Elvis songwriter Aaron Schroeder dies

Wrote more than 2,000 songs

Aaron Schroeder, who for more than five decades often topped the popular music charts as a songwriter, independent publisher and innovative record producer, died Wednesday in Englewood, N.J. He was 83.

Schroeder battled a rare Alzheimer's-like form of dementia for many years, the last five as a resident of the Lillian Booth Actors' Home of the Actors Fund in Englewood.

Schroeder wrote more than 2,000 songs and appears as the composer, lyricist and/or producer on the label of more than 1,500 recordings. On many, he fills multiple roles.

His gold and platinum musical successes include 17 songs recorded by Elvis Presley, five of which reached No. 1. "It's Now or Never" stands as the best-selling Presley international single of all time and ranks among Billboard's 100 top pop recordings.

Schroeder's other No. 1 Presley hits were "Stuck on You," "Good Luck Charm," "A Big Hunk O'Love" and "I Got Stung."

The Brooklyn-born Schroeder worked in many genres, including rock, R&B, country and gospel. He mentored young artists and is credited with discovering, nurturing and subsidizing the early careers of talents such as Randy Newman, Jimi Hendrix, Al Cooper, Barry White and Gene Pitney -- for whom he produced the Oscar-nominated record "Town Without Pity."

Schroeder also teamed Pitney with Burt Bachrach and Hal David to create a unique musical sound and a string of winning recordings including "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," "Only Love Can Break a Heart" and "24 Hours From Tulsa."

Schroeder staked his claim in the late 1940s when "At a Sidewalk Penny Arcade" became one side of Rosemary Clooney's first record. In the years that followed, his songs were popularized by such stars as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Pat Boone, Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole, Roy Orbison, Dionne Warwick, Art Garfunkel, Arlo Guthrie, the Beatles, Usher, Chaka Khan, Nas and Julio Iglesias.

Schroeder was a lifelong member of ASCAP and the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences.

He is survived by his wife, Abby; his daughter, Rachel; his brother-in-law and wife, David and Anne Steinberg; and their sons, Howard and Michael Steinberg.

A funeral service will be held at the Riverside Memorial Chapel in New York at 11.45 a.m. on Monday. The family requests that contributions in his memory be made to the Actors Fund; to the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, Mass.; or to New York's Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.