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Paul Williams
Born September 19, 1940 (1940-09-19) (age 69)
Omaha, Nebraska
Genres Folk, Pop Folk, Pop,
Occupations Singer-songwriter, actor, writer, humanitarian
Instruments Vocals, guitar, keyboards

Paul Hamilton Williams, Jr.[1] (born September 19, 1940) is an American musician, composer, songwriter and actor.


Musical career

Williams is responsible for a number of enduring pop hits from the 1970s, including a number of hits for Three Dog Night (including An Old Fashioned Love Song, "The Family of Man", and "Out in the Country"), Helen Reddy ("You and Me Against the World"), and The Carpenters, most notably "Rainy Days and Mondays," "I Won't Last a Day Without You," and "We've Only Just Begun", which has since become a cover-band standard and de rigueur for weddings throughout North America. An early collaboration with Roger Nichols, "Someday Man", was covered by The Monkees (a group for which he auditioned but was not cast)[2] on a 1969 single, and was the first Monkees' release not published by Screen Gems.

A frequent cowriter of Williams was musician Kenneth Ascher; their songs together included the popular children's favorite "The Rainbow Connection", sung by Kermit the Frog in The Muppet Movie. Most recently, he collaborated with Scissor Sisters on their second album, Ta-Dah.

Williams has worked on the music of a number of films, including writing and singing on Phantom of the Paradise (in which he also starred) and Bugsy Malone. He wrote the music for a musical production of Happy Days that debuted in 2007.[3]

He is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame,[4] and his songs have been performed by both pop and country music artists. He has won one Academy Award for best song (Evergreen) from A Star Is Born (co-written by the artist who performed it, Barbra Streisand) and has been nominated for several others.[5]

In April, 2009, Paul was elected President and Chairman of ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers).[6]

Film and television career

Although predominantly known for his music, Paul Williams is also an actor, appearing in films and many television guest appearances, notably as the Faustian record producer Swan in the cult film Phantom of the Paradise (for which he also wrote the songs), a rock and roll remake of Phantom of the Opera, and as Virgil, the genius orangutan in Battle for the Planet of the Apes. His most recognizable role is "Little Enos Burdette" in Smokey and the Bandit. He also played Miguelito Loveless Jr. in The Wild Wild West Revisited, a reunion movie of the original Wild Wild West, and played himself, singing a song to Felix Unger's daughter Edna, in "The Odd Couple."

After appearing on The Muppet Show, Williams worked closely with Jim Henson's Henson Productions on The Muppet Movie, most specifically on the soundtrack, and even had a cameo in the movie as the piano player in the nightclub where Kermit the Frog meets Fozzie Bear.

Williams has appeared in many small roles. He provided the voice of The Penguin in Batman:The Animated Series. He had a role in Star Trek: Voyager as Prelate Koru of the Qomar Planetary Alliance, a race technologically superior to the Federation but lacking musical ability, and also appeared on an episode of Walker: Texas Ranger as a radio DJ covering a modern day Bonnie and Clyde pursued by Walker . He recently appeared in 2009 in an episode of Nickelodeon's children's show, "Yo Gabba Gabba!", entitled Weather, where he performed "The Rainbow Connection". He has also appeared on Cartoon Network's "Dexter's Laboratory" where he played Professor Williams in an episode entitled "Just An Old Fashioned Lab Song".

He made numerous television appearances in the 1970s and 1980s, including guest appearances on Hawaii Five-O, Match Game '79, The Love Boat, The Hardy Boys, The Odd Couple (as himself), The Muppet Show, The Fall Guy, and The Gong Show. He has also guest-starred in the Babylon 5 episode "Acts of Sacrifice" (Season 2 Episode 12) as Taq, the aide to Correlilmurzon, an alien ambassador whose species finalizes treaties and agreements by having sex with the other signees. In a bit of subtle irony, Williams also appeared in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Virtuoso" as the leader of a planet that has never heard music before. Williams appeared on an episode of Picket Fences as the brother of the just deceased Ginny Weedon (Zelda Rubinstein). He starred as Ferdinand the Bull in a musical 1/2 hour TV production of the same name written by the Sherman Brothers.

In October 1980 he was host of the Mickey Mouse Club 25th Anniversary Special on NBC-TV. He stated that he tried out for the show in early 1955 and was turned down.

Personal life

Williams was born in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of Bertha Mae (née Burnside), a homemaker, and Paul Hamilton Williams, an architectural engineer.[1] He is married to writer Mariana Williams, and has two children, Sarah and Cole. His brothers are the late John Williams, a NASA rocket scientist, and Mentor Williams (fiancé of country legend Lynn Anderson), a successful songwriter in his own right who penned Dobie Gray's 1973 hit, "Drift Away."

Williams has been active in the field of recovery from addictions.

