'Unchained Melody' lyricist Zaret dies

July 3, 2007 at 9:20 PM
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WESTPORT, Conn., July 3 (UPI) -- Hy Zaret, one of the last Tin Pan Alley lyricists whose "Unchained Melody" is among the most recorded works, died at his Connecticut home at age 99.

Best known for "Unchained Melody," Zaret, who died Monday in Westport, also wrote jingles, songs about science and ballads of love and war, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

"Unchained Melody," penned for a low-budget prison film in 1955 and re-introduced to moviegoers in 1990's "Ghost," has been recorded by more than 300 artists, including Lena Horne, Guy Lombardo, the Righteous Brothers, Elvis and U2.

Zaret's other songs, while not nearly as successful as "Unchained Melody," did well. "One Meat Ball," a novelty song about a poor man with 15 cents to spend for a meatball, was a hit for the Andrews Sisters. Jimmy Dorsey took "My Sister and I," a tale of sisters in an occupied country, to No. 1 in 1941. "Dedicated to You" is a perennial jazz favorite.

Zaret also wrote lyrics for educational and public service songs. In later years, Zaret wrote poetry on gentler themes, including growing old.

Zaret is survived by his wife Shirley, a son Robert and one grandson.

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