This interview was originally broadcast on Aug. 9, 1990.
In 1955, The New York Times called Richard Adler and his writing partner, Jerry Ross, "Broadway's hottest young composers." Together, they wrote the music and lyrics for The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees, two shows that became known for the songs "Hey There," "Steam Heat," "Hernando's Hideaway" and "Whatever Lola Wants."
Both The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees won a Tony Award for best musical, and both were directed by George Abbott. But everything changed for Adler when Ross died in 1955 at the age of 29, just months after Damn Yankees opened.
Last Thursday, Adler died at his home in Southampton, N.Y. He was 90 years old. He spoke to Fresh Air's Terry Gross in 1990, after the publication of his memoir You Gotta Have Heart.