Perry Botkin Jr., the Oscar-nominated, Grammy-winning composer best known for creating The Young and the Restless' theme song, died on Monday, January 18, at the age of 87. His death was announced by his friend and The Happy Days of Garry Marshall writer John Scheinfeld on Facebook.
"Perry was a magnificently talented composer, arranger, producer and story-teller, perhaps best known for composing the Grammy-winning Nadia's Theme for the CBS soap The Young and the Restless," he wrote. "I first met Perry when I interviewed him for Who Is Harry Nilsson... and was fortunate to continue our friendship through the years, treasuring time spent as part of the "Lunch Bunch" -- a group of Harry Nilsson's friends that congregated monthly at Art's Deli in Studio City.
Loved the comments last week about the late, great, incomparable Harry Nilsson. Today I share the news that the man who...Posted by John Scheinfeld on Thursday, January 21, 2021
Botkin, son of The Beverly Hillbillies composer Perry Botkin Sr., was born in New York on April 16, 1933. He attended Indiana University and pursued the film score program at The University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music. In 1956, he appeared in the television series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. He helped to create the soundtrack for The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, and he received his first composing credit from My Brother the Angel starring Tom and Dick Smothers in 1965.
Perry Botkin Jr. and Barry DeVorzon wrote the song for Stanley Kramer's 1971 drama Bless the Beasts & Children, originally titled "Cotton's Dream." Two years later, Botkin rearranged the tune when CBS selected the song as the theme for The Young and the Restless. In 1976, however, the song became known as "Nadia's Theme" when it was used in a Summer Olympics montage created by ABC's Wild World of Sports that featured Romanian gold medal gymnast Nadia Comaneci. The song was released as a single and proved incredibly popular, peaking at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1976.
In 2001, the song found a new audience when it was sampled in Mary J. Blige's hit "No More Drama." Botkin, however, had no idea that his song had been sampled. "Somebody said, 'Hey, your song is on MTV!"' Botkin told Entertainment Weekly at the time. "I woke up one morning, and I'm on the cutting edge of R&B!"
The Young and the Restless also paid homage to Botkin upon learning about his death.
Botkin's other notable television work includes the ABC Movie of the Week theme, The Smothers Brothers, Mork and Mindy, Happy Days, and Laverne and Shirley. He was an arranger on Jose Feliciano's "Feliz Navidad", Harry Nilsson's "Pandemonium Shadow Show" album, Carly Simon's "Playing Possum" album, and Barbra Streisand's "Stoney End" album. His other works include film scores for Bless the Beasts and the Children, which earned Botkin and De Vorzon an original song Oscar nomination in 1972; Tarzan the Ape Man; and Silent Night, Deadly Night.
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