Academy Award-winning songwriter James Griffin died from lung cancer Tuesday at his Tennessee home. He was sixty-one.
A founding member of Seventies soft-rock hitmakers Bread, Griffin won an Oscar in 1971 for co-writing the Carpenters smash “For All We Know,” featured in the movie Lovers and Other Strangers. Griffin played guitar and sang harmony on such Bread hits as “Everything I Own” and “Baby I’m-a Want You,” and wrote Conway Twitty’s hit “Who’s Gonna Know.”
Born in Memphis, Griffin moved to Los Angeles in the early Sixties and was signed to Reprise Records, which released his debut, Summer Holiday, in 1963. Before co-founding Bread in 1968, he wrote songs for Bobby Vee and Rudy Vallee, and acted in films.
In 1970, Bread’s single “Make It With You” topped the charts and began a three-year run of hits. Griffin departed Bread in 1973, after tensions with fellow frontman David Gates over whose songs were selected as singles. Although Griffin returned to the group in 1976, releasing 1977’s Lost Without Your Love, he soon left again, filing a lawsuit against Gates for continuing to use the band name. A judge barred the group from performing, recording and collecting royalty payments until the resolution of the case, which did not occur until 1984.
After splitting with Bread, Griffin continued to perform, as part of Black Tie with former Eagles bassist Randy Meisner and in the country combo the Remingtons.
Griffin is survived by his wife Marti, his daughter Alexis and his son Jacob.