Paul Riser conducting a strings section at the famous PS Recording Studios in Chicago in 1982.
Paul Riser is probably the most prolific arranger of hit songs of all time.
He was chief architect for string and horn arrangements at Motown Records from the early 1960s to the late 1970s.
Among Riser’s biggest hits as an arranger are:
“My Girl” (The Temptations)
“Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” (The Temptations), for which he won a Grammy Award
Both versions of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” (Marvin Gaye)(Gladys Knight & The Pips)
“My Cherie Amour,” (Stevie Wonder)
Both versions of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (Diana Ross) (Marvin Gaye & Tammy Terrell)
“If I Were Your Woman” (Gladys Knight & The Pips)
“Tears of A Clown” (Smokey Robinson & The Miracles).
He is also the composer of “What Becomes of The Broken Hearted” (Jimmy Ruffin).
Outside the Motown organisation he achieved hits records for such artist as:
“Car Wash” (Rose Royce) certified gold and platinum by the RIAA and BPI
“Never Too Much” (Luther Vandross), certified gold and platinum by the RIAA
“Two Hearts” (Phil Collins) silver certification by the BPI
“I Believe I Can Fly” (R. Kelly) certified gold and platinum by the RIAA and BP
His arrangements can also be heard on many recording projects for artists ranging from The Carpenters, Carly Simon, Quincy Jones, The Doobie Brothers, Tom Jones, Natalie Cole, Pharoah Sanders, Kiki Dee, Johnny Mathis, Patti LaBelle, Stephanie Mills, Anita Baker, Roberta Flack, Michael McDonald, Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige.
He was responsible for the string arrangement on Keith Washington’s only R&B number one single; “Kissing You” (1991), extracted from the gold album “Making Time For Love” on the Qwest label.
In 1996, Kelly released one of his most successful singles with “I Believe I Can Fly”, an inspirational song originally released on the soundtrack for the film “Space Jam”. “I Believe I Can Fly” reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the UK Pop Singles Charts for three weeks and won three Grammy Awards in 1997.
As we fast forward to the 1990s and the early 21st century, we witness other great achievements by Paul Riser, collaborating with R. Kelly on the album “Chocolate Factory” which has sold 2.5 million copies in America since its release in 2003. He is one of few legendary string and horn arrangers to have been credited on hit records over four decades.