Erwin Drake, Pop Songwriter, 95. (The New York Times, 1/16/2015)
He later collaborated with Irene Higginbotham on the lyrics for “Good Morning Heartache,” which Miss Holiday recorded in 1946. (She was said to have called it one of her favorite songs.) It was later recorded by a host of singers, including Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Ross and Alicia Keys.
“I Believe” was commissioned by Jane Froman, the singer and actress, as an antidote to angst over the Korean War. Described as the first hit song introduced on television, it was a huge hit for Mr. Laine in 1953 and has been recorded by dozens of others, including Elvis Presley, Perry Como and Patti LaBelle.
(In 1963, the Beaty Junior High School 7th grade chorus performed the song in the Spring Show.)
Mr. Drake wrote the words and music for the wistful “It Was a Very Good Year” in 1961 for Bob Shane of the Kingston Trio. Mr. Sinatra heard it on his car radio driving to Palm Springs, Calif., and his recording of it on a comeback album in 1966 hit the Top 10.
The Kingston Trio's version appears on their 1961 album, Goin' Places, which peaked at #3 and spent 41 weeks on Billboard's Top 200 albums chart.
The Frank Sinatra version appears on this 1965 album, September of My Years, which peaked at #5 and spent 69 weeks on Billboard's Top 200 albums. This song earned Sinatra the Grammy for Best Vocal Performance, Male.