.
- Artistic Stimulation: Though critics, fans, and even Williams himself are pretty much in unanimous agreement that the quality of his work declined as his addiction worsened.
- Author Existence Failure: Although averted, this misconception was the impetus for the making of the documentary Paul Williams: Still Alive. Director Stephen Kessler believed him to be long dead as a result of his drug addiction, before finding out otherwise, thanks to the internet.
- Award Bait Song: The credits reprise of "Flying Dreams" in animated classic The Secret of NIMH.
- Breakthrough Hit: Composed a few... for others, that is.
- Break Up Song / Silly Love Songs: His catalog can be roughly divided into one or the other.
- The Cameo: Portrayed Professor Williams in an episode of Dexter's Laboratory, peppered with adorably cheesy references to his musical legacy. Oh, and in the process, providing one of said series' moments of musical awesome with "Breathe in the Sunshine".
- Cool Old Guy: Yep.
- Cool Shades: Though it's more common to see Cool Glasses nowadays.
- Cult Soundtrack: Bugsy Malone and Phantom.
- Early Installment Weirdness: His first musical outings were as frontman of psychedelic rock outfit The Holy Mackerel.
- Follow Your Heart: "Rainbow Connection". That is all.
- Grandpa, What Massive Hotness You Have: The man's seventy.
- Garfunkel: Roger Nichols, Williams' co-writer from the early days, is rarely acknowledged whenever Williams' songs are brought up. Keep in mind that Williams was mostly only the lyricist for these.
- Greatest Hits Album: Though it took all of twenty years for the follow-up to 1977's Classics to be released.
- He Also Did: Contributed voice acting for Batman: The Animated Series (that's right; he's the goddamn Penguin!) and My Little Pony.
- Long Title: "Phantom's Theme (Beauty and the Beast)" and "Somebody Super Like You (Beef Construction Song)".
- New Sound Album: The soundtrack for Phantom of the Paradise, comprised of doo-wop, sunshine pop, heavy metal, glam rock and dissonant "ballads" of depravity. Aside from his own rendition of "Faust", nothing else resembles his standard fare.
- One-Woman Song: "Margarita".
- Pop Star Composer
- Playing Against Type: Phantom of the Paradise. All of it.
- Power of Love: It's not for nothing his autographs and newsposts include the salutation "Love and light."
- Rearrange the Song: "An Old Fashioned Love Song" and "Sad Song", both with The Muppets on background vocals!
- Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll: Unfortunately. He managed to beat it before it did him though, and he is a huge activist for aiding those afflicted with drug addiction.
- "The Reason You Suck" Song: "To Put Up with You" is as harsh an example as can be derived from Williams' work.
- This Is a Song: A small number of them. "An Old Fashioned Love Song" in particular is Heavy Meta about this.
- Your Cheating Heart: "She's Too Good to Me".
- Verbal Tic: Always had a habit of rolling his "L"'s, which worsened as time went on.