George Gerdes - Obituary (1971). OBITUARY was George Gerdes' first release on United Artists back in 1972. The title comes from a poem George penned lamenting the passing an unknown mythical singer-songwriter. The songwriter was not only mythical, he was in fact fictional. He symbolizes the rough reality in the world of Tin Pan Alley and beyond. Remember that when George signed that contract to a major label, the singer-songwriter craze was hitting its zenith. United Artists took over Liberty Records and was in search of a new major troubadour since Liberty's minstrel of the dawn, Gordon Lightfoot, had left for the greener contract pastures of Reprise Records, started by Sinatra and distributed by Warner Brothers. Gerdes' original intention was to decorate the album cover with newspaper obituaries he had cut and saved of songwriters passed on and probably soon forgotten (if not already). The most reknown of the obits would have been Gus Edwards, a.k.a. "Ukelele Ike" who was also the voice of Jimminy Cricket for Walt Disney. Unfortunately for George, the legal complications of getting clearance for all of these obits made such a concept impractical.
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