Spanning 1964 to 1979, a collection of highlights from the Teddy Randazzo songbook, most of which he also arranged and produced, including some of the most elegant and sophisticated recordings of the era.
Not before time, Teddy Randazzo joins lauded names such as Randy Newman, Goffin & King, Laura Nyro, Serge Gainsbourg, Penn & Oldham, Bacharach & David, Leonard Cohen and Harry Nilsson in Ace Records’ highly regarded Songwriters series. With sumptuously produced classics such as ‘Goin’ Out Of My Head’, ‘I’m On The Outside (Looking In)’, ‘It’s Gonna Take A Miracle’ and ‘Hurt So Bad’ to his name, few would disagree that Randazzo was one of the finest American songwriters of his time.
Elegant. The word so aptly used in the title of the Randazzo-produced album “The Elegant Sound Of The Royalettes” can be applied equally to the work of the man himself. In the same way a Burt Bacharach number has identifiable characteristics, any song produced, arranged or composed by Teddy Randazzo has a perceptible style. Soft, intimate passages; sweeping orchestrated crescendos; dramatic staccatos; repeated motifs and intensely emotional, relatable lyrics. Even without looking, you know when you’re hearing a Randazzo song. They have elegance.
Having paid his dues as a recording artist in the 50s and early 60s, by 1964 Randazzo had turned his focus to writing songs for others, more often that not in collaboration with co-writers such as Bobby Weinstein, Victoria Pike, Lou Stallman, Bobby Hart and Roger Joyce. It was at Don Costa’s DCP label that the quintessential Teddy Randazzo songwriting, arranging and production style fully emerged. It can be heard clearly on his own stunning DCP recording of ‘You Don’t Need A Heart’, featured here. It was also at DCP that he achieved his greatest chart successes as a writer and producer, when he was assigned to work with Little Anthony & the Imperials – a match made in heaven.
This collection features 25 of Randazzo’s finest songs, performed by Little Anthony & the Imperials, the Royalettes and Derek Martin – the artists with whom he worked most prolifically – and top-tier names such as Esther Phillips, Timi Yuro and Billy Fury. The definitive recordings of Randazzo’s songs are invariably those he also produced, and it’s significant that he did so on most of the tracks here. The few exceptions include superb covers of songs from the Little Anthony catalogue by Dionne Warwick, the Delfonics and Mel Tormé; Frank Sinatra’s wonderful recording of ‘Rain In My Heart’; and ‘Buttercup Days’ by the Kane Triplets, a delicious piece of sunshine pop.
Randazzo’s musical legacy surely speaks for itself, but moreover, in the cut and thrust world of the music business, he seems to have been a genuinely nice guy. Nowhere in print or online can a negative word be found from anyone who ever worked with him. Sheila Ross of the Royalettes, in John Clemente’s book Girl Groups, states, “Working with Teddy was one of the highlights of our career. We simply loved him. He brought out so much in us, musically. In addition, he became our friend. I cannot say enough about him.” Finally, his songwriting partner Bobby Weinstein writes on his website, “Teddy and I clicked like peanut butter and jelly. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss him like crazy. Teddy was a gifted person. The word genius comes to mind. He used to say, ‘To work at something you love is pure freedom.’”
IAN CHAPMAN & MICK PATRICK