Writer penned lyrics for popular folk acts

Harvey Geller, lyricist and music journalist who worked as a sales exec for Daily Variety and served as West Coast editor of Cash Box magazine, died March 12 in Tarzana, Calif., after a brief illness. He was 86.

Geller also worked as a columnist, feature writer and reviewer, and as a sales executive for Billboard magazine.

Geller’s songs were recorded by groups such as the Kingston Trio, the Brothers Four and the River City Ramblers and included such compositions as “Blue Water Line,” “Charleston Town” and “Mark Twain.” He was recognized as an authority on the history of popular music dating back to the Big Band swing era and served for many years on various selection committees of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

   In addition, Geller founded several publishing companies, including Clarinet Music Publishing, and was a prolific writer of liner notes for album jackets.

Born in New York, Geller served in Gen. George S. Patton’s U.S. Third Army in the Battle of Argentan two and a half months after the D-Day invasion in 1944 and was part of the division that liberated Paris later that year. After the war, he graduated from New York U. and began his music career as a song plugger before moving to California in 1958 and becoming promotion manager for Bobby Darin.

He is survived by a daughter, a son, two brothers and six grandchildren.

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