November 26, 2008

alangordon_piano3247bbALAN GORDON  4/22/44 – 11/22/08

“Happy Together” and “Celebrate” were only two of his musical calling cards. He was one of the songwriters, who along with his partner Gary Bonner, helped define the sound of the ’60s. At a time when most recording artists were starting to write most of their own material, Alan came along with finely tuned well crafted songs that gave artists who didn’t write, an edge on the competition.

Although we both had offices at 1650 Broadway and had a nodding acquaintance on the the elevator, we never officially met. Maybe it was because he beat me out so often by getting his songs recorded by the top artists, that I felt intimidated by him.

It was only when I met him online at Spectropop, did I realize what a good guy he was. While I was fighting to overcome my physical limitations and was unable to use my hands to play an instrument, for years Alan encouraged me not to give up. When I turned my attention to writing lyrics, something I felt I could do, Alan was always there to offer a suggestion or two.

When I was starting to blog and would bitch about how long it would take me to type one page using one finger (sometimes up to 8 hours) Alan said I’ll get faster and write better the more I work at it. He was right.

If I’m thankful for anything this Thanksgiving it’s having known such a talented and inspiring man.

Alan Gordon R.I.P. Rock In Perpetuity!

Your Friend, Artie Wayne                                                                                

From my forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song”
Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne





  1. Laura Says:

    I’m shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of such a kind and talented man … what a tragedy to lose one of the premier songwriters of our generation, especially this close to the holidays. Alan Gordon was not only a gifted composer, he was also a very nice person. I’d had a few emails back and forth with him at one point and found him to be a very pleasant guy. He will be missed.


  2. Mark Wirtz Says:

    I am deeply saddened by Alan’s passing…

    At a time when music and its creators turned introspective and often pessimistically self-absorbed, Alan and his work carried a timeless radiance of joy and celebration – even his ballads revealed a subtext of hope and faith. More than a song crafter, Alan was a genuine entertainer.

    I never met Alan in person, but we had many online- and telephone dialogues, not only in a spirit of mutual respect and regard as colleagues, but as friends.

    Without a doubt, Alan’s music will always live on. Regardless of the mood we might be in, it is impossible to hear “Happy Together” and not be enchanted and smile.

    Adieu, my dear musical friend — you made a difference!

    Mark Wirtz

  3. John Madara Says:

    Dear Artie, I only met Alan once,and had a great conversation abut
    the music of the sixties. He was a real nice man,and a great songwriter. He will be missed.

  4. Happy Together has been “our song” since it was released. Decades later, my wife and I were dragged on stage when our congregation (I was the pastor) celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. Suddenly, our love song became a fitting conclusion to the message of our church, the words of Jesus to love one another as God has loved us through him.

    Thank you Alan,

    Phil & Carol

  5. Tom Diehl Says:

    I was fortunate to have met Alan through the Spectropop site, when I was just 19 years old. I had sent Alan an email in response to one of his posts and introduced myself to him. I will never forget his reply, which was “when I was your age, I wrote Happy Together. What have you done?” I thought that was quite funny while at the same time being slightly insulting, but I knew he meant it as a joke, and his words really did inspire me to try to do something more with my life. He and i would email back and forth periodically until his health no longer permitted him to be able to respond, and he was always the nicest person that God could’ve put onto this earth, and he will be deeply missed. I had actually been thinking of him a lot recently, and now i know why. R.I.P. Alan, you will be deeply missed.

  6. Bob Hanes Says:

    So sad. Gone far too soon. What immense joy and wonder Alan brought into our lives with his music!!
    A true GIANT!

  7. I’ve been so saddened to know about the passing of Alan, a few minutes ago when I came back home.

    I had the fortune of knowing him through Spectropop and exchanged some emails being myself a musician. And so, I had the chance to know that, besides a great musician and songwriter, he was such a kind and deep feeling man.

    After sending him my latest album he asked me to write some spanish lyrics to a couple of his songs which he felt would fit, which I duly did feeling so honoured by his request.

    He liked a lot the demos I sent him and told me he wouldn’t give up until he could find someone to release these two songs. I’m sure he did his best.