Songwriter career



Notable recordings

  • "(Just An) Old Fashioned Love Song" (from "An Old Fashioned Love Song" [1971])
  • "Bitter Honey" (from "The Holy Mackerel" [1969])
  • "Don't Call It Love" (from "Ordinary Fool" [1975])
  • "Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)" (from "Classics" [1977])
  • "The Family of Man" (from "A Little Bit Of Love" [1974])
  • "Faust" (from "Phantom of the Paradise" [1974])
  • "Flash" (from "Ordinary Fool" [1975])
  • "For Goodness Sake" (from "A Little On The Windy Side" [1979])
  • "The Hell of It" (from "Phantom of the Paradise" [1974])
  • "Here's Another Fine Mess" (from "A Little On The Windy Side" [1979])
  • "If We Could Still Be Friends" (from "Here Comes Inspiration" [1974])
  • "I Won't Last a Day Without You" (from "Life Goes On" [1972])
  • "Let Me Be the One" (from "An Old Fashioned Love Song" [1971])
  • "A Little Bit of Love" (from "A Little Bit Of Love" [1974])
  • "Loneliness" (from "A Little Bit Of Love" [1974])
  • "Ordinary Fool" (from "Ordinary Fool" [1975])
  • "Out in the Country" (from "Life Goes On" [1972])
  • "Rainy Days and Mondays" (from "Here Comes Inspiration" [1974])
  • "Sad Song (That Used to Be Our Song)"
  • "Save Me a Dream" (from "A Little on the Windy Side" [1979])*
  • "Someday Man" (from "Someday Man" [1970])
  • "To Put Up with You" (from "Someday Man" [1970])
  • "Trust" (from "Someday Man" [1970])
  • "Waking Up Alone" (from "Classics" [1977])
  • "We've Only Just Begun" (from "An Old Fashioned Love Song" [1971])
  • "When I Was All Alone" (from "An Old Fashioned Love Song" [1971])
  • "You and Me Against the World"(from "Here Comes Inspiration" [1974])

Notable songs

Film music

Theatre music

Acting career



  • Under the Sycamore Tree
  • Tru on Broadway, 1989



External links

Preceded by
Danny DeVito
Actors to portray the Penguin
Succeeded by
David Ogden Stiers (voice only)


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

We've only just begun.

Paul Hamilton Williams (born 19 September 1940) is an American musician, composer, songwriter and actor.



  • Before the rising sun we fly,
    So many roads to choose
    We start out walking and learn to run.
    • "We've Only Just Begun" (1970)
  • Sharing horizons that are new to us,
    Watching the signs along the way,
    Talking it over just the two of us,
    Working together day to day
    • "We've Only Just Begun" (1970)
  • So much of life ahead
    We'll find a place where there's room to grow,
    And yes, we've just begun.
    • "We've Only Just Begun" (1970)
  • Why are there so many songs about rainbows
    And what's on the other side?

    Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
    And rainbows have nothing to hide.
    So we've been told and some choose to believe it
    I know they're wrong, wait and see.
    Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection,
    The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Phantom of the Paradise (1974)

  • Our love is an old love, baby.
    It's older than all our years.

    I have seen in strange young eyes
    Familiar tears.
  • We're old souls in a new life baby.
    They gave us a new life
    To live and learn.
    • "Old Souls"
  • Our paths have crossed and parted,
    This love affair was started
    Long, long ago.

    This love survives the ages
    In its story lives are pages
    Fill them up, may ours turn slow.
    • "Old Souls"
  • Our love is a strong love, baby.
    We give it all
    And still receive.
    • "Old Souls"
  • All souls last forever
    So we need never fear goodbye.
    • "Old Souls"
  • In time, we kiss — hello!
    • "Old Souls"

Songfacts interview (2007)

Songfacts Interview
  • The best part of being a songwriter — beyond being able to make a living at it — is what I call the "heart payment" of a song. That's when somebody comes up after a concert and says, "My mom was a single mom, and 'You And Me Against The World' was a really important song to us." Or "We got married to 'We've Only Just Begun'" or 'Evergreen.' Or "'I Won't Last A Day Without You' got me through some hard times.'" That's heart payment for a songwriter.
  • I think the trick for any songwriter is authenticity. For the young songwriter coming up who is connected to his generation, as I was connected to mine, write honestly about what's going on in the center of your life. You know, when "We've Only Just Begun" was a Number 1 record, I think the Number 1 album in the country was "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." So it was as far away from what was happening in the music scene as you can get. And yet it was a hit. I think it was a hit because of, obviously, Karen [Carpenter]'s amazing vocal, but I think that any time we write authentically and honestly about what's going on in the center of our chest, because people are so much alike, there's a big a chance that it's going on in the center of your chest, too.
  • Relating to the specifics of relationships, and writing love songs, I tapped into something that seemed to work for my generation. I love the fact that some of the songs continue to survive, but I think that there's a window of opportunity for a time when you really, really relate to your generation. And I think a lot of us pass through that as songwriters.

External links

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Simple English

[[File:‎|thumb|right|Paul Williams (center) in 1976]] Paul Hamilton Williams (born September 19, 1940 in Omaha, Nebraska) is an American musician, songwriter and actor.

As a boy, Williams auditioned for a role in a television series, Circus Boy, which went to another boy, young Micky Dolenz. Ten years later, Williams auditioned for The Monkees, and was again beaten out for a role by Dolenz. There were no hard feelings between the two, and the Monkees later recorded "Someday Man", which Williams cowrote with Roger Nichols.

Williams's songs include hits for Three Dog Night ("An Old Fashioned Love Song", "Family of Man", "Out in the Country"), Helen Reddy ("You and Me Against the World"), and the Carpenters ("Rainy Days and Mondays," "I Won't Last a Day Without You," and "We've Only Just Begun"). He wrote many songs with Kenneth Ascher, including "The Rainbow Connection", featured in The Muppet Movie.

His acting credits include roles in Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Phantom of the Paradise (a retelling of Phantom of the Opera; Williams also wrote the music), Little Enos Burdette in Smokey and the Bandit, and Miguelito Loveless Jr. in The Wild Wild West Revisited.

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