George David Weiss
George David Weiss (9 April 1921, New York – 23 August 2010, Oldwick, N.J.) was an American songwriter and former president of the Songwriters Guild of America.
Weiss originally planned a career as a lawyer or accountant, but out of a love for music he was led to attend the Juilliard School of Music, developing his skills in writing and arranging. After leaving school, he became an arranger for such big bands as those of Stan Kenton, Vincent Lopez, and Johnny Richards.
He was a very prolific songwriter during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, with many of his songs attaining high rankings on the charts. Although he worked with many collaborators, the largest proportion of his well-known songs were written with Bennie Benjamin. Weiss contributed to a number of film scores: Murder, Inc. (1960), Gidget Goes to Rome (1953), Mediterranean Holiday (1964), and Mademoiselle (1966).
Collaborations on three Broadway musicals were among his compositions. Mr. Wonderful was written in 1956 with Jerry Bock and Larry Holofcener. The Broadway production starred Sammy Davis, Jr. First Impressions was based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. It was written in 1959, with Bo Goldman and Glenn Paxton. Maggie Flynn was written in 1968, with Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore. It was set in New York during the American Civil War, and the Broadway production starred Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy. Weiss wrote the lyrics for the Jazz standard Lullaby of Birdland, which became a huge hit for Ella Fitzgerald, and The Lion Sleeps Tonight, to a melody by Solomon Linda. In 1984 Weiss was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Works for Winds
- Can't Help Falling in Love
- Lion Sleeps Tonight, The
- What a Wonderful World (arr. Saucedo) (1967/1999)
- What a Wonderful World (arr. Lopez) (1967/1999)