Ervin Drake, a prolific songwriter who wrote the words and music of “It Was a Very Good Year,” an introspective ballad that helped define the autumn of Frank Sinatra’s career, and the lyrics for “Good Morning Heartache,” a song that Billie Holiday made a mournful jazz standard, died Wednesday at his home in Great Neck, New York. He was 95.

The cause was complications from bladder cancer, said a stepson, Jed Berman.

Drake’s name did not carry the instant recognition of the Gershwin brothers, Irving Berlin or Cole Porter, and his lyrics did not always sparkle with sophisticated wit or polish. Nevertheless, he showed versatility and a workmanlike skill that was widely admired by music publishers and many of the last century’s biggest pop singers and bandleaders.

Those who interpreted his songs included Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Duke Ellington, Joe Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Sam Cooke. His music popped up in movies as varied as Woody Allen’s “Radio Days” (1987) and Spike Lee’s “Jungle Fever” (1991).

The son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe – he had changed his surname from Druckman – Drake began composing music at 12. While attending the City College of New York, he hung out at the offices of music publishers.

He told music scholar Will Friedwald that his breakthrough came in the early 1940s, when he accepted a job that more-experienced tunesmiths turned down: supplying English words to Latin American melodies.

His “Tico-Tico” proved a hit for the Andrews Sisters, followed by “(Yo Te Amo Mucho) And That’s That” for Xavier Cugat. If these were not exactly songs for the ages, Drake soon showed his ability to craft far more enduring lyrics.

His first wife, Ada Sax, died in 1975. He later wed the former Edith Bein, a childhood love and onetime showgirl who broke his heart and inspired parts of “Good Morning Heartache” and “It Was a Very Good Year.”

Besides his wife, survivors include two daughters; his stepson; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.