Musician was a classically trained pianist

Ben Weisman, a classically trained pianist who helped write nearly 60 songs for Elvis Presley, including many for his movies, died May 20 in Los Angeles. He was 85.

Weisman had Alzheimer’s disease and suffered a stroke last month.

Weisman, whom Presley called “the mad professor,” wrote or co-wrote a string of gold- and platinum-selling songs for Presley, including “Follow That Dream” and “Fame and Fortune.”

His songs include “Wooden Heart” for the movie “G.I. Blues,” “Rock-a-Hula Baby” for “Blue Hawaii” and “Crawfish” for “King Creole.”

“Whenever there was a movie (for Elvis) coming up they would call him up and say, ‘We need one for, uh, the clam dance,”‘ Gleicher said.

Weisman also wrote for other pop stars, including Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Bobby Vee and the Beatles.

Weisman was born in Providence, R.I, grew up in Brooklyn and studied at the Juilliard School of Music.

He began writing for Presley in 1956 at the request of his music publisher, Jean Aberbach.

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