    It was already some time ago since I last knew from him… just to find out why just a moment ago.

    I feel so honoured and proud to be one of his latest collaborators, and my sincere and deep admiration will go on forever.

    Bye Alan. You will always live in our hearts through your music.

    Miguel Angel Villanueva

  8. Country Paul Says:

    Very sad to hear this, Artie. I spoke with Alan a year or so ago, as well as exchanging several e-mails. We were going to try to get in touch and meet when I was out visiting my in-laws in Prescott and Phoenix, AZ (he lived in Carefree). However, the family has been coming east, so Alan and I never got to meet save by phone. He was a really nice person, not to mention incredibly talented. He mentioned that he was still writing songs, and had dozens of demos around. Unless his family chooses to, we’ll probably never hear them, but I’ll bet there are some gems in that group! I should mention that “Me About You,” another Bonner-Gordon collaboration, is one of my all-time favorite songs, Garry Bonner’s own version is my preferred one, but like the best compositions, it’s a hard song to kill. I’ll bet even Mrs. Miller could have pulled it off!

    I’m grateful to know people like Alan, and you, and the rest of the Spectropopulation who have opened so many window and doors into places I’ve always wanted to visit!

    All the best always,
    Country Paul

  9. Clark Besch Says:

    Artie, it is great you have a forum for fans to speak about Alan. Alan was diagnosed with a cancer around this time two years ago. He was down at first, but quickly became happy again even with chemo treatments. We exchanged emails and Christmas cards and tapes the past 3 years. He had a “22 minute comic monologue recorded last June, (2004). It`s about the B.S. artist`s I would run into at the Brill Building and 1650 Broadway.” It was funny and he did almost all the voices on it. He had written another one last year and had hoped he could get them on a CD one day along with some of his “funny” songs.
    Some may know that his 1965/6 group, the Magicians, had a documentary made about them in 65. I told Alan when he commented about “the song being not fast enough” in rehearsals, it must have given Tom hanks an idea for the early part in “That Thing You Do!” where the drummer says the song is too slow also. Alan was a drummer too!
    Last year, he was happy because “Happy Together” had been put in the Grammy Hall of fame for songs. He told me he was happiest that his songs (according to BMI) had been performed 16 million times.
    I last emailed with him 2 months ago while working on a 5 man Electrical Band reissue that had one of his songs on it. He told me all about writing it.
    Anyway, he was just a very nice man who told me every time after his diagnosis, that he kept every day precious and always thanked me, like I was someone special!! I will miss his friendship! Thanks for asking! Clark

  10. Andrew C. Jones Says:

    I’ve already left my tribute on the S’pop message board, but I’ll say it again – I’ll always be grateful I had a chance to communicate with this writer of so much of my life’s soundtrack.

  11. Garry Bonner Says:

    God bless you Artie, Alan was a man of true greatness. We were all blessed to know him

    Garry Bonner

  12. Mark Volman Says:

    What a sad day it was yesterday
    I spoke for the first time to Alan’s wife Annette and son Christian
    since Alan’s death

    Plans are in the works for a small service and I know it hits you as it did me
    Having been a friend since 1967 with Alan
    I have been in touch through out his illness.

    He was a pillar of strength till the final 2 weeks and as he slipped so quickly
    They knew that the change was not for the good
    Thank you Artie for your kind words and I know your memories of Alan are something you will live with forever
    He was like that
    He made you see the best in life and yourself
    I loved him and I will miss his laugh
    It was infectious
    I am so proud that he and I are linked by the common bond we both loved
    his songs
    his words and
    his spirit
    May God bless us all
    in the memory of the bright light that he was

    Mark Volman

  13. I am sure that all of us who have gotten to know Alan, to one
    extent or another, over the years would agree that to know
    him was to love him. He truly was a special cat, who
    combined the streetwise edge and humor of a native New Yorker
    with the positive energy of a survivor of the ’60s and the
    wisdom and grace of a great sage. Add to that his vast talents
    as a musician and songwriter, and you’ve got one severely magnificent dude, whom I will miss terribly.

    My sincere condolences to his wife, Annette, his son Christian
    and Christian’s family. This hurts a lot.

