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Harold Barlow; Composer, Author, Plagiarism Expert

February 28, 1993|MYRNA OLIVER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Harold Barlow, hit composer and expert on plagiarism in popular music who was trained as a classical violinist, has died. He was 77.

A resident of New York's Long Island, Barlow died Feb. 15 in a Manhasset hospital of cardiopulmonary arrest.

Barlow was perhaps known best for his 1949 hit, "I've Got Tears in My Ears (From Lying on My Back in My Bed While I Cry Over You)," recorded by Homer and Jethro. Considered one of the all-time funniest country novelty songs, the ditty was used in television sketches by Lucille Ball, Dean Martin, Danny Thomas and Garry Moore, and it became the title for a 1992 book by Paula Schwed subtitled "Country Music's Best and Funniest Lines."

Barlow was also an author, compiling two reference works on music, "A Dictionary of Musical Themes" in 1948 and "A Dictionary of Vocal Themes" in 1950.

He spent more than four decades as an expert witness in federal trials over song plagiarism, engaged by such clients as film studios, music publishers and performers, including Michael Jackson, the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Rod Stewart, Dolly Parton, Billy Joel, Johnny Cash, the Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary.

Barlow's songs included the 1941 hit "The Things I Love," recorded by such greats as Jimmy Dorsey, Dizzy Gillespie and Harry James, and "Mama," recorded by Connie Francis, for which he wrote the lyrics only. Others were "Why Should I Love You?" "In My Own Quiet Way," "I Never Knew I Loved You" and "You Talk Too Much."

Born in Boston, Barlow earned a bachelor's degree in violin from Boston University and later led his own bands, including one during his armed forces service in World War II. He played with orchestras conducted by Arthur Fiedler and Fabien Sevitzky.

Barlow is survived by his wife, Sara; two daughters, Pamela Barlow of Westlake Village and Peggy Puccio of Marble, N.C.; a son, Steven of Queens, N.Y., six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

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