Roy C. Bennett, Elvis Presley Songwriter, Dead at 97

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Elvis Presley photographed circa 1956.

Songwriter Roy C. Bennett died July 2 in Queens, N.Y., at the age of 97, leaving behind a legacy of credits that include work for Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Louis Armstrong and more. 

Along with songwriting partner Sid Tepper, Bennett published over 300 songs. The duo wrote more than 40 tracks for Presley alone, including almost half of the massively successful Blue Hawaii soundtrack. In 2002, they were honored in Memphis for their contributions to Presley's career. 

They also wrote songs recorded by the Beatles, Carl PerkinsPerry Como, Eartha Kitt, Duke Ellington, Marty Robbins and Wayne Newton, among others. 

Bennett started his songwriting career at the age of 11, Variety reports, teaming with Tepper from the start. Tepper died this past April at the age of 96 of natural causes. 

Both vets of WWII, Bennett and Tepper's first hit came with "Red Roses for a Blue Lady" in 1948, originally recorded by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians before vocalist Vaughn Monroe made it a No. 3 hit single. That was followed by another big success came in 1951 with Rosemary Clooney's recording of "Suzy Snowflake". And in 1955, their song "Naughty Lady of Shady Lane" was a top-10 hit for both Dean Martin and the Ames Brothers.

Bennett and Tepper's collaboration ended in the 1970s when Tepper suffered a heart attack and retired to Florida, but Bennett continued on and even published the popular Choral Singer's Handbook, which still prints today. 

Bennett is survived by his wife, Ruth Bennett; two sons, Keith and Neil Bennett; and three grandchildren.


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