Songcraft: Conversations with Great Songwriters Podcast

Randy Starr


ELVIS WEEK BONUS! Ep. 69 - Randy Starr

Kissin' Cousins: Secrets of the Songwriting Dentist

PLUS, visit our special Elvis Week page for a look back at some previous conversations with writers who crafted some of Elvis' most iconic songs. From Mike Stoller ("Hound Dog") to Mark James ("Suspicious Minds") to Mac Davis ("In the Ghetto") and beyond, it's a great way to celebrate the King!

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Scott and Paul hunt down the retired dentist who was known to his patients as Dr. Warren Nadel, but was moonlighting as a songwriter for Elvis under the name Randy Starr. The good doctor of songs talks about how Pete Seeger set him on his path; how he ended up on the Top 40 pop charts and American Bandstand soon after leaving dental school; details on the competitive behind-the-scenes environment of pitching songs for Elvis; how 11 of the 84 demos he made for the King ended up getting recorded; what he thinks of the bad rap many of the "movie songs" get, and the reason he never met Elvis in person.     

One of the great tales of songwriting history is the story of Dr. Nadel and Mr. Starr. Dr. Warren Nadel was a successful New York dentist who maintained a dual career as Randy Starr, best known for writing and recording the Billboard Top 40 pop hit, “After School.” He appeared on American Bandstand several times and went on to co-write the instrumental hit “The Enchanted Sea,” which became a charting single for both The Islanders and Martin Denny. He wrote or co-wrote a dozen songs that appeared in Elvis Presley films, including the charting singles “Kissin’ Cousins” and “Almost in Love.” Additionally, his songs have been recorded by Jackie Wilson, Chet Atkins, Kay Starr, Connie Smith, George Hamilton IV, Connie Francis, the Kingston Trio, and many others.
   

   

Songcraft's Randy Starr Playlist: Spotify users can select the song you'd like to hear below, or simply start the player and enjoy a handful of Randy's songs, including most of his Elvis recordings. If you don't have a Spotify account, follow the prompts to sign up for free. Click this link to take you directly to the playlist in the Spotify web player.