top of page



Paul Evans Book.jpg

Paul has had a very successful career in the music business. His name may not immediately jump out at you but his songs have sold millions – literally. Google ‘When‘ by the Kalin Twins or Roses Are Red (My Love) by Bobby Vinton and you’ll know them either as the original recordings, from film soundtracks or latter day covers. He also had hits under his own name, sang in one of America’s successful Jazz Quintets, has written award winning advertising jingles and the original theme for the USA’s TV show CBS This Morning. Want more? He’s part of that illustrious club that wrote songs for Elvis…


Happy Go Lucky Me – A Lifetime Of Music

Q: What was the catalyst for the autobiography Paul?


PE: One of them was covid. That started in March 2020 but before that, I had gotten this phone call from a publisher in the UK to write it. Staying in the house drives me nuts, that’s not my personality. I have to be out there with my friends, my brothers, guys and gals…Guys and Gals? What a fifties expression that is! (laughs) and so because covid was around, I was busy for six months writing it. The book was great for me because I remembered things I had forgotten. My mother saved all the teen magazines I was in and when she passed away she gave them to my wife and so when I was writing the book, she’d say ‘Did you do this?’ and I’d say ‘Oh my god…yeah!’ It was self-realization for the first time that I did good.


Q: One of the things I really like about your autobiography is that it’s written like the title, Happy Go Lucky Me.  There’s no misery, no regrets or hard luck stories in there like most biographies. Is that how you view your life?


PE: Well…ha! No, I’ve been miserable. I have a divorce in my past that was not a good time. You know, I’m a human being but I will never regret the time I spent with music. You’ve read it so you know that when I saw a problem in the area that I was in, I found something else and I think that’s really a good lesson in the book. The music business offers a lot of work and I went from one place to another. They are all available in music but have got to have a real want for it. You can’t really get any place – I don’t think – by laying back and hoping that God treats you to a very nice life.


Q: I fully agree. I’ve been in the business forty years and in various guises. You have to know when the guise you are in is not working anymore and move on. You are a survivor.


PE: Yes, you become a survivor. That’s very true. The music business changes rapidly and you have to adapt. When I got the gig with the Jazz group, I had never sung Jazz and wasn’t a major fan of Jazz but the offer of work was there with these four people who had lost their fifth member, their baritone. I knew all of them from the jingle business, the three girls for example were the busiest in the business. One of them was called the Queen of Jingles, a friend of mine who I gave her first start in the business. If my wife and I wanted to have dinner with her and her husband, it was impossible because she was working all the time and when you work all the time in the jingle area, you do well. Going back to your question about being happy-go-lucky, I was once asked that question by a disc jockey ‘Are you always this way Paul?’ and of course I told him what he wanted to hear. ‘Oh yeah, I am. I’m just a happy-go-lucky guy’. (laughs)


The Brill Building

Q: Thank you for clearing up the confusion about the address of the Brill building…


PE: (laughs)


Q: …1619 Broadway and 1650 Broadway, which was a block and a half away. That had confused me for years.


PE: Well, thank you for reading that! A lot of people would have read that and thought ‘What is he talking about? Who cares?’ but we do care. The Brill Building, that was special. When Don Kirshner came around with all the music, it was a block away and yet I’ve read some stories, Carole King even, she said she worked in the Brill Building. I never understood that except that the name Brill Building meant something. I know when I first started in the business, where did I go? I went to the Brill Building and I’ve been wracking my brain since I wrote the book, how did I know to go there? I wasn’t in the business back then; I was going to college…I have no idea why I knew to go to the Brill Building.


Q: I actually had that question here; how did you know to go to the Brill Building?


PE: I wish I could help you. It tortures me as I had no idea about anything. I heard a Roy Orbison record and thought I’d like to take a stab at writing music. I picked up my guitar and thought ‘I’ll go to the Brill Building’ but I really don’t know why Glenn.


