Make Me Rainbows: Songs of John Williams and the Bergmans

Looking at songs by John Williams, another name comes up - his friends and lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman.  Lasting decades, together they've written several film songs.  

Even if they aren't household names, Alan and Marilyn Bergman have written lyrics for some of the most known film songs of the 20th century.  Some of their film work includes collaborations with Michel Legrand on the Oscar-winning "The Windmills of Your Mind" from The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), the title song for Never Say Never Again (1983) and the songs for Yentl (1983).  One of their biggest hits was with Marvin Hamlisch, the Oscar-winning title song from The Way We Were (1973).  

Now onto their work with John Williams.       

For Fitzwilly (1967), 'Johnny' Williams wrote a fun caper score.  One of the main themes is the jazz-styled love theme.  The love theme became the choral end credit song "Make Me Rainbows" with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman.  The song appeared with and without lyrics on the original "re-recording" LP.  It also began a life as a jazz standard with recordings by Nancy Wilson, Vic Damone and Ella Fitzgerald.  

For the 1972 drama Pete 'n' Tillie, the main love theme is the basis for the score.  Naturally, lyrics were added to become "Love's the Only Game in Town", but it isn't sung in the film.  The sentimental song was recorded by the film's star Walter Matthau for a 45" LP in 1972.  The speak-singing promo had the instrumental arrangement on the B-side.  Leading actress Carol Burnett also recorded a version of the song that appeared as a bonus track on the 2004 release of her 1972 album Carol Burnett Featuring 'If I Could Write A Song'.  

For the film Yes, Giorgio (1982), we get a new song for Luciano Pavarotti to sing -  "If We Were In Love".  It is sung by Pavarotti during a hot air balloon montage with the instrumental version reprised during the end credits.  Williams only wrote the song, the film's score was done by Michael J. Lewis.  The song (and instrumental) were featured on the original LP and even on the 1989 Boston Pops album, "Aisle Seat".  The song was also nominated for the Best Song Oscar.        

In 1995, Williams and the Bergmans reunited for the remake of Sabrina.  The two main themes also became source music songs heard at the opening party scenes. We hear the songs "Moonlight" and a snippet of "How Can I Remember", both sung on screen by Michael Dees.  "Moonlight" is also heard in the end credits, sung by Sting.  The soundtrack has both songs heard in their entirety as well as an instrumental version of "Moonlight".  The song was also nominated for a Grammy and Best Song Oscar.

In addition to their film collaborations, Alan and Marilyn Bergman provided lyrics for a few additional projects by Williams.

Written in 1982, "America, The Dream Goes On" was premiered by Williams and the Boston Pops in 1984.  It features choir, vocal soloist and patriotic/inspirational lyrics by the Bergmans.  It has been performed several times by the Pops and featured on their 1984 album, "America, The Dream Goes On".  

In 1987, Williams and the Boston Pops premiered a march for the Special Olympics titled "We're Lookin' Good!".  This instrumental version was written in celebration of their upcoming Summer Games.  In July 1987 the piece was performed by the US Navy Band in the opening ceremony and subsequently with lyrics.  In a similar style to the "March from 1941", the instrumental version was performed by the Boston Pops in the following seasons but never recorded by Williams and the score has never been commercially published.  

Originally written for Frank Sinatra in the late 1970s, "The Same Hello, the Same Goodbye" is a lovely sentimental ballad.  Sinatra didn't end up recording it and it sat unused until singer Michael Feinstein wanted to use it on an upcoming album. The first recording of the song appeared on Feinstein's 2008 album, The Sinatra Project.  Barbra Streisand (one of their closest collaborators) also recorded the song on her Bergmans song album, What Matters Most in 2011. 

Looking for more songs by John Williams? 
Here's his list of songs with lyricist Leslie Bricusse.

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