John & Bertram sing

Cohen Owes Me Ninety-Seven Dollar
from Wallowitch & Ross

Holiday For Strings
from Wallowitch & Ross

Wallowitch was born in the Methodist Hospital in South Philadelphia. He attended Edgar Allan Poe Elementary School, Vare Junior High School, Central High School and Temple University in Philadelphia. Wallowitch spent his youth in a desolate neighborhood in South Philadelphia, dreaming about moving to New York. He finally arrived there in his late teens to study classical piano at Juilliard. In order to survive, he played rehearsal piano for shows, among them Leonard Sillman's New Faces of '52, and began to play at the Duplex, a Greenwich Village saloon.

His first professional appearance was on the Lithuanian Furniture Company Radio Hour (Station WHAT) on which he rendered Irving Berlin's "So Help Me."

Wrote Stephen Holden in The New York Times: "While Noel Coward is no longer around to set the standards for a certain kind of sophisticated songwriting sensibility, Mr. Wallowitch nimbly carries the torch." He displays his predilection for Coward-like wit and satire on such songs as "Cosmetic Surgery", in which he sums up the surgical predilections of friends who are "getting younger than ever" with such dexterity.  

He often wrote about growing up in Philadelphia, and of life with his family. "I See the World Through Your Eyes" is a remembrance of Wallowitch's late brother, photographer Edward Wallowitch (associated with Andy Warhol). "Manhattan, You're A Dream" pays tribute to Wallowitch's mother.

During the 1960s he met three women who would become his greatest champions: singer-pianist Blossom Dearie of which Wallowitch's song "Bruce" is a favorite standard; Dixie Carter of Designing Women who recorded a collection of Wallowitch songs in 1984; and Joanne Beretta. Wallowitch's compositions have also been recorded by Shirley Horn, Tony Bennett, Berri Blair, John Dubois, Marlene VerPlanck, Lynn Lobban, and many others. Among the many fine performers who sing his songs are Lynn Lobban, Alice Levine, Eric Comstock, Yvonne Sherwell, Sue Gandy, Joanne Beretta and Michael Belliveau.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Wallowitch was part of a popular cabaret act with his longtime partner, Bertram Ross. Wallowitch and Ross sang in nightspots ranging from London's Pizza on the Park to the Ballroom in New York City. A CD of their performance cabaret, “Wallowitch and Ross” (Miranda Music) was released in 2003 to accompany the documentary film of the couple, "Wallowitch & Ross: This Moment."

As a solo cabaret entertainer, Wallowitch performed throughout the world and was famous for his long-running hit revue, The World of Wallowitch. He was the recipient of both the MAC and Bistro Awards for Composer of the Year.

Wallowitch performed and recorded the song "Hillary Oh Hillary," for Hillary Clinton during her run for U.S. Senate. Henry and Bobbie Shaffner, veteran members of ASCAP, wrote the lyrics and set them to the tune of the old Groucho Marx song, "Lydia, the Tattooed Lady". Wallowitch and the Shaffners were inspired to write it after Clinton's six-hour long visit to Wallowitch's New York studio, where he performed for the former first lady. Later, he translated the Shaffner's lyrics to Yiddish, to create a version called "Hillary, Oy! Hillary!"

John Wallowitch lived and performed in New York City with his longtime partner Bertram Ross, until Ross's death on Apr 20, 2003.

Wallowitch died on August 15, 2007 in New York City

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John Wallowitch

Recordings

Wallowitch and Ross

A collection of songs from Tin Pan Alley, Hollywood, contemporary selections, and 7 Irving Berlin rarities.

Praise for John

John Wallowitch, along with his longtime partner Bertram Ross, is a songwriter-performer of the highest caliber that the American Cabaret can offer. Unless you have the good fortune to seem this team in person (and good luck with that if you don't live in NYC!) this and the recent short film on John and Bertram are the closest you are going to get to experiencing their special genius. You owe it to yourself, darling.

Buy this one, then study the NYC entertainment listings, fly via LaGuardia, stay at the Carlton, and catch the act! You will thank me. John is one of the great songwriters and wits of the 20th Century, and although he and Bertram have clearly succeeded in the artistic and personal realms, it is a capital crime that his music is not better known. Repent now, and avoid the electric chair and aspersions of bad taste come judgment day.

-Reviewer

John Wallowitch, Singer and Songwriter, Dies at 81.

John Wallowitch, a cabaret singer and prolific songwriter who was a colorful figure in the New York cabaret world for more than 40 years, died yesterday in the Bronx. He was 81.

Read the NYTimes obituary here...