Q: Within the Brill Building, was there a hierarchy there or did everyone look after each other?


PE: No. I’ll compare it to Nashville. In Nashville, they would say ‘Hey, so-and-so is coming up, why don’t you take that stuff over to him’, another writer would say that but in New York, if you could keep a secret, you were well off and most writers didn’t want to talk about something they knew was going on that you might have some luck with. Oh yes, there was definitely a hierarchy in the building. The producers Hugo & Luigi had a place there, Morty Shuman and Doc Pomus were there and I was a schmo when I walked in…‘Who is this guy? Who cares?’…you know, until I had a hit and then I became someone. My back straightened out a little bit and I was now on equal terms with hit-writers; It was a big difference and the publishers all of a sudden took notice of me. ‘We’d love to take you to lunch Paul!’ (laughs)


Songs and Song Writing

Q: In the back of your book you list some of the cover versions of your songs. I found 44 versions of When, 25 versions of I Gotta know and 63 versions of Roses Are Red (My Love). All great hits but have you ever written something that you were certain was a sure-fire hit and went nowhere?


PE: Absolutely! I remember writing a song called Harry’s Harem, a song about a girl in a Harem but she longs for Harry to love her only. I played it for myself the other day and it sounds great! Why did I not get one nibble? Nobody even took it and yet Roses Are Red I wrote in two minutes! Al Byron, my friend and the co-writer walked in the room, pops the lyric on the piano where I was playing a demo of mine – and this is absolutely true – and I read the lyric and said ‘Stop guys, take a five minute break, I’m going to write you a big hit song now’ and I wrote it as you hear the Bobby Vinton record. It took the same amount of time, the same arrangement basically…everything was the same. Then again, I’ve taken a month to write a song. Something bothers me or I want to make it better and then suddenly ‘This is it!’ but nobody else thought so.


Q: To use an artist’s term then, you know when the canvas is finished then.


PE: Sure. You know when the canvas is finished. You can’t go any further and it’s not working and you know it. That’s a terrible feeling. You’ve worked so hard on it, fought with your co-writer on it and nobody likes it at all! Then again, Roses Are Red took two and a half minutes to write. You figure it out because I can’t.


Q: When we were first put in touch, I have to admit I never made the connection between the Paul Evans who sang Seven Little Girls Sitting In The Back Seat and the Paul Evans who sang (and wrote) Hello, This Is Joannie.


PE: Yes! Twenty years almost to the day. The label was a Rhythm & Blues label and I don’t even know why we took it there. They were the first ones we saw and they contracted for it. In England it was a smash but not at home which is really where you want it to be a smash because all your friends are here. Jimmy Wisner, the producer and arranger and I went to Europe, came back with a hit record in the UK, we saw the owners of the label, expected a big hoo-rah but instead they said they had decided to cut me Rhythm & Blues. I had to hold Jimmy back, he wanted to hit them because we had just had a Country hit! It was a country song and that’s what I did best. There was a big disappointment there.



Q: Let’s take a closer look at song writing. The obvious example of Elvis, how did you set out to write the song, I Gotta Know, specifically for Elvis as you state in your book with?


PE: Well first of all I was an Elvis fan so there’s one good reason to write for him. So, I knew his material and I wanted to do something that I thought he would like but that question is good – how did I know what he would like? I didn’t! I sounded a little bit like him on my demos…I know your question, I hear it clearly but I just don’t know how to answer that but we did it. First of all, to do a demo with someone who sounds a bit like him was important. Another thing you had to do was that you had to get to him by going through his publisher because there was no reason for him to take outside songs. As for the demos, I did some demos for other writers on Presley and it was nice to be doing those because as I said, New York was not the friendliest town for writers. When I played the demo for I Gotta Know and played it next to the Presley version I was shocked because they were the same. The same background, the same tempo, the same shoo-be-do-be-doohs. I did those on the demo because I knew The Jordanaires were an important part of his life. I put those together using my home equipment which was very moderate at the time.


