Obituary: Terry Gilkyson

TERRY GILKYSON wrote several of the biggest hit records of the early 1950s. His "Memories are Made of This" became both a well-known song and a clever catchphrase for the nostalgia boom.

He was born in 1916 in a stone house built by his great-grandfather in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. He was playing the piano by the age of four, but tired of his later music studies at the University of Pennsylvania and left before graduation. In 1938 he worked on ranches in New Mexico and Arizona and both learnt and performed western songs. During the Second World War, he became a popular entertainer on Armed Forces Radio.

He recorded two albums of folk songs, The Solitary Singer, volumes 1 and 2, in 1950 and 1951, but had his first hit record when he joined the Weavers, with "On Top of Old Smokey", also in 1951. By then, he was establishing himself as a songwriter: both Frankie Laine and Tennessee Ernie Ford did well with "The Cry of the Wild Goose" (1950) and Laine also scored with "Girl in the Wood", "Tell Me a Story", "Roving Gambler" and "Love is a Golden Ring", which he recorded with Gilkyson's group, the Easy Riders, in 1957. Guy Mitchell had fun with Gilkyson's song "Christopher Columbus", but the best-known song, "Memories are Made of This", was a transatlantic No l for Dean Martin in 1956 and also sold well for Gale Storm, Dave King and, in 1967, Val Doonican.

With his songwriting friends Rick Dehr and Frank Miller, Gilkyson had formed a folk group, Terry Gilkyson and the Easy Riders, and they made a popular album, Golden Minutes of Folk Music, in 1953. The following year, their adaptation of a calypso from the West Indies, "Marianne", went to No 4 on the US charts, with a rival version by the Hilltoppers doing equally well. The Hilltoppers and the King Brothers had success with the song in the UK but Gilkyson's record was No 1 in Australia.

In 1958 the Easy Riders scored the film Windjammer, and then in the 1960s, Gilkyson wrote music for the long-running television series The Wonderful World of Disney. The title track of their 1961 LP, Remember the Alamo, was recorded by both Johnny Cash and Donovan.

Gilkyson preferred being a songwriter to performing, and the Easy Riders spent most of the 1960s without him. One replacement was Jerry Yester, who subsequently joined the Lovin' Spoonful. Gilkyson's many songs included the folk-based "Green Fields" for the Brothers Four, a US No 2.

In 1967 Gilkyson wrote "The Bare Necessities" for the Walt Disney cartoon The Jungle Book; the song, performed in the film by Phil Harris as Baloo, has also been recorded by Louis Armstrong and Kenny Ball. It was nominated for an Oscar but lost to "Talk to the Animals" from Dr Dolittle. However, "The Bare Necessities" certainly influenced "Hakuna Matata" in the recent Disney hit The Lion King. In 1970 Gilkyson contributed to the score of another Disney success, The Aristocats.

By then, however, he was at a loss with the music of the day and chose to spend his time fly-fishing. He retired completely, living on the royalties from over 300 published songs. His daughter, Eliza, became a well-known singer-songwriter. In turn, her son, Cisco Gilliland, is part of the Texan band Bunny Stockhausen. Gilkyson's son, Terry, has played in the bands X and Lone Justice.

Spencer Leigh

Hamilton Henry "Terry" Gilkyson, singer and songwriter: born Phoenixville, Pennsylvania 17 June 1916; married (one son, three daughters); died Austin, Texas 15 October 1999.

Arts and Entertainment
Keith from The Office ten years on

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams prepares to enter the House of Black and White as Arya Stark in Game of Thrones season five

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Albert Hammond Junior of The Strokes performs at the Natural History Museum on July 6, 2006 in London, England.

music
Arts and Entertainment
Howard Mollison, as played by Michael Gambon
tv review
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush in The King's Speech

The best TV shows and films coming to the service

tv
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Muscling in: Noah Stewart and Julia Bullock in 'The Indian Queen'

opera
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TVViewers predict what will happen to Miller and Hardy
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in season two of the series

Watch the new House of Cards series three trailer

TV
Arts and Entertainment
An extract from the sequel to Fight Club

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant, Eve Myles and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch series two

TV Review
Arts and Entertainment
Old dogs are still learning in 'New Tricks'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest' - and other Neil Patrick Harris Oscars jokes

Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Patricia Arquette making her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress Award

Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears

Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003