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Matt Monro
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Matt Monro Live Matt Monro (01 December 1930 – 07 February 1985) was an English singer who became one of the most popular entertainers on the international music scene during the 1960s. Throughout his 30-year career, he filled cabarets, nightclubs, music halls, and stadiums in Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and Hong Kong to Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas. Early career He was born Terence Edward Parsons in Shoreditch, London and attended Duncombe School in Islington. Affectionately nicknamed "the singing bus driver" (because one of his many occupations prior to achieving fame was driving the Number 27 bus from Highgate to Teddington), he got his first break in 1956 when he became a featured vocalist with the BBC Show Band. An important influence on his early career was the pianist Winifred Atwell, who became his mentor, provided him with his stage name, and helped him sign with Decca Records. In 1957 Monro released Blue and Sentimental, a collection of standards. Despite the album's critical acclaim, Monro languished among the young male singers trying to break through at the end of the 1950s, many of them emulating Frankie Vaughan by recording cover versions of American hits. (Monro even recorded a version of Vaughan's "Garden of Eden" during this period.) A short recording contract with Fontana Records followed. By the end of the 1950s, Monro's mid-decade fame had evaporated, and he returned to relative obscurity. He and his wife Mickie lived from her wages as a song plugger and his royalties from a TV advertising jingle for Camay soap. In 1959 he recorded a country pastiche song, "Bound for Texas", for The Chaplin Revue, a feature-length compilation of Charlie Chaplin shorts. It would be the first of many Monro soundtrack themes. International success Prior to producing the Peter Sellers album Songs For Swinging Sellers in 1960, George Martin asked Monro to record a satirical ditty to help the comedian imitate the song with a Frank Sinatra-type styling. When Sellers heard the recording he decided to use it to open the record rather than record his own version. However, Sellers billed Monro as "Fred Flange," and though it was a demoralizing experience at the time, the incident developed into a lifelong friendship with Martin, who subsequently asked Monro to begin recording with him for EMI's Parlophone record label. Their second single, "Portrait of My Love," reached number three in the UK Singles Chart. By the following year, he had been named Top International Act by Billboard. In February 1961, the British music magazine, NME reported that Monro had won ITV's British Song Contest with "My Kind of Girl". His follow-up hits included that song, plus "Softly as I Leave You" (1962) and the song from the James Bond film From Russia with Love (1963). For the latter, his vocals were not used in the opening titles, as became the standard for the series; they were heard on a radio during the film and over the final credits. At the 1964 Eurovision Song Contest, singing "I Love the Little Things," he finished second behind Italy's 16-year-old Gigliola Cinquetti, despite an "excellent performance of the only English language song of the night." The Austrian entry "Warum Nur Warum?", sung by Udo Jürgens, caught Monro's ear, despite its sixth-place finish, and he recorded an English version titled "Walk Away" (with lyrics by Monro's manager Don Black), earning him another hit single late in 1964. He also had a hit with The Beatles' "Yesterday" in 1965, releasing the first single of the most recorded song of all time, predating even the Beatles' own. The following year, Monro sang the Oscar winning title song for the film, Born Free, which became his signature tune. The opening scene for the film The Italian Job featured Monro singing "On Days Like These." These two movie themes featured lyrics also written by Don Black, who started his career as a renowned songwriter when Monro challenged him to pen the English lyric that became "Walk Away". On 31 December 1976, Monro performed Walk Away on BBC1's A Jubilee Of Music, celebrating British pop music for Queen Elizabeth II's impending Silver Jubilee. Monro achieved fame in the United States when "My Kind of Girl" (1961) and "Walk Away" (1964) hit the Top 40. In 1966, following the death of Nat King Cole, EMI moved Monro from Parlophone to Capitol. After relocating to California and recording several albums with American arrangers, Monro returned to the UK and began appearing on EMI's Columbia label, his final U.S. album release being Close To You in 1970. This LP contained "We're Gonna Change The World", a semi-satirical song about women's liberation, which was not a hit in either the US or the UK but was nevertheless widely played, and became enduringly popular, on BBC Radio 2. He continued touring and recording until just before his death, releasing a single and promoting it throughout the UK and Australia in 1984. In one of his final appearances, he praised Boy George, noting the importance of quality recordings in all musical genres. Death and legacy Monro died from liver cancer in 1985 at the Cromwell Hospital, Kensington, London, leaving a widow, Mickie, and three children: Mitchell, Michele, and Matthew. Mitchell, a professional pilot, also died of cancer in 2004. A Memorial was held in Harrow. The twentieth anniversary of Monro's passing spotlighted the continuing interest in his music, with a Top 10 tribute compilation CD (UK), a No. 1 concert DVD (UK), a BBC TV documentary, and an official website all appearing in 2005. A 2007 compilation CD entitled From Matt With Love reached the Top 40 of the UK Albums Chart during its first week of release. His songs were featured on Friday Night is Music Night on October 8, 2010. In Autumn 2005 Matt Monro Jr. toured the United Kingdom with a tribute concert commemorating