Charles Fox (composer)

Charles Ira Fox (born October 30, 1940) is an American composer for film and television. His most heard compositions are probably the "love themes" (the sunshine pop musical backgrounds which accompanied every episode of the 1970s ABC-TV show Love, American Style); the theme song for the late 1970s ABC series The Love Boat; and the dramatic theme music to ABC's Wide World of Sports and the original Monday Night Football; as well as his (and Norman Gimbel's) Grammy-winning hit song "Killing Me Softly With His Song".

Charles Fox
Charles Ira Fox

October 30, 1940 (age 78)
Years active1965-present
Spouse(s)Joan Susan Redman (1962-present)

Early life

Fox was born in New York City, the son of Mollie and Walter Fox,[1] a Jewish immigrant[2] from Szydlowiec, Poland.

While still a student at the High School of Music and Art, Fox studied jazz piano with Lennie Tristano. He then continued his musical education with Nadia Boulanger, first at Fontainebleau and then privately in Paris. Following his return to the United States, he studied electronic music with Vladimir Ussachevsky at Columbia University.[3] He married Joan Susan Redman on September 9, 1962.


His career started by playing the piano for, composing and arranging for artists such as Ray Barretto, Joe Quijano and Tito Puente. He also wrote theme music and arranged for Skitch Henderson and The Tonight Show Orchestra. Fox worked under the banner of Bob Israel's Score Productions where he composed the themes for several Goodson-Todman game shows including NBC's version of the Match Game, the syndicated versions of What's My Line?, and To Tell The Truth, whose lyrics were written by Goodson-Todman director Paul Alter. He co-composed the theme song and all the original scores for Love, American Style, along with Arnold Margolin.[4]

Fox also composed the music for "Killing Me Softly with His Song," featuring lyrics by Norman Gimbel, in 1972. It became an international #1 hit for Roberta Flack in 1973 and again for The Fugees in 1997. The song won the Grammy for Best Song in 1973. Fox & Gimbel later wrote the themes for many films such as The Last American Hero ("I Got a Name", sung by Jim Croce), Foul Play ("Ready to Take a Chance Again", sung by Barry Manilow) and many television series, including The Bugaloos, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley ("Making Our Dreams Come True" sung by Cyndi Grecco), Angie ("Different Worlds" sung by Maureen McGovern), The Paper Chase ("The First Years" sung by Seals and Crofts; Emmy-nominated Best Song), and Wonder Woman. He also wrote "Together Through The Years" along with fellow composer Stephen Geyer for The Hogan Family series, sung by Roberta Flack.

In 1977, Fox composed "Love Boat", the theme to the popular TV series The Love Boat. It had lyrics by Paul Williams, and was sung by Jack Jones until the ninth and final season when Dionne Warwick was featured. The single released by Jack Jones in 1979 peaked at #37 on the Billboard US Adult Contemporary chart.[5]

In February 1981, Fox peaked at #74 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the song, "Seasons". It was co-written and co-produced by Ed Newmark.[6]

In 2010, Fox published his memoirs, Killing Me Softly: My Life in Music.[7]

"The Charles Fox Singers" was the credited name for the group vocalists who performed his compositions on television and movie themes and cues; they were actually The Ron Hicklin Singers.

Film scores

In total Fox has created film scores for over 100 films including:

Awards and honors

  • Fox was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004.
  • BMI Richard Kirk Award For Outstanding Life Achievement
  • Grammy AwardBest Song of the Year - "Killing Me Softly with His Song"
  • New York Film Critics Award – Best Film Song - “I Got a Name”
  • Emmy Winner – Best Score - “Love American Style”
  • Emmy Winner – Best Theme Song - “Love American Style”
  • Emmy Nomination (Four Times) – Best Score, “Love American Style”
  • Emmy Nomination – Best Song, “The Paper Chase”
  • Oscar NominationBest Original Song, “Richard’s Window”/The Other Side of the Mountain
  • Oscar Nomination – Best Song, “Ready to Take a Chance Again”/Foul Play
  • Golden Globe NominationBest Original Score, "The Other Side of the Mountain”
  • Golden Globe Nomination – Best Song, “Richard’s Window”/The Other Side of the Mountain
  • Golden Globe Nomination – Best Song, “Ready to Take a Chance Again”/Foul Play
  • Grammy Nomination – Best Soundtrack for a film, “Nine to Five”
  • Society of Composers and Lyricists, “Ambassador’s Award” for Life Achievement
  • Bronx Walk of Fame, inducted 2008
  • Smithsonian Museum permanent exhibit, inducted 2011


  1. ^ "Charles Fox Biography (1940-)". Retrieved 2012-02-16.
  2. ^ From TV Music to Cantorial Missions, Charles Fox Has Done It all, Jewish Standard Archived January 27, 2013, at
  3. ^ "Charles Fox: Ready to Take a Chance". Retrieved 2016-07-21.
  4. ^ "Love, American Style | A Television Heaven Review". Archived from the original on 2012-02-05. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
  5. ^ "Jack Jones Chart History | Billboard". Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1991). The Billboard Hot 100 Charts: The Eighties (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. Feb. 7, 1981. ISBN 0-89820-079-2.
  7. ^ Fox, Charles (2010). Killing Me Softly: My Life in Music. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810869929. OCLC 678101101.