Q: In your autobiography you mention that Hill & Range were holding two of your songs, Quiet Desperation and Tender Moments for Elvis when we lost him in August 1977. What’s happened to those songs since?


PE: Nothing. Crazy right? They were good enough to be chosen for Elvis and were being carried to California for the next session. His musicians were going there, I think, from New York and were going to meet in California. He trusted them and he had worked with them all before and the news came over the telecommunications that Elvis had died. The plane turned around. It broke my heart. I was very sorry to see him go but also, come on...those two songs were made for him!



Q: In the UK, right back to the 1950s and the advent of the 45 and even up the end of the 45 in the 1990s, the composers of the A-side and the B-side would receive equal royalties…


PE: Yes because they can’t really prove which side is selling records.


Q: Exactly. Was that the case in the US as well?


PE: Yes. I did some lyrics for a couple of European melodies so they had to mention my name when they mentioned the original writers. ‘New lyric by Paul Evans’ and the publisher would owe me the money. It didn’t matter; the writer is the writer and gets paid for a 45 but you are making me wonder…how did we get paid on albums? I guess we did get paid on them as it included your song. You know, a lot of albums had one hit song on them. There was a hit and then we quickly ran into record the others. I know after I had Seven Little Girls, I ran in basically just to have an album that people could buy but the answer to your question is yes.


Q: Do your hits and other songs you wrote still generate a reasonable income?


PE: No. We were really skunked and the laws have changed and now the fight is with the downloading system. I remember getting my first cheque from Elvis and it was nice at the time but nothing compared to what you can make today. The whole music business has changed for singers. They no longer can get along with lip-syncing, they have to have a dance, how to move but my group, when we came in, we knew nothing so we just stood there. Fabian and Frankie Avalon, they didn’t play the guitar so they just crooned into the microphone. We didn’t have to do anything else but you look at Beyonce, she can sing, she can dance and she can move and if you can’t do all that, I don’t think you can have a hit song today but then there is always one song that will make you wrong when you make a pronouncement like that. (laughs)


Q: My gripe is that many singers these days – and I’ve been in studios when singers actually do this – sing directly into an Autotune module which then, if they are off, pitches them to the correct note. Ok, they can get away with that on a record although personally I can usually hear it but live, when they use autotune units onstage, I have an issue with that. I think it’s cheating their fans.


PE: Yeah, I have an issue with it too. I have taken singing lessons which not too many people do. Me and my wife Susan were in one of the Carolinas and we were doing a Fabian charity show and I warmed up (Paul sings some warm-up phrases). Susan told me that I was the only one who warmed up but I did it so I didn’t have to worry. I wanted to be sure I could sing well on that show. Most Rock ‘n’ Rollers didn’t but I took it very seriously Glenn. I wasn’t always happy-go-lucky me, I was concerned. Jimmy Wisner was my producer for many years and he had a long list of hits with many artists and he said that every singer goes on the stage thinking that this will be the time I am exposed as a faker. Ella Fitzgerald vomited before every performance. I’m sure she had the same feeling; It’s a scary thing to walk on a stage. My wife would say that she would see me walk out on a stage and see I was nervous but then that first note, for whatever song it was, the nerves disappeared and it immediately filled me with confidence. I’ll tell you a story and then come back to this. There was one time that I ran out of the studio because I was faking that I was a producer and I got caught by the two guys from the agency. They couldn’t understand why I could not fix a problem and I honestly think I might have run all the way home if I didn’t see a telephone. I called a producer friend of mine and said ‘If you love me at all, you’ll be right over’ and he gave me some wonderful advice. He said Paul, do you know the engineer?’ I told him I did and he said ‘Well go back to him and tell him the truth and tell him that no matter what you say, ignore it and just do what he feels is right. Tell him you’ll look after him in the future’ and it worked! I became a superstar for this agency because to them, I ran out, thought about it, came back and had all the answers. So you can fake your way into almost anything in the music business except singing and perhaps song writing. Morty Schuman was much younger than Doc Pomus and Doc had been a successful Blues singer and he wanted to get in a younger guy to teach him how to write a song and then because Morty was so much younger than Doc, they could go out and compete with the other writers. Morty did that for Doc and Doc did that for Morty. They were a great team.


