Paul Leka, the songwriter and record producer who co-wrote “Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye),” a song whose catchy refrain has become a favorite taunt of millions of sports fans, died of lung cancer Oct. 12 at a hospice in Sharon, Conn. He was 68.
His death was confirmed by his sister-in-law, Gerri Leka.
As a producer, Mr. Leka’s credits covered a wide range — the soft rock of such 1960s groups as the Left Banke and the Peppermint Rainbow, the easy listening orchestras of Peter Nero and Paul Mauriat, and singer-songwriter Harry Chapin. For Chapin, Mr. Leka produced four albums, including 1974’s “Verities & Balderdash,” which yielded Chapin’s signature song, “Cat’s in the Cradle.”
Mr. Leka is best remembered for his accidental success with “Na Na Hey Hey,” a No. 1 record on the Billboard charts in 1969. It was resurrected in 1977 when Nancy Faust, the organist for the Chicago White Sox, started playing the refrain whenever the opposing batter struck out or the opposing team’s pitcher was removed from the mound.