Author: Charles Fox

Publisher: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.

ISBN-10: 0810869918: ISBN-13: 978-0810869912

Click Here To Purchase Killing Me Softly: My Life in Music


While Charles Fox might not be a household name, most households have been touched by his music in one form or another.  Some know the hits he’s written for the likes of Roberta Flack (“Killing me Softly with His Song”) and Jim Croce (“I Got a Name.”) More know the TV themes the Emmy and Grammy winner and two-time Oscar nominee composed for Love, American Style, The Love Boat, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, and Wonder Woman. Even more know his scores for films from Barbarella to 9 to 5. Not surprisingly, the man behind this body of work has many stories to tell and they’re in his new memoir, Killing Me Softly.


Looking back over this long and distinguished career, Fox’s new autobiography is best described as the story of a man who knew his muse early and was fortunate enough to live out his dreams. Judging from every chapter in Killing Me Softly, Charles Fox has spent nearly every waking moment composing, arranging, or editing his scores until the wee hours of the morning with considerable loss of sleep. As a result, Fox has lived the life of a respected professional who has rightfully earned a place as one of America’s most important composers, mostly for TV and films, but also for pop recordings and ballet. So Killing Me Softly is a significant record of his contributions with the inside story of how motion pictures and television music is created.


Most readers will likely want to skim over the first third of this memoir as Fox provides almost moment-by-moment details of his early education, including full transcripts of his letters home from Paris in the late 1950s when he received special tutelage from Nadia Boulanger. While fleshing out the character of a man focused on his studies and his craft, only those with specialized interest in such privileged mentoring are likely to need the reminiscences best reserved for family histories. But once Fox comes to Hollywood and becomes quickly immersed in the tasks of composing, salesmanship, and collaboration with lyricists (especially long-time partner Norman Gimbel), directors, and producers, readers are taken into a world only an insider can share.     Fox had early work with the Tonight Show’s Skitch Henderson, various game shows, and then worked with—or almost with—the likes of Fred Astaire, Barbara Streisand, Barry Manilow, Paul Williams, Kenny Rogers,  and Dolly Parton with mixed results. Mixed not in terms of musical quality but rather what happens in the twists of turns of film production when directors change direction mid-stream or when performers decide they’d rather compose their own songs. How does a musical cue get established, tempos orchestrated, or moods built? Fox, a master of both drama and comedy, shares trade secrets simply by telling his story.


Through it all, Fox comes off as a man who’s learned to roll with the punches, appreciate quality work from others, learn from every musical source possible, and create lasting relationships without bitterness or regrets. One telling moment would be Fox not choosing any of his most popular melodies as his favorite accomplishment but rather the multiple albums he did with relatively unknown singer Lori Lieberman.


Killing Me Softly is certainly a volume for both public and school libraries and for general readers with special interest in television and film scores. As this is a memoir and not a movie or TV textbook, one doesn’t need to know musical nor film terminology to follow Fox’s own education in how to merge compositional talent with the eccentricities of media production. After reading this memoir, most readers will find themselves appreciating not only the work of Fox but all those who labor to provide musical beds for the audio-visual arts. Simply stated, this is a book for anyone who loves music as much as Charles Fox himself.


      Click Here To Purchase Killing Me Softly: My Life in Music

Listen To Dr. Wes Britton’s audio interview with author Charles Fox for the “Dave White Presents” radio program is posted Here