    –Phil Milstein

  14. Marva Holiday Says:

    Hi Artie, Thanks for doing this. — I did not know Alan personally so I looked up his discography and saw a lot of songs I was familiar with. — He was awesomely talented and, from the above photo, it looks like he had a smile that truly lit up the world. —

    “Happy Together” is a song that still brings a smile to my face, when I hear it.

    Marva Holiday

  15. Jerry and Claire Goldstein Says:

    Hi Artie,
    His life and songs well be in our hearts forever.
    Thanks for keeping everyone in touch with each other.
    Our best,

    Goldstein Family

  16. Christian Gordon Says:

    Hi Artie: I just wanted you to know that your tribute was deeply touching. As a father,songwriter and, most of all, human being, I can tell you first-hand, there was no one like Alan Gordon.

    When I feel blue, all I have to do is think of Alan, his smile, his warmth and gentle demeanor – and then I smile – and it’s a big smile.

    As a contemporary of his and someone with the talent that you have, your words mean a great deal.

    You have a wonderful website, chock full of really great information for everyone including those of us who are children of that era.

    I thank you for such a nice tribute. Somewhere, in a very special place, Pop thanks you too.

    Christian Gordon

  17. Janet Oseroff and Don Rubin Says:

    For Immediate Release

    One of the music industry’s most legendary and beloved songwriters, Alan Gordon, has died.

    While Gordon is best known for writing The Turtles’ infectious pop anthem “Happy Together” and their chart toppers “She’d Rather Be With Me,” “You Know What I Mean,” “She’s My Girl,” and ”Three Dog Night’s “Celebrate” with long time writing partner Garry Bonner, and his solo written magnificent “My Heart Belongs To Me” for Barbara Streisand, he has written for many others. Recording artists as diverse as Bobby Darin, Alice Cooper, The Righteous Brothers, Gene Pitney, Petula Clark, Joe Walsh, Helen Reddy, Cher and Gregg Allman, Tammy Wynette and Freddy Fender, Judy Collins, Jackie DeShannon, Captain and Tennille, Ronnie Spector, Lou Rawls, Mel Torme Simple Plan and Frank Zappa have recorded Alan Gordon penned songs generating over 100 million in record sales, 17 million performances in the U.S. and millions more worldwide.

    The 1967 released “Happy Together”, which followed the Beatles’ ”Penny Lane” into the #1 slot for three weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, was named one of the Top 50 songs of the 20th Century by BMI, having generated over 5 million performances on American radio by 1999, placing it in the same league as The Beatles “Yesterday” and “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel.

    Songs from Alan Gordon’s distinguished 300 song catalogue have been featured in film, television, commercials and video games. Just a few of the many films that featured Gordon penned songs include The Naked Gun, Muriel’s Wedding, Shrek, The Simpsons Movie, 27 Dresses, Adaptation, Freaky Friday. Television shows include The Simpsons, That 70s Show, ER, Scrubs, The Wonder Years and American Idol. Commercials include Coldwell Banker, Golden Grahams, Florida Orange Juice, Burger King with video games as Super Smash Brothers, Saturn, Toyota, Applebees, Heineken, LG Cell Phones – and so many more.

    From his longtime writing partner Garry Bonner, “Alan was one of the brightest lights that this world ever had and he still is – and his music will live on. We in the music business were so lucky to know such a person, a real man of such joy and greatness.”

    And from Howard Kaylan of The Turtles, “This week, while the nation is giving thanks for the blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon our humble species, I will be giving thanks for the privilege of knowing Alan Gordon for the past forty-one years. Alan was and IS everything that is RIGHT with the world…kind and loving; compassionate and wise beyond his years. He will never have an equal. No one will ever take his place. I miss him dearly.”

    From his longtime music publishers, Charles Koppelman, “One of a kind, heart and soul, irreplaceable” and Don Rubin, “Alan was a warm, funny, talented high soul who will be greatly missed by friends, family and colleagues.”

    Alan Lee Gordon died on Saturday, November 22 after a valiant two year battle with cancer. He leaves his adored wife Annette, son Christian, daughter-in-law Giovanna and grandchild Joshua.

