Palisades Composer Collaborates with Singer Max Restaino and Lyricist Mike Read on New Single
By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
Back in 1948, Philip Springer wrote the music for a Christmas song. Although it did not have any lyrics, he knew it was special nevertheless so he stored it away for safekeeping. That is until 72 years later, when he sent it off to Max Restaino, a young pop singer in the United Kingdom, who instantly became entranced with the tune, proceeded to write the chorus, then worked with former BBC Radio 1 DJ and music industry luminary Mike Read to complete the lyrics. The trio’s talents resulted in the new hit single “Here For Christmas,” a jazz-infused holiday cracker combining the sound of a classic golden era with Restaino’s modern-day interpretation that showcases his soulful, smooth vocals.
Released the day after Thanksgiving (on November 27, 2020) by Horus Music, the song has received rave reviews and Restaino, a 24-year-old singer/songwriter from Sheffield, England, considered it an honor to work with Springer, a longtime Pacific Palisades resident who is now 94 years young.
Springer knows a thing or two about writing Christmas songs. His “Santa Baby” has been covered by some of the biggest artists in the industry, including Eartha Kitt, Michael Buble, Ariana Grande, Kylie Minogue, Taylor Swift, Robbie Williams, Madonna and countless others. He has a career spanning 70 years and is credited in 540 musical pieces, including compositions for icons like Elvis Presley, Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra.
Read, an English writer, presenter and journalist best known for hosting the TV music series “Top of the Pops,” first reached out to Springer a few years ago to begin a songwriting collaboration, inspired by Springer’s No. 1 UK standard, “The Next Time.”
“A couple of years ago we produced a TV series for songwriters and discovered Max,” Read said. “He’s an unassuming guy with enormous talent, a great singer and a multi-instrumentalist. As part of the show, Max recorded a fantastic version of ‘Lover in London,’ a song I wrote with Phil Springer, the oldest living legendary songwriter. Phil was so impressed that the three of us ended up writing this Christmas song! We’re sure Sinatra would’ve recorded it had he still been around. I hope this new release makes it a ‘Maximus Christmas.’”
Springer added: “It’s been great fun working with Max and Mike in this overseas collaboration.”
The jazzy song begins with a fun and nostalgic “swing” feel and the brass instruments coupled with its recurring jingle bells make it an uplifting track sure to put listeners in a festive mood—ideal during this pandemic and difficult times for so many people. Springer’s daughter Tamar, a black belt and instructor at Gerry Blanck’s Martial Arts Center, recently shared a video on her Facebook page of her father playing Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” for her birthday and the video has since gone viral, generating well over 10 million views across many social network platforms worldwide. “Classic FM” even ran a feature about it in December.
Springer was the last collaborator of “The Wizard of Oz lyricist” E.Y. Harburg and their song, “Time, You Old Gypsy Man,” was dubbed “a little-known masterpiece” by Steven Holden of The New York Times. “The Last Legacy of E.Y. Harburg” is a recently-published celebration of their work, chronicling the unique songwriting collaboration and friendship between the two nationally-renowned artists.
Springer’s first Top 10 song was “Teasin,” recorded in America by Connie Haines and in England by The Beverley Sisters. Springer also composed and conducted motion picture scores in Hollywood, including “Tell Me That You Love Me,” “Junie Moon” (starring Liza Minnelli) and “More Dead Than Alive” (starring Vincent Price). He also scored for TV shows “Gunsmoke,” “Mannix,” “Along Came Bronson” and “Medical Center.”
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