Irving Gordon, a composer of popular songs who was best known for "Unforgettable," which won him a Grammy four decades after he wrote it, has died. He was 81.
Gordon, who also wrote the recently revived "Prelude to a Kiss," died Sunday in Los Angeles.
The wordsmith earned the song-of-the-year Grammy in 1992 after Natalie Cole included "Unforgettable" on her album of duets with original recordings by her late father, Nat King Cole. Gordon conceded that he didn't think too much of his song when he wrote it in 1951, but changed his mind when the elder Cole played it, liked it and made it one of his signature hits.
"It's nice to have a song come out that doesn't scream, yell and have a nervous breakdown while it talks about tenderness," he told a New York audience when he received the Grammy. "People . . . want a melody. They want to be able to sing a song."
Gordon had written "Prelude to a Kiss," giving title and lyrics to a tune by Duke Ellington, while riding a New York subway train in the late 1930s. Half a century later, the song enjoyed renewed popularity in connection with the play and motion picture of the same title.