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Kal Mann (May 6, 1917 – November 28, 2001) was an American lyricist. He is best known for penning the words to Elvis Presley’s “Teddy Bear“, plus “Butterfly“, a hit for both Charlie Gracie and Andy Williams, and “Let’s Twist Again“, sung by Chubby Checker, which won the Grammy for best Pop Song the year it was released.
Born Kalman Cohen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mann began his career in entertainment as a comedy writer for Danny Thomas and Red Buttons, until his friend and songwriter, Bernie Lowe, encouraged him to try writing lyrics for the music industry. Mann co-wrote songs with Lowe and Dave Appell, yielding a number of major rock and roll hits such as Charlie Gracie’s “Butterfly,” which sold more than two million copies and also become a million seller for the crooner, Andy Williams, and also a minor hit for Bob Carroll, whose cover version peaked at #61. In addition he co-wrote Elvis Presley’s “Teddy Bear,” Bobby Rydell’s “Wild One” and “The Cha-Cha-Cha“, and Chubby Checker’s “Let’s Twist Again” and “Limbo Rock.” Mann wrote a number of songs for Checker, including “Popeye (The Hitchhiker)” and “Slow Twistin’” plus Pat Boone’s “Remember You’re Mine“, and the much covered “You Can’t Sit Down“.
“Fabulous“, another Charlie Gracie track (and in 1999 covered by Paul McCartney) sold nearly one million copies upon release.
Some songs such as “Limbo Rock” were credited under the pseudonym of Jon Sheldon.
Mann and Lowe teamed up to form Cameo-Parkway Records in 1956.
Kal Mann died in 2001 from Alzheimer’s disease, at the age of 84. […]
[…] In collaboration with composer Dave Appell, Mr. Mann wrote such songs as “South Street,” “Let’s Twist Again, “Bristol Stomp,” “Wild One” and “Wah-Watusi” for legendary Cameo-Parkway Records in South Philadelphia, cofounded in 1956 by Mr. Mann and Bernie Lowe. Those songs were recorded by entertainers who became household names in no small part because of them: the Orlons, Dee Dee Sharp, and Bobby Rydell, to name a few.
“Kal Mann was responsible for the dance crazes of the late ’50s and early ’60s that swept the Philadelphia region and wound up becoming the rage nationally through Dick Clark and American Bandstand,” said Jerry Blavat.
Mr. Mann, a native of West Philadelphia whose real name was Kalman Cohen, began writing lyrics at a time when baby boomers were buying their first tubes of Clearasil. They formed a huge market, and the loved rock and roll.
“Kal Mann was in the right place at the right time with the right talent,” said Kal Rudman, publisher of the Cherry Hill-based radio- and record-industry publication Friday Morning Quarterback. “He is an absolute icon of the industry. He had a run of hit songs equal to anybody’s.” […]
Last updated on September 10, 2017