Present Day

Q: When you’re in a supermarket or an elevator and you here a muzak version of Roses Are Red, what goes through your head?


PE: First of all. it brings a big smile to my lips (laughs). If I am in an elevator with other people and they happen to sing along, that’s heaven. Seven Little Girls (which I didn’t write) came out in September I think at the end of the beach season and it was great. All the little portable radios that they brought with them, all over the beach, you could hear Seven Little Girls. That was a thrill!


Q: In the elevator though, if people are singing along, aren’t you tempted to say ‘I wrote that.’

PE: I am very tempted but you know, I can’t do that. I have done it in the past but it doesn’t work very well if you are in a hurry because then people want to talk and get your autograph so if you are in a hurry Glenn, don’t ever mention that you wrote the song. (laughs) That’s my advice to young writers.


Q: What other advice would you give a budding songwriter?


PE: First of all, they should go where the people are doing it. The Brill Building is still there but it’s not music anymore so you have to go elsewhere. I gave a symposium once in Idaho and they asked me ‘What do you do with the music?’ and I said to them ‘Guys, you live in Idaho, it’s not going to work for you here’. You have to send songs in. You know the song I Left My Heart In San Francisco that Tony Bennet sang?


Q: Of course.


PE: Well that was a song that was sent in and it was a super smash hit, covered by a lot of different people so it can work but my attitude is that you’ve got to get yourselves to Nashville or California or if you’re writing songs that would interest a black singer, you’ve got to go to Detroit. You’ve got to meet the people. If you see someone singing in a bar, sit down next to him and see if you can catch his eye. My attitude for musicians was the same, go to where the musicians are. How do they find it? I’m not really sure but back then there was a bar called Jim and Andy’s that everybody went to when you wanted a drink. With the jingle business, I would knock on doors and I noticed at one agency there were people coming in and out dressed strange so I went out and bought striped pants and checkboard shirt which didn’t match at all and I got work at that agency. It was a look that was supposed to be hip and I took advantage of that.


Q: It goes back to what we were talking about earlier about your willingness to adapt and change to stay in the business.


PE: Oh yeah! You gotta adapt. I’ve always said in interviews when they ask me what does it take to do this that first of all, you have go to have some talent. When I moved onto the Jazz group, even though I was scared to do it, I knew I could sing but you’ve got to have some guts to. You’re going to get turned down at places you go and you’ve got to look around you to see what’s going on.


Q: Paul, this has been a real pleasure for me. It’s not often I have the opportunity to talk to someone who was actually there in those days, thank you.


PE: Glenn, it’s been fun and thank you. If you have any more questions, please feel free to get back to me.


Actually, our chat went on for some time afterwards. Paul has experience in parts of the business we often don’t think about and he has kindly provided a contact address for you should you wish to ask him anything. Don’t be shy!


Paul Evans 


ポール・エヴァンス インタビュー



 ポールは、音楽業界のキャリアにおいて、多大な成功を収めてきた。彼の名前を聞いてピンとこないかもしれないが、彼の楽曲は実に何百万枚ものセールスを記録してきたのだ。カリン・ツウィンズの「When」やボビー・ヴィントンの「Roses Are Red (My Love) 」などは、あなたもオリジナルバージョンやサウンドトラック、後のカバーバージョンで知っていることだろう。彼自身名義のヒット曲もあり、アメリカで成功したジャズ・クインテットの一つで歌っていたし、いくつかの賞に輝いた広告のジングルやアメリカのテレビショー「CBS This Morning」のテーマ曲も書いている。もっと例を挙げようか?エルヴィスに楽曲提供していたあの有名なクラブの一員でもあったのだ。


自伝『Happy Go Lucky Me – A Lifetime Of Music』





Q:自伝で私が気に入ったのは、タイトルの「Happy Go Lucky Me」のように書かれていることなんです。たいていの自伝のような、悲惨のことや後悔、惨めな経験がないんです。そんな人生だったのですか?




