Al Kasha, the Academy Award-winning composer who, along with songwriting partner Joel Hirschhorn, won Oscars for the soft rock disaster movie classics “The Morning After” and “We May Never Love Like This Again,” died Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 83.
His death was announced by spokesperson Deborah Radel. A cause of death was not disclosed.
Dominating music charts – and Oscar’s Best Original Song category – in 1973 with “The Morning After,” from The Poseidon Adventure, and again in ’75 with “We May Never Love Like This Again” from The Towering Inferno, Kasha and Hirschhorn returned to film songwriting with 1977’s Disney classic Pete’s Dragon. The duo was Oscar-nominated for that song score and the song “Candle On The Water,” sung by Pete’s Dragon star Helen Reddy.
For his Broadway stage work, Kasha received Tony Award nominations for the scores of 1981’s Copperfield and 1982’s Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
Both Broadway productions were short-lived, but The Morning After has endured. Titled in the film simply as “The Song From The Poseidon Adventure,” the anthem of hope and perseverance was performed in the film by Carol Lynley’s cruise ship singer character Nonnie during a New Year’s Eve party, just before a massive wave capsizes the S.S. Poseidon. Singer Renee Armand provided the dubbed vocal for Lynley’s performance.
Retitled “The Morning After,” the song was recorded by a then unknown Maureen McGovern, released in May 1973 and hit the #1 chart spot for two weeks in August. The song was ubiquitous that summer – that decade, actually – and has earned a prominent place in the roster of ’70s AOR recordings as both a symbol of optimism and a kitschy example of ’70s middle-of-the-road sugar alongside “Feelings” and “You Light Up My Life.”
Just last year, the song was included in Eddie Murphy’s Dolemite Is My Name, the latest in a long list of often ironic film appearances: Slums of Beverly Hills, Kung Pow: Enter the Fist, Rugrats Go Wild, The Simpsons (twice), The X-Files and American Horror Story: Apocalypse.
The successful Poseidon trio – Kasha, Hirschhorn and McGovern – reunited for The Towering Inferno, the disaster movie providing yet another hit (if lesser so) and Oscar winner: “We May Never Love Like This Again.”
Born in New York City on January 22, 1937, Kasha was hired as a producer at Columbia Records at 22, then went on to work at the legendary Brill Building in 1959 alongside writers and artists such as Carole King, Neil Sedaka, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Burt Bacharach, Hal David, and Neil Diamond. During his songwriting career, Kasha worked with artists including Aretha Franklin, Neil Diamond, Donna Summer, Charles Aznavour, Bobby Darin and Jackie Wilson.
More recently, Kasha conceived and created the musicals The Real Love and Loving The Silent Tears with Vietnamese poet Supreme Master Ching Hai.
Kasha is survived by his wife Ceil Kasha, daughter Dana Kasha-Cohen, son-in-law Randy Cohen and grandson Dean Cohen. Hirschhorn died in 2005.
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