When Paul Williams and Charles Fox were invited in the late 1970s to write the theme song for “The Love Boat,” Mr. Williams recalled during his opening night at the Café Carlyle last Tuesday, they took it to the singer Jack Jones expecting the television series to last for four episodes at most. Little did they know that it would continue for a decade and that the tune “The Love Boat” would become a staple — and running joke — of Mr. Jones’s shows.
It became a joke again in this show, when Mr. Williams coupled it with one of his biggest hits, “Evergreen,” written with Barbra Streisand for “A Star Is Born.” The reason? Both songs, Mr. Williams said, begin with the word “love.” In “The Love Boat,” love is “exciting and new”; in “Evergreen,” “soft as an easy chair.”
A garrulous storyteller with a self-deprecating air and a keen sense of the absurd, Mr. Williams is a much more complicated person than his lyrics, even the sadder ones like those for “Rainy Days and Mondays,” let on.