ERVIN M. DRAKE (b 1919 )
Ervin M. Drake was born and educated in New York City. Drake contributed lyrics to two important but very different jazz standards. He and Hans Lengsfelder are credited on the uptempo “Perdido” (1944) written by Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington. He also collaborated with Irene Higginbotham and Dan Fisher on the poignant “Good Morning Heartache” (1945) so closely associated with Billie Holiday.
Drake also wrote lyrics for two imports that enjoyed periods of popularity. “Tico Tico” (1942) was popular in Brazil before Carmen Miranda had a hit with it both on record and film. And the Italian song, “Quando, Quando, Quando,” was featured in the film Rome Adventure (1962).
In 1952 his semi-religious “I Believe,” written with Al Stillman, Jimmy Shirl, and Irvin Graham, became a huge hit. Although recorded by many artists, Frankie Laine’s version enjoyed wide play. “It Was a Very Good Year” (1961), for which Drake wrote both words and music, earned Frank Sinatra a Grammy in 1966.
Drake spent several years writing for television before creating both words and music for the successful Broadway show, What Makes Sammy Run (1964) which had a long run and produced two songs that enjoyed popularity outside the show.
Originally trained as a graphic artist, Drake entered the Julliard School for formal music training in 1963. From 1973-1982 he served as president of the American Guild of Authors and Composers.
-- Sandra Burlingame
Courtesy of JazzStandards.com