External links

Girl (Davy Jones song)

"Girl" is the 8th single by British singer/actor Davy Jones, written by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel. It is not Jones' most successful single ("Rainy Jane", peaking at 52 on Billboard Hot 100, number 32 on Cash Box and number 14 in Canada), but his most remembered one, appearing in The Brady Bunch episode "Getting Davy Jones" and again in The Brady Bunch Movie.

Happy Days (TV theme)

"Happy Days" is a song written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox. It is the theme song of the 1970s television series Happy Days. It can be heard during the TV show's opening and closing credits as it runs in perpetual rerun syndication.

The song was first recorded in 1974 by Jim Haas with a group of other session singers for the first two seasons. These versions of the song were used only during the closing credits of Seasons 1 and 2, with an updated version of "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and His Comets used as the opening theme. The song was re-recorded in 1975 with different lyrics for both the opening and closing credits for Seasons 3 through 10. Pratt & McClain released the song as a single in 1976 from their album Pratt & McClain Featuring Happy Days. Bobby Arvon recorded an updated version of the song in 1983 for the opening and closing credits of Season 11, with the same lyrics as the version used for seasons 3-10.

Pratt & McClain's album version of the song, recorded in 1976, peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 7 on the Easy Listening chart, and No. 31 on the UK Singles Chart. In Canada, "Happy Days" reached No. 3.Australian band Silver Studs also recorded a version of the theme for their debut album. It became their biggest hit single in Australia, reaching No. 4 in June 1976.In 2014, a re-recorded version of the song was used in commercials for Target.

I Got a Name (song)

"I Got a Name" is a 1973 single recorded by Jim Croce with lyrics by Norman Gimbel and music by Charles Fox. It was the first single from his album of the same title and also Croce's first posthumous single, released the day after his death in a plane crash on September 20. The song reached a peak of #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 after spending 17 weeks on the chart. It also hit #3 on the Cash Box Top 100."I Got a Name" was also the theme song for the 1973 movie The Last American Hero. It was also featured in the movies The Ice Storm, Invincible, Django Unchained, Logan and The Lego Ninjago Movie.

Killing Me Softly with His Song

"Killing Me Softly with His Song" is a song composed by Charles Fox with lyrics by Norman Gimbel.

The song was written in collaboration with Lori Lieberman, who recorded the song in late 1971. In 1973 it became a number-one hit in the United States and Canada for Roberta Flack, also reaching number six in the UK Singles Chart. The song has been covered by many artists; the version by the Fugees won the 1997 Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

Love Boat (song)

"Love Boat" (also known as "Love Boat Theme" and "The Love Boat") is a 1977 song performed by American singer and actor Jack Jones, used as the theme song in American television series The Love Boat. It was later covered by numerous artists.

Making Our Dreams Come True

"Making Our Dreams Come True" is a 1976 hit single written by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel. It was recorded by "one-hit wonder" Cyndi Grecco. It is the title track of her debut album, used as the theme song to the television sitcom Laverne & Shirley.

"Making Our Dreams Come True" reached number 25 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number 21 on the Cash Box Top 100. The song was a somewhat bigger hit in Canada, where it reached number 16. It spent 16 weeks on the U.S. charts, peaking in early July, and also reached number 13 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Ready to Take a Chance Again

"Ready to Take a Chance Again" is a 1978 international hit single performed by Barry Manilow. The song was composed by Charles Fox, with lyrics by Fox's writing partner, Norman Gimbel. Manilow conceived and supervised the song's recording in partnership with Ron Dante.

It is the theme song of the movie, Foul Play, starring Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase. It is one of two Manilow songs featured in that movie, the other being "Copacabana".

The song recounts the experience of a despairing man who has been hurt by love and therefore has retreated into the safety of an emotional shell. His life then continues on a flat but even keel until he meets someone who causes him to consider taking a chance with love again.

Both the 45 RPM single and the track on Manilow's hit collections are monaural, despite being labeled otherwise. The only source for this song in true stereo is the original Foul Play soundtrack.

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