Music

Friends theme tune writer Allee Willis dies of a heart attack aged 72


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The writer of the Friends theme tune Allee Willis has died at the age of 72.

Her long-term partner Prudence Fenton announced on Instagram that she had passed away on Christmas Eve at her home in Los Angeles after going into cardiac arrest, Variety says.

Sharing a photo of Willis taken in Detroit, Fenton’s caption read: ‘Rest In Boogie Wonderland Nov 10,1947-December 24, 2019.’

The songwriter created the song I’ll Be There For You, performed by The Rembrandts, which became the theme tune to the long-running sitcom which ended in 2004.

She also penned the classic Earth, Wind and Fire track Boogie Wonderland and worked on their popular hit September, as well as the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack.

Willis was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018.

Other songs she worked on include the theme from The Karate Kid, the Pointer Sisters’ Neutron Dance and Lead Me On by Patti LaBelle.

The composer died at her home in Los Angeles (Picture: Redferns)
Willis is best known for composing the Friends theme tune (Picture: Getty)

Speaking to Library of Congress earlier this year about her songwriting style, she said: ‘I think people know my style and recognise my melodies.

‘There’s also a tone to my lyrics—which September is a bit of an exception from—and it’s: If your life isn’t working, get off your a** and do something! If the world is falling apart, you can’t fall apart.’

She also touched on September, calling it ‘eternally uplifting’.

‘The song is associated with happiness—it’s at weddings, bar mitzvahs, barbecues, parties,’ Willis said.

‘The dance floor is empty until they put it on. This one is inescapable. And I never get sick of hearing it no matter how many times I hear it.

‘I don’t think it’s the best song I ever worked on but I do think it’s the best record I ever worked on. And I’m more grateful for that song than anything I’ve ever done. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.’



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