Paul Jabara, Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe Award-winning Songwriter/Actor Celebrated with Digital LP Debuts and Tribute
By: Ellis Nassour
September 28, 2022 – Two of Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe Award-winning songwriter/actor Paul Jabara’s most in demand vinyl albums, Keeping Time and Shut Out are being released for the first time in a digital format in a 30th Anniversary tribute by UMe/Casablanca. Each includes remastered and special bonus tracks, remixes, and 12” disco versions.
OGGG winner Jabara’s most famous and ever popular hit is Donna Summer’s recording of “Last Dance,” from Thank God It’s Friday; not to mention “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough),” a duet by Summer and Barbra Streisand, co-written with Bruce Roberts; and “It’s Raining Men” by the Weather Girls, co-written by Paul Shaffer, who also arranged several tracks on the Shut Out LP.
In addition to the above albums, Jabara also released The Third Album on Casablanca. It’s available on all platforms.
A 30th anniversary tribute on the occasion and placement of a jumbo digital billboard in Times Square [1560 Broadway, East side, between 46th and 47th Streets) took place at an invitation-only reception, hosted by Jabara’s sister, Mrs. Claudette Jabara Hadad and his nephew, Henry Hadad Esq.
Among those in attendance were Kim Sledge from Sister Sledge; musician/music director/composer Paul Shaffer; actress Heather MacRae; composer/pianist Emiliano Messiez; actor/comic Robert I. Rubinsky (Bobby-the-Middle-Aged-Celebrity and original cast member with Jabara in Tom O’Horgan’s production of Hair; veteran actress Maria Smith; author/conductor Dario Salvi; mystical philosopher/interfaith minister/writer Marjorie Lipari (a.k.a. Rev. Mudra); Jonas Herbsman, Esq; media and music industry executives.
Jabara first made his mark onstage in the late 1960s and early ’70s in the musicals Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar and Los Angeles production of Rocky Horror Picture Show; and later in cinema, including two from director John Schlesinger, the Oscar-winning Midnight Cowboy and the controversial adaptation of Nathaniel West’s The Day of the Locust, headlined by Donald Sutherland, in which Jabara, channeling Marlene Dietrich, appeared in full drag singing “Hot Voodoo.”
Early films include The Lords of Flatbush, Pier Palo Pasolini ‘s epic Medea, starring Maria Callas; The Ski Bum, Les Patterson Saves the World, Honky Tonk Freeway, Bob Fosse’s Star 80, Legal Eagles, and Thank God It’s Friday. He also had a strong presence on TV, with appearances on The Merv Griffin Show, The Tonight Show, and American Bandstand.
In 1991, he helped found the Red Ribbon Project, and made and distributed the first AIDS Red Ribbon.
He was admired and well connected internationally: Friends with controversial German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Merv Griffin, Gore Vidal, and among others, Streisand, Andy Warhol, Raquel Welch, and Henry Winkler.
In 1986, designer Halston, Niki Haskell, Italian producer Franco Rossellini (Medea; The Decameron, Django, starring Franco Nero; and the ultra controversial Caligula, adapted by Gore Vidal and starring Malcolm McDowell, Peter O’Toole, Helen Mirren, and John Gielgud); and Warhol hosted a lavish 38thbirthday event at Studio 54 to honor Jabara.
The expanded edition of Shut Out includes Jabara’s early singles “One Man Ain’t Enough,” “Dance,” from the film Mother, Jugs and Speed, along with the 7” edits of “Slow Dancing” and “Shut Out.” The expanded Keeping Time features as a bonus “Disco Queen,” also from the soundtrack to Thank God It’s Friday, in both its LP version and 12” version.
In addition to recording songs he wrote or co-wrote, Jabara penned tunes for Julio Inlesias, Bette Midler, Diana Ross, and, of course, Donna Summer. Trivia: In 1983, Jabara was in awe of young Whitney Houston and added her to his Paul Jabara and Friends LP.
Jabara wrote the music and lyrics, co-wrote the book (with Tom Eyen of Dreamgirls fame), and starred in the 1973 aborted Broadway musical Rachael Lily Rrosenbloom (and Don’t You Ever Forget It), allegedly based on Streisand and to star Midler. Instead, Ellen Greene, giving an over-the-top but incredible performance, starred with quite some back-up from Wayne Cilento, Anita Morris, and André DeShields. Co-producer was Robert Stigwood, manager of the BeeGees and co-producer of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar.
In 2012, the musical, Last Dance, featuring Jabara’s famed disco tunes and directed by Philip Wm. McKinley, played a limited run at New York’s Off Broadway York Theatre. The five-member cast featured future Tony winner Katrina Lenk, Emmy nominee Rob Morrow, and Jack Noseworthy.
A Paul Jabara biography by Dario Salvi is in the works for a 2023 launch.