Luigi Creatore, whose mark was on numerous hits from the late 50's on, died from complications of pneumonia on Sunday in Boca Raton, FL at the age of 93.
With Hugo Peretti, the brand of Hugo & Luigi became known for some of the most popular pop music from the 50's, 60's and 70's by artists like Jimmie Rodgers, Perry Como, Little Peggy March, Sam Cooke and the Stylistics.
Creatore was born in New York in 1921 and served in the military in World War II. Coming from a musical family, he had a leg up when he partnered with his cousin, Peretti, to write children's music and, eventually, advertising jingles.
In 1954, the duo was asked by Mercury Records president Irving Green if they would like to try their hand at producing. Their new avenue proved a success with The Little Showmaker by the Gaylords which went to number 2.
They next worked extensively with Sarah Vaughan, not only producing her recordings but also co-writing her 1955 hit Experience Unnecessary. They also were part of the mid-50's trend of covering R&B hits with white artists, producing hits for Georgia Gibb.
In 1957, the pair became part owners of Roulette Records where they worked with folk singer Jimmie Rodgers, crafting him into a pop star. Once again, not only did they produce but also wrote Rodgers' hits Oh-Oh I'm Falling in Love Again, Secretly, Are You Really Mine? and Bimbombey.
By 1961, Hugo & Luigi were ready to move on again, signing a precedent setting contract with RCA that not only gave them a salary but also a penny per album royalty and producer's credits on all of their work. Their earliest work at the label included producing the Isley Brothers Shout but it was with Sam Cooke that they made some of their most impressive recordings including Chain Gang, Twistin' the Night Away and Bring it On Home to Me. Outside of Cooke, they also produced music for the Tokens (The Lion Sleeps Tonight on which they also received writing credits), Little Peggy March (I Will Follow Him) and Ray Peterson (Tell Laura I Love Her).
As songwriters, they scored a huge hit with Can't Help Falling in Love, written with George David Weiss and a hit for both Elvis Presley and UB40, along with A Walking Miracle for the Essex and Presley's Wild in the Country.
By 1964, they were ready to move on again, this time independently, writing the Broadway musical Maggie Flynn with Weiss.
In the 70's, the pair had a big resurgence, buying Avco/Embassy Records and producing such hits as Van McCoy's The Hustle along with many from the Stylistics. They also won a Grammy for producing the Broadway Original Cast Album for Bubbling Brown Sugar.
Both retired from the music business in the early 80's and Peretti died in 1986.
Hit singles written by Hugo & Luigi:
- Experience Unnecessary (Sarah Vaughan / 1955 / #14 Pop)
- Oh-Oh, I'm Falling in Love Again (Jimmie Rodgers / 1958 / #7 Pop / #5 Country / #19 R&B)
- Secretly (Jimmie Rodgers / 1958 / #3 Pop / #7 R&B)
- Make Me a Miracle (Jimmie Rodgers / 1958 / #16 Pop)
- Are You Really Mine? (Jimmie Rodgers / 1958 / #10 Pop / #13 Country)
- Bimbombey (Jimmie Rodgers / 1958 / #11 Pop)
- Wild in the Country (Elvis Presley / 1961 / #4 U.K.)
- The Lion Sleeps Tonight (The Tokens / 1961 / #1 Pop / #7 R&B / #11 U.K.)
- Can't Help Falling in Love (Elvis Presley / 1961 / #2 Pop / #1 AC / #1 U.K.)
- A Walkin' Miracle (The Essex / 1963 / #12 Pop / #11 R&B)
- Secretly (The Lettermen / 1965 / #64 Pop / #8 AC)
- I Can't Help Falling in Love With You (Al Martino / 1970 / #54 Pop / #5 AC)
- Can't Help Falling in Love With You (Andy Williams / 1970 / #88 Pop / #28 AC / #3 U.K.)
- The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Robert John / 1972 / #3 Pop / #6 AC)
- A Walkin' Miracle (Limmie & the Family Cookin' / 1974 / #6 U.K.)
- Let's Put It All Together (Stylistics / 1974 / #18 Pop / #26 AC / #8 R&B / #9 U.K.)
- Heavy Fallin' Out (Stylistics / 1974 / #41 Pop / #4 R&B)
- Star on a TV Show (Stylistics / 1975 / #47 Pop / #27 AC / #13 R&B / #12 U.K.)
- Thank You Baby (Stylistics / 1975 / #70 Pop / #7 R&B)
- Sing Baby Sing (Stylistics / 1975 / #3 U.K.)
- Can't Give You Anything (But My Love) (Stylistics / 1975 / #51 Pop / #34 AC / #18 R&B / #1 U.K.)
- Na-Na is the Saddest Word (Stylistics / 1975 / #5 U.K.)
- Funky Weekend (Stylistics / 1975 / #76 Pop / #23 R&B / #10 U.K.)
- You Are Beautiful (Stylistics / 1976 / #79 Pop / #26 AC / #17 R&B)
- Can't Help Falling in Love (Stylistics / 1976 / #52 R&B / #4 U.K.)
- Sixteen Bars (Stylistics / 1976 / #7 U.K.)
- The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Tight Fit / 1982 / #1 U.K.)
- (I Can't Help) Falling in Love With You (UB40 / #1 Pop / #11 AC / #1 U.K.)
- Need a Boss (Shareefa / 2006 / #62 Pop / #10 R&B)