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Earl Brown Passed Away

January 18, 2008 | People

Earl Brown, who wrote "If I Can Dream", has passed away.

"He was not only a great songwriter but one of the nicest and kindest people I've ever met. I spent time with him at his home in Sherman Oaks, California (the same home where he wrote "If I Can Dream") and had a great time. I knew he was not well but definitely did not expect this. Please say a prayer for him" said to Ken Sharp to the Elvis Information Network site.

Walter Earl Brown, 1928, known to his friends as Earl, passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in Sherman Oaks, California on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008 after a lengthy illness. Earl had celebrated his 79th birthday on Dec. 25, 2007 with friends. He will be sadly missed by his many friends and relatives across the country. Earl was born in Salt Lake City, UT on Christmas Day, 1928, to Walter L. and Hattie Earl Brown. Earl’s father, Walter played in a "swing" big band so as a child Earl traveled with his parents, living in several cities. Eventually moving to Logan to be close to his mother's family, Earl attended Woodruff Elementary school. During his years in Logan, Earl made lifelong friendships with Ralph Dunn, his cousin Gerry Earl, as well as many others. Earl had a prolific and illustrious career in show business as a singer, composer, vocal arranger, and writer of special material. His work in television, films, revues, musical recordings and nightclubs began at an early age and continued until his passing. During the 40’s and 50’s Earl is remembered for having been the arranger and singer in the highly acclaimed vocal group The Skylarks.

He wrote a hit song for Elvis Presley in 1968 entitled If I Can Dream, which has been re-recorded by Barry Manilow and others and which was recently performed on American Idol by Celine Dion as a duet, with Elvis resurrected on stage as a holographic image. Earl wrote songs for Dianne Reeves, including the Grammy winning Who’s Minding The Store?, as well as for Frank Sinatra, Mama Cass, Michael Feinstein, and numerous others. For many years he was the vocal director on many hit variety shows including The Danny Kaye Show, The Dinah Shore Show, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, The Osmonds Brothers Show, The Andy Williams Show, The Carol Burnett Show and many other television programs and specials. Most recently Earl was the vocal arranger and writer of special material for The Palm Springs Follies for the last 13 seasons of the revue.

Earl Brown also composed the songs "Up Above My Head" and "I Found That Light" which were also included in Elvis' 1968 "Comeback Special". Earl is survived by cousin Don (Gloria) Earl, Smithfield, UT; cousins-in-law, M. Kae (Ellen Rae) Jeppesen, North Logan, UT; JoAn Earl, Fort Worth, TX, and their families; his "best friend" Ralph (Jackie) Dunn, Logan, UT. He was preceded in death by his parents, aunts, uncles, cousin Carol Jenkins Jeppesen, and his "favorite" cousin and buddy, Gerald E. Earl.

Source:Elvis Information Network

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FLY-TROUBLE! wrote on January 18, 2008
Sean Ryan wrote on January 18, 2008
What with losing Bill Belew and Clyde Otis on the 8th of Jan and now its been announced that 2 days after that Earl Brown passed away.This is really sad news.RIP Earl
My boy, my boy wrote on January 18, 2008
"If I can dream" was a blessing...especially performed by Elvis...perfect match !...I'll just get rid of the annoying Celine voice though...R.I.P Mister Brown.
japio wrote on January 18, 2008
If i can dream. was one of the greatest "peace and hope "songs that ever been written .Just like Imagne Everybody has lsiten to that song and wish that is no more war and we are all the same. so rest in peace Earl. Thanks for the great song
Steve V wrote on January 19, 2008
If I Can Dream is one of Elvis' greatest songs & performances. Thank you Mr Brown. To think it only got to #11 on the charts in 1968 always bothered me. It should be regarded as much as a classic as Cant Help Falling In Love or Love Me Tender. I like it better than both those songs. Yes it ranks right up there with Imagine as a message song but is not nearly as well know. Im glad AI brought it back last year. The duet (regardless of Celine) should have been released. RIP.
JimmyCool wrote on January 19, 2008
There must be lights burning brighter somewhere...