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“If listened to in the right frame of mind,” Carl wrote, “the melody rises and falls in a way which uncannily resembles an orgasm, with one of the most stirring climaxes I’ve ever heard followed by a beautifully relaxed, restful and contented ending. At the same time, this rising and falling is a perfect symbolization of the movements of the tide. Now the connection begins to come into focus: two lovers meet on a beach, their expectations rise together as the tide is rising, they love, and they are at peace together as the tide ebbs. And the beach and tides (helped by their association with the moon) are as romantic as any setting could hope to be. The whole wedding of the tune to the lyric (or, I should say, of lyric to the tune) is the most natural, the best and the easiest (once the idea was there) I’ve ever written.”
__“Ebb Tide” was a hit twice in 1953, first in an instrumental version by British bandleader Frank Chacksfield (it had a four-week run at #2 on the pop chart) and later that same year by the popular vocalist Vic Damone, whose Sigman-Maxwell version was a Top 10 pop single. In 1954 the great R&B belter Roy Hamilton closed out a personal best year on the pop charts with a Top 30 recording of the song. By far the best known version, though, is The Righteous Brothers’ 1965 Top Five single, produced by Phil Spector in full Wall of Sound baroque splendor, in which the tide is cast more as a tsunami destroying everything in its path than a mere wave breaking on the shore (to be fair, a better evocation of Spector’s personality, if not his sex life, than Carl’s more sensitive treatment would have been), and tenor Bobby Hatfield wails the words “ebb tide!” at the close, inserting the previously unspoken title.
__This wonderful and long-overdue collection reaffirms Carl Sigman’s place in the pantheon of great American pop songwriters, an assessment his contemporaries would certainly agree with, if their eagerness to collaborate with him and to record his songs is any indication. And thanks to that lone chapter of his, Carl’s own words remind us of what a rare artist he was in his own era and in the current one, in which style tramples substance and the coin of the realm is disposability rather than durability. Carl Sigman’s songs are all about durability, because they’re about the lives we live as sentient human beings on planet Earth — day by day, from heartbeat to heartbeat, from the cradle to the grave. The songs are not about him, they’re about you and me. Great artist that he was, Carl Sigman disappears even as he appears in his own melodies and lyrics. If you’re hearing these songs and exclaiming, “So that’s who wrote that song!”, somewhere Carl Sigman is smiling. >

Carl with Brenda Lee and “Losing You” publisher Ivan Mogull.

Likening the meeting of two lovers to the flow of the tide, Carl went places he hadn’t gone before as a writer, finding drama, overpowering emotion, tenderness, and gripping poetry in the scene he had set.

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