Otis Blackwell

Active - 1957 - 1957  |   Born - Feb 16, 1932   |   Died - May 6, 2002   |   Genres - Musical

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A songwriter whose numerous hits were recorded by the likes of Elvis Presley, Billy Joel, Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, and countless other legendary singers, Otis Blackwell was the man behind such timeless classics as "Great Balls of Fire" and such Elvis hits as "Don't Be Cruel," "All Shook Up," and "Return to Sender." Even if he never had the opportunity to meet the King in person, Blackwell was most certainly responsible for some of his most memorable tunes. Born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1931, Blackwell began to gain career momentum as a teenager when he won a talent contest hosted by Harlem's Apollo Theater. Encouraged by songwriter Don Pomus to pursue his talents, the young songwriter's first batch of hits included the number one hit "Don't Be Cruel" and things didn't slow from there. Later voted into Nashville's Songwriter's Hall of Fame, Blackwell may have never appeared in film, though his hits propelled such films as the 1957 musical Jamboree and the 1989 Jerry Lee Lewis biopic Great Balls of Fire! In May of 2002, Blackwell died of a heart attack in Nashville, TN. He was 70.