the anniversary. Also, EMI re-released Matt Sings Monro, a 1995 duet album that combined his voice with the senior Monro's. Another posthumous Matt Monro duet, with Cliff Richard, appeared on Richard's duets CD, Two's Company, in 2007. Monro never recorded a "live" concert album, preferring the technical purity of the recording studio and wanting his public performances to retain an element of uniqueness. However, in the past few years, commercially-released concert albums have emerged following meticulous remastering of radio and television shows, private recordings he commissioned. These include an intimate 1967 cabaret performance from his first tour of Australia; a 1967 BBC concert with Nelson Riddle; a 1966 arena concert before 24,000 fans in Manila; and one of his final concerts, recorded on the last night of his fourteenth and final Australian tour in 1984. In recent years, many singers riding the resurging wave of retro-pop have cited Matt Monro as a strong influence, including Michael Bublé, Monica Mancini, and Rick Astley. Musicians' biographies regularly note his stylistic influence on their subjects, including Cass Elliot and Karen Carpenter. He continues to feature prominently on radio stations and CD compilations featuring popular easy-listening vocalists. His daughter Michele has written a biography, The Singer's Singer: The Life and Music of Matt Monro. Most of Monro's recordings were produced or overseen by George Martin. Unlike his contemporaries, Monro recorded very few Tin Pan Alley standards during his career. (The exception was Matt Monro sings Hoagy Carmichael, one of his most highly-regarded albums.) Instead, he and Martin searched for material written by promising newcomers and commissioned English lyrics for dramatic melodies written by European composers. He also covered many of the most popular stage and screen songs of the 1950s and 1960s. Over the years, his recordings featured arrangements by Sid Feller, Billy May, John Barry, Buddy Bregman, Kenny Clayton and Colin Keyes, and Martin himself. He also had a long and fruitful musical partnership with British arranger Johnnie Spence. Monro also teamed up with American star arrangers Nelson Riddle and Billy May and leading British bandleader Ted Heath, for concerts broadcast by the BBC. In 1973 Monro released a vocal version of the popular Van der Valk TV-series theme titled "And You Smiled". It was his final hit. In 1977 he recorded "If I Never Sing Another Song", which became a latter- day standard among his contemporaries, its lyrics referring to the "heyday" of fan mail, awards, and other trappings of celebrity that had faded for them. But as for Matt, his light will shine on.
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An Interview with Matt’s Daughter Michele Vince Tracy interviews Michele Monro, To listen to this interview click the link below, to download and play later RIGHT CLICK and choose “Save target as...” Matt Monro Podcast
Interviews by Vince
Buy the Monro Biography Written by his Daughter Michele Monro. Available from ALL Good Bookstores & Amazon
The great Matt Monro sings in Spanish with love. El gran Matt Monro canta en español con el amor. En Espana/Grandes Exitos En Espanol Matt Monro sings beautifully on this "two-fer" CD. This CD is a "two-fer" because it has all the tracks from two of Matt Monro's record albums on one CD; the two albums are entitled En España and Grandes Exitos En Español. Matt's voice remains in excellent form throughout; and we get the rewards of his hard work! The track set begins with the twelve tracks from En España; the first number is "Sueño Imposible (The Impossible Dream)." The musical arrangement sports a 1960s feel with a particularly good arrangement for the piano. Matt delivers this like the pro that he is and he never misses a beat--excellent! "No Me Pesa, Es Mi Hermano (He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" follows; the arrangement makes good use of the horns for this classic pop vocal while Monro sings this passionately. In addition, "La Sombra De Tu Sonrisa (The Shadow Of Your Smile) gives us Matt at his very best; Matt massages the lyrics to this romantic ballad as only a master could. The strings and the percussion work wonders for this number, too. The pop vocal "Puedo Ser Feliz (You've Made Me So very Happy)" begins with a great musical flourish and when Matt comes in this number takes flight! Matt sings joyfully of the happiness he feels because he has found his one true love. The second twelve tracks come from the album entitled Grandes Exitos En Español; and "Qué Tiempo Tan Feliz (Those Were The Days)" stands out as a highlight of this two-fer CD. The musical arrangement reflects good judgment but it is played softly enough so that Matt's vocals remain in the spotlight--great! I predict that you will enjoy "Qué Tiempo Tan Feliz (Those Were The Days)" very, very much. "Nacida Libre (Born Free)" is a Matt Monro instant classic; and when Matt sings this in Spanish he infuses it with a special style that once again makes this ballad all his own! "No Me Dejes (If You Go Away)" showcases Matt's talent to deliver a sensitive, passionate number to perfection in the Spanish language. Impressive! Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. "La Perla Y El Rubí (The Ruby And The Pearl) ends the CD with a wistful, sensitive ballad that Matt performs flawlessly. Terrific! Matt Monro will always be remembered fondly as one of the greatest entertainers of the twentieth century. Matt's legacy lives on through his artistry; and this album more than proves that. I highly recommend this CD for fans of Matt Monro; and fans of classic pop vocals will enjoy this even if their Spanish is less than perfect. Matt's performance is THAT good. In addition, people who like classic pop vocals performed in Spanish will cherish this album for years to come. Enjoy! Buy NOW from Amazon! Comprar ahora de Amazon!
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