Acclaimed lyricist with songs in over 70 films

Browse Song Catalog: BMI

Norman Gimbel


Wrote lyrics for "Killing Me Softly" and "Girl From Ipanema"

Norman Gimbel, Lyricist, was born in Brooklyn, New York. He attended Baruch College and Columbia University. His first job in the music business was for music publisher David Blum. His first hit was "Ricochet Romance" in 1953. He later became a contract songwriter for publisher Edwin H. Morris, where he had his first major hit in 1956 with " Canadian Sunset," (with music by Eddie Heywood).

Frank Loesser later signed him to his music company and became his mentor and for three years the two worked closely. Through Loesser, Gimbel met composer Morris (Moose) Charlap with whom he wrote two Broadway musicals, Whoop-Up and The Conquering Hero.

In 1963, Gimbel was introduced by Publisher Lou Levy to a group of Brazilian composers, including Antonio Carlos Jobim, Luiz Bonfa, Carlos Lyra and Baden Powell. He would go on to write English lyrics for many of their songs. Most notably he wrote the English words for "So Nice" (Summer Samba), "Meditation," "How Insensitive," and "The Song of The Sabia." His English lyric for "The Girl From Ipanema" won the Grammy Award for Record of The Year. He would also write English lyrics for Michel Legrand's music for the 1964 film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg; "Watch What Happens" and "I Will Wait For You" ( which was nominated for an Academy Award, original French lyrics by Jacques Demy).

In the fall of 1967, he moved to Hollywood where he became very active in film and television. Among the composers he worked with were Lalo Shifrin, Elmer Bernstein, Bill Conti, Maurice Jarre, Peter Matz, Pat Williams, Michel Colombier, Fred Karlin, Charles Fox (with whom he received two Academy Award Nominations), Jack Elliot, Quincy Jones, Burt Bachrach, Jean Thielamns, Eddy Marnay, Gilbert Becaud and his daughter Nelly Gimbel.

In 1973, Gimbel experienced another great success, winning a Grammy for Song of the Year with Roberta Flack's recording of "Killing Me Softly With His Song" (music by Charles Fox). In 1979 He won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "It Goes Like It Goes" from the film Norma Rae (music by David Shire). Working with Charles Fox, he has written lyrics for of many TV series, including "Happy Days", "Lavern and Shirley", "Angie", "Paper Chase," "Lifestyles of The Rich and Famous" and "Wonder Woman". His movie song-scores include "The Phantom Tollbooth," "A Troll In Central Park," "Arabian Night," "Lady And The Tramp II," and "Where's Poppa?"

His songs have appeared in over seventy motion pictures.

Penned lyrics to top TV shows like "Happy Days" and "Laverne and Shirley"