Wm. Burnett writes “sticky” songs
Nothing brings a project to life like a good sticky song—a song with a tune and lyrics that are so catchy and on-target that they stick in your head and entertain while at the same time working hard to tell a story. Sticky songs give the audience the chance to carry a little piece of your show with them everywhere. Something they can hum, something they can quote, and something special they can share with other fans.
Bill Burnett is a world class sticky song writer, and an award-winning wordsmith and storyteller. He writes funny songs, kids songs, theme songs, learning songs and story-telling ballads, to name just a few. He has written songs for Grammy and Tony award winning singers, television shows; cartoons; promos and advertising; musical theater; ballet companies and even puppets.
Growing up in a musical family, young Bill excelled with his keen sense of arrangement and song writing ability not to mention his memorable baritone voice. (Click HERE to listen to 5-year-old Bill’s first song.) As a young man, Burnett moved to New York City and began writing musicals. His first success starred Patty Lupone and was produced for PBS. (Click HERE to uncover buried treasure.)
Then he stumbled into advertising and his first campaign won him the prestigious Clio Award for the Best Animated Commercial. He went on to be the Creative Director for Fred/Alan Inc., MTV’s advertising agency. Burnett used his sticky music to create ads and promos for MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, VH-1 and Comedy Central. (He also coined the name Comedy Central, by the way.)
In the mid 90’s, he relocated to Los Angeles and became Vice President, Creative Director of Hanna-Barbera, the venerable Hollywood cartoon studio. Here, Burnett discovered he could solve creative problems by writing sticky music for the promos and interstitials that flanked such classic cartoons as The Flintstones, Yogi Bear and Scooby Doo. To this day, the songs Burnett created are heard all over the world in 27 different languages.
Bill continued writing songs for Pebbles Flintstone and Bamm Bamm Rubble, including the theme song and many special songs for the series Cave Kids. Burnett also wrote the hilarious, “I’d Pick Your Nose” for Universal’s Casper which became an instant classic in a classic series.
In 1996, Bill became Story Editor for Cartoon Network’s bizarre series Cow and Chicken. In addition to overseeing all the stories, he wrote scores of outrageously sticky songs, such as “The Ugliest Weenie,” which was nominated for an Annie Award.
In 1997, Burnett began creating his own TV shows. He was writer and
producer for Nickelodeon’s groundbreaking series Oh Yeah, Cartoons!
There he created, produced and wrote eight animated shorts, most
notably ChalkZone—a show about a world on the other side of the
chalkboard where everything that has ever been erased still exists. ChalkZone (currently airing), debuted in 2001 with the highest rated premiere in Nickelodeon’s history and remains at the top of the charts. Every episode contains a one minute music video featuring — you guessed it — a sticky song. Burnett wrote all the “mini-musicals” within the ChalkZone stories themselves
as well, and composed the tremendously catchy opening theme song. ChalkZone has been nominated for numerous awards including two
Annies, a Humantas, and the Imagen award.
During his tenure at Nickelodeon, Burnett wrote the script, music and
lyrics for Nick’s feature-length animated musical The Electric Piper.
This updated retelling of the classic Pied Piper tale was packed to nearly
bursting with sticky songs.
At the same time, Bette Midler decided to include Bill’s comical
Edith Piaf send-up “I Regret Everything” in her Divine Miss Millenium Tour.
The song brought the house down all over the world.
Rhino Records produced a half hour home-video featuring Burnett’s
children’s songs entitled Pet Songs. These songs are so popular with
children the program is being remastered on CD and DVD next year.
In his spare time, Burnett composed full length dance scores for the Twin Cities’ acclaimed James Sewell Ballet Company, and more recently for Los Angeles’ Rosanna Gamson World Wide.
The talented Bill Burnett is a tremendously creative force. Fall 2005
saw his Harvest in Our House a children’s musical, staged as a puppet show at the Skirball Auditorium. In March 2006 his biblical musical Esther’s Destiny premiered in Los Angeles, and he is currently producing a new cartoon pilot for Nickelodeon. He is also composing the scores for two other short animated films.
Burnett performs his songs regularly both solo and with his band the Backboners at Los Angeles venues such as Backstage at the Coffee Gallery, Genghis Cohen and Viper Room.