PE:ああ、君もサヴァイヴァーだよ。そのとおりだね。音楽業界は目まぐるしく変化するから、それに適応しなきゃならない。私がジャズグループでギグをした時、別にジャズを歌ってたわけでもないし、ジャズファンってこともなかったんだ。でも5人目のバリトン担当のメンバーを失った4人組からのオファーを受けたんだ。例えば三人娘なんて、ジングルの仕事をしていた時の縁でね。その頃の業界では一番売れていたんだ。そのうちの一人はジングルの女王と呼ばれていたんだが、元は私が彼女にきっかけを与えたんだ。私と妻が夫婦で食事をしたいと思っても、彼女がずっと仕事をしていたから無理な状況だった。でもジングルの世界で仕事をしていると、それができるんだ。「Happy Go Lucky Me」についての質問に戻ると、かつてあるDJに「いつもこんな風なの、ポール?」って言われたことがあった。もちろん私は彼の期待通りに答えたよ。「ああ、そうさ。私は幸せな人生を歩む男なんだ。」ってね(笑)。
















Q:本の巻末には、あなたの楽曲のカバーバージョンのリストがあります。「When」は44バージョン、「I Gotta know」は25バージョン、「Roses Are Red (My Love)」は63バージョンもあります。すべて大ヒット曲ですが、絶対ヒットするぞと確信して曲を書いたことはあったのですか?

PE:あるんだよ!「Harry’s Harem」という曲のことを憶えているよ。ハーレムに住む女の子が、恋人のハリーに自分だけを愛してほしいと願う曲なんだ。これを自分で演奏してみたんだが、素晴らしいサウンドだった!なぜ一度も自分でやらなかったのか?誰も受け取ってくれなかった曲だ。「Roses Are Red」は2分で書き上げたんだ!友人で共作者のアル・バイロンが部屋に入って来て、私がよくデモを演奏していた所にあったピアノの上で歌詞を書いたんだ。-本当の話だよ-私はその歌詞を読んで、「ちょっと待って。5分おくれ。大ヒット曲を書くからさ。」と言った。それがボビー・ヴィントンのレコードで聴けるこの曲さ。同じ収録時間、同じアレンジ、すべて同じだった。それから、1ヶ月かけて曲を作ることもあった。何か気になったり、もっと良くしたいと思ったりして、突然「これだ!」って思うんだが、誰もそう思ってくれなかったり。



PE:そうなんだ。完成した時が分かる。もはややることはないし、それ以上やっても無駄なんだ。ひどい気分の時もあるよ。一生懸命作って、共作者と喧嘩して、誰も気に入ってくれないんだもの!それで、「Roses Are Red」は2分半で書き上げた。私ができないのなら、君が解決してくれ、ってね。


Q:最初に聴いた時、正直言って、「Seven Little Girls Sitting In The Back Seat」 を歌ったポール・エヴァンスと、「Hello, This Is Joannie」を歌った(そして書いた)ポール・エヴァンスとが、まったく結びつかなかったんです。



Q:曲作りについて掘り下げましょうか。エルヴィスの例が分かりやすいですが、本の中であなたが述べているように、エルヴィスのために特別に「I Gotta Know」という曲を書こうと思ったのはなぜですか?

