Sheldon Allman

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Sheldon Allman was not exactly a household name in the music business -- not unless your household happened to have lots of kids in it, that is, and even then his songs and his singing were probably more…
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Sheldon Allman was not exactly a household name in the music business -- not unless your household happened to have lots of kids in it, that is, and even then his songs and his singing were probably more familiar than his name. Allman was born in Chicago but raised in Canada. After earning a degree from the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music, he did a stint in Canadian defense forces during the Second World War and later established himself as a singer and actor. He also showed some considerable ability as a songwriter, both in "straight" compositions and as a creator of novelty tunes. In the early '60s, he emerged in the latter category on the Del-Fi label with the album Sing Along With Drac, whose title and concept managed to parody both Mitch Miller and monster movies. Amid an acting career that kept him busy on television as well as in feature films, Allman also served as the singing voice for Mr. Ed, the talking horse in the sitcom series of that name.

His more lasting contribution to popular culture came later in the 1960s when he provided the title songs for the Jay Ward-produced cartoon shows George of the Jungle and Super Chicken. The "George of the Jungle" theme, especially, became so well known that it elicited a parody in the style of Led Zeppelin on the Rhino Records CD Rerun Rock. Among Allman's serious compositions were the songs "A Quiet Kind of Love" and "Christmas Is in the Air." Allman passed away at the age of 77 from heart failure -- along with the late Hoyt Curtin (who wrote most of the music for the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon series of the late '50s and the 1960s), he occupies a special niche in the pop culture of the baby-boom era.