Roger Nichols (songwriter)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Roger Nichols, born in Missoula, MT, is a Grammy-nominated composer and songwriter. He is a multi-instrumentalist who plays violin, guitar, bass, and piano.


Nichols co-wrote many songs with lyricists Paul Williams and Tony Asher (Brian Wilson's lyricist on the Pet Sounds album).

Asher and Nichols co-wrote several songs on Nichols' debut album Roger Nichols And The Small Circle Of Friends (A&M Records, 1968) which was produced by Tommy LiPuma, engineered by Bruce Botnick and featured session contributions from Van Dyke Parks, Randy Newman and Lenny Waronker. Although the album was not a big seller, A&M co-owner Herb Alpert recommended that Nichols be hired by A&M publishing as a staff songwriter, and it was during this period that he was introduced to Paul Williams.

Nichols' collaborations with Paul Williams include "We've Only Just Begun", which was originally written for a bank commercial. They were commissioned to write a jingle after a bank exeuctive heard Nichols' album, and it was composed in a matter of hours on the last day before the deadline.

The commercial (sung by Williams) was heard on TV by Richard Carpenter, who believed it had hit potential and his group The Carpenters subsequently recorded a version, which became a major hit for them in late 1970. It was nominated for a Grammy for Song of the Year, was included on BMI's million performances list and received an award for selling a million copies of sheet music.

Another Nichols-Williams song, "Out in the Country" by Three Dog Night and later by R.E.M., landed in the Top Ten. Six months later, "Rainy Days and Mondays" was another gold record by The Carpenters and Nichols' third gold record in a single year.

Other hits were The Carpenters' "I Won't Last a Day Without You", "Travelin' Boy", and "I Never Had It So Good" covered by Barbra Streisand. He also scored the theme song from Hart to Hart.

Nichols released a Japan only CD in 1995 called "Roger Nichols and a Circle of Friends -- Be Gentle With My Heart", featuring vocalist Sheila O'Connell-Roussell, on which he recorded some of his best known tunes including "We've Only Just Begun", "I Won't Last a Day Without You", and "Rainy Days and Mondays" (which features Paul Williams on guest vocal).

He also released a CD in 2007 with the original Small Circle of Friends called "Full Circle" which brought together the group to cover many of Nichols hits for other bands, including "Out in the Country" and "Let Me Be the One" as well as other tunes penned during Roger's late-60s heyday. 2008 saw an upgraded release of "Full Circle" issued by Steve Stanley's Now Sounds label. This version also contains 5 previously-unreleased, 60s-era demo recordings.

In addition to his extensive musical career, Nichols also is a successful jeweler.[1]

Roger's brother, Ted Nichols, was also a noted composer who briefly served as musical director for the Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio.


  • Roger Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends (1968)
  • Roger Nichols and a Circle of Friends--Be Gentle With My Heart (1995)
  • Roger Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends--Full Circle (2007)
  • Roger Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends--Full Circle (2008; Now Sounds edition with 5 extra tracks.)

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Roger Nichols (songwriter)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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