PE:まず、私はエルヴィスのファンだったので、エルヴィスのために書くというのは、ひとつの良い理由だったんだ。だから、彼のバックグラウンドは知っていたし、彼が好きそうなものをやりたかったんだけど、この質問はいいね。彼の好みってどうやって知ればいいんだ?で、分からなかったんだよ!私はデモで少し彼のような声を出していた...君の質問の意図は理解するが、どう答えたらいいか分からないな。でもあれを書いたんだ。まず、少しでも似ている人と一緒にデモをすることが重要だった。もう一つは、外部の曲を採用しなきゃならない理由がないので、出版社を経由して彼に近づかなければならなかったことだった。デモに関しては、他の作家のためにプレスリーに関するデモをいくつか作ったんだが、先ほど言ったように、ニューヨークは作家にとってあまりフレンドリーな街ではなかったので、そういうことができたのはよかったと思う。「I Gotta Know」のデモをプレイして、プレスリー版と並べて再生した時、二つが同じだったので衝撃を受けたよ。同じバッキングで、同じテンポで、同じようにシュビッ、ドゥ、ビッ、ドゥッって。ジョーダネアーズが彼の人生にとって重要な存在であることを知っていたから、デモでそれをやったんだ。当時はまだお粗末だった自宅の機材で組み立てたんだよ。


Q:自伝の中で、1977年8月にエルヴィスを失ったとき、ヒル&レンジがあなたの曲「Quiet Desperation」と「Tender Moments」の2曲を預かっていたと書かれていますね。その後、これらの曲はどうなったのでしょうか?

PE:何もない。おかしいだろ?エルヴィスに選ばれるだけの魅力があり、次のセッションのためにカリフォルニアに運ばれていたのに。彼のミュージシャンたちは、ニューヨークから現地に向かい、カリフォルニアで合流する予定だったようだ。彼は彼らを信頼していたし、以前にも一緒に仕事をしたことがあった。そして、エルヴィスが死んだという知らせが通信で流れてきた。 飛行機は引き返した。私の心は引き裂かれたよ。彼が亡くなったのはとても残念だったが、それと同時に...あの2曲は彼のために作られたものだったんだ!って。






PE:ああ。 ヨーロッパのメロディーの歌詞をいくつか書いたので、オリジナルの作家の名前を出す時に私の名前を出さなければならなかったんだ。「新しい歌詞、ポール・エヴァンス」って。出版社は私に債務があったんだ。でもそれは別に問題ではなかった。作家は作家で、45インチでお金を得るから。でも疑問が残るよね?.私たちはどうやってアルバムでお金を得ていたのか?って。曲が入っていれば、お金はもらえたと思う。多くのアルバムには、たいてい1つはヒット曲があるだろう?でもヒット曲があっても、すぐに他の曲の録音に走ってしまう。「Seven Little Girls」を出した後、基本的にはみんなに買ってもらえるようなアルバムを作ろうとしたんだがね。で、君の質問の答えは「イエス」だよ。








Q:スーパーやエレベーターの中で「Roses Are Red」のミュージックが流れてきたら、あなたの頭の中にはどんなことが浮かんでいるのでしょう?

PE:まず、口元がほころびるね(笑)。エレベーターで他の人と一緒になったときに、たまたま一緒に歌ってくれたら、それだけで天国だね。「Seven Little Girls」(私が書いたものではないが)は、確か9月の海水浴シーズンの終わりに発売され、とても売れたと思う。人々が持ってきた小さな携帯ラジオで、浜辺のあちこちから「Seven Little Girls」が聞こえてきたんだ。それはスリル満点だったよ!






PE:まず、人が活動しているところに行くべきだね。ブリル・ビルはまだあるが、もう音楽関係ではないので、他の場所に行くしかないね。アイダホで一度シンポジウムを開いたんだが、「音楽で何をするのですか?」と訊かれたんだ。私は、「君たちはアイダホに住んでいる。ここにいちゃ世界では通用しないぞ。」と言ったんだ。曲を送る必要があるんだ。トニー・ベネットが歌った「I Left My Heart In San Francisco」という曲は知っているかな?













Paul Evans 

Anchor 1
bottom of page