Carl Sigman in the News
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Michael Sigman

Billboard, April 27, 2002
Sigman Brings His Father Carl's Catalog Back To Life
BY JIM BESSMAN Billboard Writer

NEW YORK - Michael Sigman's departure in January from his longtime perch as president/CEO of LA Weekly has returned him to the music business in a big way. But Sigman, who once edited the now-defunct trade paper Record World, is now into a different sort of music publishing.
__As president of Majorsongs (ASCAP), Sigman is lovingly re-activating the catalog of his late father, Carl Sigman. The company owns the Sigman share of many of the composer/lyricist's 800-plus copyrights, including such oft-recorded standards as "What Now My Love," "It's All in the Game," "Enjoy Yourself," "(Where Do I Begin) Love Story," "Pennsylvania 6-5000," and "Crazy He Calls Me" and is taking back copyrights to other Sigman songs like "Ebb Tide" as their renewals become due.

Ripe For Reintroduction
"I've long wanted to re-activate the company, especially over the past year since my dad's death," says Sigman, whose father was 91 when he died in September 2000. "Majorsongs was largely just a collection house, but once I had some free time, I started exploring the current deals we had, along with the level of performances, film, TV spots, covers, etc., for the important songs. I found that while there was pretty good exposure for songs like 'Love Story,' 'It's All in the Game,' and, surprisingly, 'Buona Sera' which is a hit for every East European rock band many of the standards were clearly in need of a push. In addition, there are a bunch of songs that were hits once or twice, then faded, and could be ripe for reintroduction."
__To rejuvenate Majorsongs, Los Angeles-based Sigman is looking at several options. "My goal is to find the best partner to work the songs with me since I probably know the catalog better and more passionately than anyone and have my share of contacts," he says. "Second, I'm putting together a four-disc boxed set of the signature versions of the most important songs, along with some lesser-known but wonderful recordings. So for 'Enjoy Yourself,' we'll have not only Guy Lombardo but also the Specials. For 'It's All in the Game,' we'll have Van Morrison in addition to Tommy Edwards. For 'What Now, My Love,' not only will we have Sonny & Cher but also Mitch Ryder. And third, I'm contacting places like the Smithsonian, Reader's Digest, and other institutional entities which provide exposure for classic Americana."
__Sigman is also contacting other owners or heirs of comparable "legacy" song catalog.
__"I want to build alliances or coalitions with other people who are in similar situations to me," he says, citing two whom he's already approached. "Will Bratton, who is married to Doc Pomus' daughter, represents Pomussongs, and Molly Hyman, the daughter of Bob Russell who collaborated with Dad on 'Crazy He Calls Me' and 'Dance, Ballerina, Dance' and also wrote 'Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me' with Duke Ellington and 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother' represents Harrison Music."
__"The music business is in such a state of flux now with the record business hurting, but the publishing business is a place for opportunity, and I think that having a relationship with other legacy catalogs makes for a whole greater than the sum of its parts," Sigman continues. "And there are tons of people out there [involved in] the great American songbook who need help because of the many years that have gone by and many others with expertise in catalog who have become available in the record business."

Sigman himself, of course, has only recently become available. "I can't tell you how much I love being back in the business and having a connection with my dad," he says. "It's such a cliché, but he lives on in his songs: People don't know about him, because he shunned publicity and barely left the house except to play golf which he did until the end. So there's very little awareness by the public that the same guy who wrote 'Pennsylvania 6-5000' also wrote 'Ebb Tide,' 'Love Story,' and 'Dance, Ballerina, Dance.' But they know his songs."
__Another song Sigman sentimentally notes is "Bongo, Bongo, Bongo (Civilization)," which his father co-wrote with Bob Hilliard for the 1947 Broadway musical Angel in the Wings and was memorably recorded by Louis Prima & His Orchestra.
__"Elaine Stritch got her first big break singing it in the show," Sigman says of the novelty number, "and I recently took my mom who's a young 75 to see her one-woman show on Broadway. Mom and Dad met in the Brill Building, when she was Louis Prima's secretary and he was writing songs for Louis, like 'Bongo, Bongo, Bongo' and 'Buona Sera.' Next time I'm in New York, we're going to sneak into the Brill Building and scatter some of my dad's ashes in the lobby, the elevator, and if it's still there suite 507: Louis' old office!"

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