    He was a person of pure shining joy to all who knew him, and as one of his songs said, “I got the feeling the feelings gone, my heart has gone to sleep, one of these mornings I’ll be gone, my heart belongs to me.”

    As Alan Gordon wisely said, “As long as there’s an April, a girl and a boy, there will always be music and I’ll be around.”

    By Janet Oseroff and Don Rubin in tribute to Alan Gordon

  18. Thanks for that news, Artie – as awful as it is. I remember Alan so fondly …he just plain had music pouring out of his being! I did an lp with him in the late 70s – Jack Nietzsche produced, Schwartzberg on drums, Shaffer on keys …will always be an incredible set of memories.

    Best to ya …and take care


  19. Mark Wirtz Says:


    Further to my previous post:

    As recently as 2006, I brought Alan and Spyderbaby’s Rob Stride together to write the title track for Spyderbaby’s “Glassblower” album, which I produced with the band. The resulting song has not only been consistently in the top 5 of my most popular downloads on iTunes in 20 countries, but demonstrates that Alan had not lost the vitality and spark that so distinguished him decades ago. For those of you who are interested, I have posted “Glassblower” on my MySpace music player at .

    Mark Wirtz

  20. Alan, you made so many of us happy…we love the music you penned with Garry and the others. It was truly a treat to actually make your acquaintance through the magic of a wonderful site like Spectropop! I already thanked you on there but THANK YOU once more for e-mailing the lyrics to “Coney Island Sally” as recorded by the 5th Estate–Wayne Wadhams and the gang, one of my favorites. R.I.P. but your groovy far-out tunes rock on and on and on!!! Love, Bobster

  21. Peter Sando Says:

    I am deeply saddened by the passing of Alan Gordon, and I treasure the many special memories. From the Night Owl Café to the uptown studios, I was privileged to cross musical paths with the man.

    Working with Alan was so much fun, his imagination constantly flowing, bursting with new melodies and ideas. There was never a feeling of pressure, as he always evoked a steady stream of his own brand of hilarity that kept everyone in his presence laughing ‘til we cried. He was blessed with an awesome creative energy that filled the room. I can see him now, when he and Garry would present a new song- slapping, clapping and tapping his feet in rhythm, singing the hooky harmonies and horn parts that would eventually endow a hit record. It was amazing.

    I’ll always be grateful for his friendship, inspiration, and encouragement. There are so many songs of love and laughter that he leaves us with…but at this moment I recall the more obscure and reflective ones; Amazing Air, The Cat in The Window, Whatever Happened To Happy?… Alan, I’m singing along…

    Peter Sando

  22. Two hours ago, 10 days after his passing, I learned that Alan Gordon has left this world. It makes me very, very sad. I knew that he had cancer, but hoped he would survive.
    I have never met Alan, but had been in contact with him through e-mail since 2003, although the last contact was at the beginning of 2008, sending him and his family the best of wishes for the new year.

    I remember collecting records from the Sixties, looking for songs written by the songwriting duo Bonner/Gordon. That’s where my love for his music started.

    I am very sad, and my thoughts go out to his family and friends. My Bonner-Gordon tribute page ( will stay online, in honor of a fine person and a great songwriter. Alan, rest in peace.

  23. Dick Wagner Says:

    Artie…we don’t know each other, but thank you for this space to speak of Alan. Alan and I were close friends and co-wrote on several songs in the last 3 years here in the Phoenix area. Alan recomended me as producer for a project here back in 2005, and so I came out to see him and begin writing with him that spring. Because of our new friendship, my wife and I moved to Scottsdale…to be closer to Alan and to make music together. We spent many many days and nights writing and laughing like crazy people. Alan had a laugh that could only be described as totally infectous…his friendship and partnership truly made my life better and happier than ever before. I will miss the man, and love him forever. I never beleived he would actually pass…he was like an immortal.

