Sid Tepper, Author of Over 50 Songs for Elvis Presley, Dies at 96

MUSIC FIT FOR A KING: Sid Tepper, at his Surfside home in 2008, holds a CD of Elvis Presley songs that he co-wrote with songwriting partner Roy Bennett for many of Presley’s movies in the 1960s, like ‘Blue Hawaii,’ ‘Viva Las Vegas’ and ‘G.I. Blues.’ Tepper and Bennett who more than 300 songs between 1945 and 1970 for artists including Frank Sinatra, Cliff Richard, Eartha Kitt and Carl Perkins. NURI VALLBONA MIAMI HERALD FILE

Sid Tepper… a name many people are not familiar with, unless you are one of those music aficionados who wants to know everything about your favorite songs.  This songwriter is responsible for hit songs that spanned decades as well as genres and singers.  We are sad to announce that this amazing man who was  born June 25, 1918 in Brooklyn, died at the age of 96.

Tepper started writing songs and poetry in elementary school, going on to secure a staff writing job with Mills Music in NYC after serving in the Army during WWII.  Brooklyn, a hotbed for musical talent that would later spawn Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand and Barry Manilow is also where Tepper joined forces with his childhood friend Roy Bennett, and began their musical partnership.

Success came right from the start for the pair of writers with a Top 10 hit (twice) in 1949 with Red Roses for a Blue Lady recorded by Vaughn Monroe and Guy Lombardo.  As with all songwriters, Tepper needed inspiration to create his magic and his “magic” was crafted during tougher times in his life.  Red Roses  was written after a little tiff with his new bride Lillian; “I sent her some red roses and wrote on the card, ‘I’m sorry, red roses for a blue lady.’ And about a week later, I thought, ‘What a great idea for a title, and the song wrote itself,” Tepper said in a Miami Herald profile in 2008 on his 90th birthday.

The British invasion of the sixties caused some problems for many songwriters of that time, but it didn’t affect this epic duo as Tepper and Bennett managed to publish over 300 songs between 1945 – 1970 for singers such as the Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Rosemary Clooney.  Elvis Presley was Tepper’s greatest success and biggest client, despite having never met, they managed to collaborate on 56 songs for a string of movies throughout the 1960s.

“He was never impressed with himself, it was his job. He loved it, but it was not something he bragged about,” said daughter Jackie Tepper regarding her father. “My dad was a real family man and preferred hanging out at home with his family and close friends over going out. He’s left an amazing legacy, that will be listened to and enjoyed forever. To have done all of this and lived almost 97 years is more than anyone can ask for. He is our hero.”

Tepper is survived by his children Susan Tepper-Kopacz, Michelle Tepper-Kapit, Brian, Warren and Jackie Tepper; grandchildren Rachel Reinberg, Jennifer Kopacz, Jessica, David, Joanna, Maxx and Samantha Tepper; great-grandchildren Ben, Sara and Lily Reinberg.

Services will be held at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Levitt-Weinstein Memorial Chapels, 18840 W Dixie Hwy., North Miami Beach.

About the Author

Patrick James
Patrick James
Patrick James has worked as a firefighter/EMT for several services throughout the years, as well as a custom metal fabricator, certified personal trainer and chef. Growing up in the rural suburbs of Detroit, it was during his frequent trips to Northern Michigan where he learned of his love for hunting and fishing. Spending several of his adult years in upstate South Carolina, his love of extreme sports took root in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains as he learned to rock climb and kayak. "Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and vanish into air." ~ John Quincy Adams