ASCAP books Williams as headliner, Webb No. 2


ASCAP on Thursday tapped Oscar-winning songwriter Paul Williams to helm the performing rights organization as president and chairman of the board, replacing Marilyn Bergman, who stepped down last week after 15 years in the posts.

At its meeting in Nashville, the ASCAP board of directors also elected songwriter Jimmy Webb to replace Williams as vice chairman.

Williams' best-known songs include "We've Only Just Begun," "Rainy Days and Mondays," "You and Me Against the World," "An Old Fashioned Love Song," "I Won't Last a Day Without You" and "Let Me Be the One." His tunes have been recorded by such acts as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan, Willie Nelson, David Bowie, R.E.M., the Carpenters, Three Dog Night and Kermit the Frog, who sang Williams' "The Rainbow Connection" in "The Muppet Movie." That song and "Evergreen," from "A Star Is Born" — which was named best song at the 1977 Academy Awards — are on the American Film Institute's list of the top 100 movie songs of all time.

A member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Williams scored more than a dozen movies and has appeared in dozens of films and TV shows.

Ed Christman is a senior correspondent for Billboard.