    Goodbye old friend
    May you bring peace and joy to heaven

    Dick Wagner

  24. Pam Pare' Says:

    Dear Artie,& Friends,

    I remember Alan. I had the privilage of knowing Alan when we were kids. His half sister and I were close friends and lived across from each other. Alan would come to visit frequently, and even spent one school year while living with her. I recall that he had an ascerbic wit, and was very smart. He would almost constantly drum his fingers on a table, or some such surface. We used to play games, specifically card games at his house.

    My brother, who often hung out with him, remembers how Alan used to try and get him to harmonize with him on do-wop 50’s music while walking around town (they were two young to drive). He was in my brother’s class at school, and would frequently drum his pencils on his desk. The teacher never made an issue of it, so that way, got it under control.

    One memory I have is when the preacher’s wife (a very emotional, expressive woman) came to the house to visit, Alan put catsup on his hand and pretended that he’d cut himself. She went nuts trying to stop the “bleeding.” We all had a good laugh. That was the way he was and that’s how I remember him. Unfortunately, we lost contact when I left for college.
    I heard of his illness and passing through his sister, with whom I still do remain in contact.

  25. Michael Mazzarella Says:

    Alan, thank you for you. My ears have been blessed to hear your music. “She’d Rather Be With Me” is still a song I will always aspire to create. I am your student. Thank you for being a great teacher, friend and inspiration. I miss you already. Tell The Mick I say hello. Yanks in ’09!

  26. Jan McGuire Says:

    Thank you for this heart felt tribute, Artie. I had no idea until tonite that Alan had slipped away. This photo you’ve posted here brought an instant smile to my face….it’s so full of life and reminded me of my favorite Alan Gordon line…it was in a restaurant about half way through the meal when pretty much out of the blue, he turned to the waiter and said, “I’m a waiter too….I write and I wait.” What a character, a sweet soul who made us laugh and taught more than a few how to laugh….what a legacy he leaves the family he so dearly loved. God bless.

  27. Ken Says:

    What can you say about a man whose music revived the Turtles careers? He crafted very nice songs.

  28. Just heard about the loss of my old friend on November 22, 2008.I was so happy that we got together in New York City after 46 years. The memories we shared that day( August 19th) about Lincohn High School, 2775 East 12th Street, Neptune Lanes, Coney Island, Brighton Beach and our trip to New Hampshire as kids. Meeting his son Chris was a great pleasure and he is a wonderful loving son. We had dinner at Nathan’s and then went to Sea Breeze Park and saw Kenny Vance and the Planatons perform.
    The highlight of the evening was when Alan sang So Happy Together with the group. That song has been my wife and I song for over 40 years. I will think of Alan everytime I hear that song as I have in the past. He will alway be in my heart and thoughts. He left us all with a wonderful legacy of his music.

  29. Artie,

    Thank you for this meaningful tribute and forum where we can gather and connect on our affection and memories of the inimitable Alan Gordon.

    This charming photo you have posted was taken in my home at a Thanksgiving dinner we shared together in 2006. My brother, Randall Michelson, took the photo. He captured Alan’s radiant soul.

    We were friends for more than 35 years, and I have many endearing Alan Gordon memories; but among my favorites were in recent years. After Alan and Annette moved to Scottsdale, and up until six weeks before he died, we had frequent and spirited lunches together. Not only did Alan still drum his fingers on the table, but there was nothing more joyful for me than sitting with Alan — and often together with both Alan and our dear friend Dick Wagner (Dick wrote many great songs with Alice Cooper and also with Alan), as both Alan and Dick sang me ebulliant and sweet DooWop songs while pounding out the accompaniment on our table. No piano lick, harmony or passing tone was omitted from the rendition. I can still feel his sunshine. Witty and soulful, loving and passionate, Alan lives forever.

  30. Topsoil Says:

    Hey I was just reading your article on my Google Phone and I was thinking about how good it will work on the new ipad coming out . Fleeting thought…. Anyway thanks!

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  33. Harold Speredowich Says:

    I am a cusin of Alen Gordon.
    His mother and my mother were sisters.
    My mothers name was Carmella Innace.
    Growing up I new he wrote the lyrics to Happy Together. It was just the other day that for some reason I googled his name and found that Alen wrote
    all this music for so many famous people. I wish I had known this a long time ago.


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