Aug 25, 2010 9:34 PM by Alison Haynes
OLDP DK, N.J. (AP) - George David Weiss, who helped write
chart-topping pop hits including "Can't Help Falling in Love" and
"What a Wonderful World," has died. He was 89.
He died Monday of natural causes at his home in Oldwick, N.J.,
his wife, Claire, said.
Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and many other big-name artists
recorded compositions written or co-written by Weiss, whose career
choice greatly disappointed his mother. She wanted him to become a
A Juilliard School of Music graduate who played the violin,
piano, saxophone and clarinet, Weiss was a military bandleader in
World War II. He soon gained wide recognition as a songsmith with
success over the next few decades.
Among the notable compositions he wrote or co-wrote were "Can't
Help Falling in Love," recorded by Elvis Presley; "What a
Wonderful World," recorded by Louis Armstrong; "Surrender,"
recorded by Perry Como, and "Oh! What It Seemed to
e" by Frank
Weiss had a role in creating the Tokens' hit version of "The
Lion Sleeps Tonight," which was based on a 1939 song written by
South African musician Solomon Linda. Weiss and two collaborators
gave the song a reworked melody and new lyrics but kept the refrain
- "Wimoweh, wimoweh" - that was popularized in a 1950s version of
the song performed by the Weavers.
The Tokens' version became a million-selling hit in 1961.
Weiss also collaborated on several Broadway musicals, including
"Mr. Wonderful," which starred Sammy Davis Jr., and "Maggie
Flynn," featuring Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy.
He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984. He
also was president of the Songwriters Guild of America from 1982 to
2000 and often testified before government agencies, mostly on