Nobody Did It Better: Marvin Hamlisch, 1944-2012

 

Introduced as “Marvin Hammelschmisch” by Cher at the Academy Awards sometime in the 1980s, composer Marvin Hamlisch deserves to be more famous. The Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Golden Globe and Tony award winner died yesterday after a career few could match. Above all, his work for the cinema should be celebrated; he turned Scott Joplin’s ragtime music into a perfect accompaniment for The Sting (1973), and wrote music for The Way We WereOrdinary People and Sophie’s Choice, among many others. His last movie became Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant! (2009).

Most people will say that “The Way We Were” is their favorite Hamlisch tune. I have another. One of his least noteworthy scores is for a James Bond movie, The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), but the song he wrote for the title sequence together with his then-girlfriend Carole Bayer Sager was truly something else. In the clip above, Carly Simon performs a live version of the brilliant “Nobody Does It Better”.

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