Thursday, May 5, 2011

Composers of the Month: Guy Hemric and Jerry Styner

Lyricist Guy Hemric and composer Jerry Styner may have been the most prolific songwriting team working in movie musicals in the 1960s. And yet, they are hardly household names since their songs appeared principally in the Beach Party movies. Considered B-pictures when originally released, the Beach Party musicals have gained a loyal following over the years. Part of the reason is undoubtedly due to the songs performed by artists such as Frankie & Annette, Stevie Wonder, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, Nancy Sinatra, The Pyramids, and others.

Hemric and Styner wrote songs for all seven Beach Party films. Some of the songs were sweet romantic bubblegum (e.g., "A Boy Needs a Girl") or twistin' party music ("Beach Blanket Bingo"). But my two favorite songs are:  "It Only Hurts When I Cry," a first-rate pop tune performed by Donna Loren in Beach Blanket Bingo and "Follow Your Leader," a smart comic classic sung by Harvey Lembeck in Bingo and reprised in How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (in the clip below, the song starts about a minute into the scene) .

Born in 1936, Jerry Styner first wrote songs with Hemric in 1963's Beach Party. Styner also provided music for other American International Pictures in the 1960s. He holds an engineering degree from the University of Southern California. He now serves as a pastor at a church in California.

Guy Hemric moved to L.A. in 1952 and held numerous jobs before breaking into the music business. In addition to Styner, he also worked with other composers such as Mike Curb (who became a Lieutenant Governor in Califronia). Hemric co-wrote a big French hit for Petula Clark called "Ne Joue Pas" (aka "What Good Does it Do Me"). He died from colon cancer in 1993 at age 61.


  1. Wonderful spotlight!

    If I had to choose a favourite from BBB it would be "I Think You Think", but thankfully, no one has ever asked me to choose only one.

  2. That's a very nice Frankie & Annette duet, Caftan Woman. BBB probably had the best score of the BP movies. But there are wonderful songs throughout the series. I'm also fond of "Among the Young" (sung by Donna Loren) and Annette's "Stuffed Animal" song from PAJAMA PARTY.

  3. This is a fun and timely tribute to Hemric and Styne. I really like both the songs you posted, Rick. The clever lyrics in "I Am My Ideal" include Von Zipper singing "I've got class, I'm full of it!" which always makes me smile. Super post!

  4. I'm also a fan of "I Think You Think", but my favorite from BBB is "It Only Hurts When I Cry" where all the cast sits and listens to Donna Loren sing. And I've said this before, but it should be said again: "Beach Blanket Biiiiingo! Beach Blanket Biiiiingo! Beach Blanket Biiiiingo! That's the name of the game!" Thanks for a most interesting post, Rick!

  5. Sark, reference the scene with Donna, I love it when we see Bonehead crying as he listens to the song--then the camera tilts down and we see that Boney is peeling an onion.

  6. I realize I'm a couple years late here, but, for the record, it's "Hemric and Styner," not "Styne." I'm pretty sure as Jerry is my father. Growing up I was always partial to "After the Party," but I'd never seen "It Only Hurts When I Cry" and I'm pretty impressed with that one too. Thanks for remembering the music of a couple great artists!

    1. Thanks for the comment! I fixed the typo in the first sentence.