Geoff Leonard

Geoff Leonard

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

Episode of Oh Boy! on 16mm film discovered, to be screened at BFI, London

Chris Perry of Kaleidoscope, the company who specialise in lost TV shows, has recently announced the discovery of an episode of Oh Boy! on 16mm film.

This is important news for Barry fans as it features a performance of "Farrago" by the John Barry Seven, and, as such, is their earliest TV appearance known to exist on film.

It also features the TV debuts of three members who had recently joined the group: Dougie Wright, Dennis King & Vic Flick.

Full details are:

Saturday 15th November 1958

'OH BOY!' SHOW # 10 (compèred by Tony Hall)

Lord Rockingham's XI, Red Price, Cherry Wainer, The Vernons Girls, The Dallas Boys, Neville Taylor & The Cutters

Cliff Richard & The Drifters
Cuddly Dudley
The John Barry Seven
Pat Lawrence
Peter Elliott


1. ROSALIE/TV HOP (Cliff Richard & 2 Vernons Girls)
2. FARRAGO (John Barry Seven)
3. MARGARET (Neville Taylor & Cutters)
4. DING DONG (Vernons Girls)
6. MR LEE (Pat Lawrence)
7. DRUNKEN SAILOR (Dallas Boys)
8. BLUE CHA-CHA (Cherry Wainer)
9. HIGH CLASS BABY (Cliff Richard & The Drifters)
10.WHO ARE THEY TO SAY (Three Vernons Girls)
11.PROMISE ME LOVE (Peter Elliott)
12.WEEKEND (Red Price Solo)
13.REX ROCKS (Extended Version) (Lord Rockingham's XI)

The show will be screened on Saturday 22nd July 2017, at BFI South Bank, London. Tickets will be on sale 6th June from BFI.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

  Soundtracks & Singles1 s

Taken from the Fantastic Voyage press release:

John Barry – one of the most distinguished composers of film music in the world – receives worthy acknowledgement in the form of Soundtracks & Singles 1963 – 1966, a 3CD retrospective which highlights a particularly fertile period. An appropriate accompaniment, November also sees the release of a long out of print 180 gram vinyl edition of the original Zulu soundtrack.

One of Barry's most iconic works, the 1964 Zulu soundtrack is a momentous early achievement that sits comfortably with his famed contributions to the James Bond series. Mastered from original stereo tapes and featuring bit part narration by Richard Burton, the original music of the BAFTA-nominated film is here fleshed out with Southern African-influenced beat instrumentals performed by the John Barry Seven. As well as a vinyl edition housed in original artwork and label design, Zulu also forms the first disc of Soundtracks & Singles.

Succeeding Zulu a year after and compiled on the second disc of the Soundtracks & Singles 1963 – 1966 collection is the original soundtrack to 1965's Four In The Morning, a critically acclaimed film which won plaudits for a young Judi Dench. Presented in mono format, as well as stereo, its soundtrack is a more subdued, haunting entry in Barry’s oeuvre. On this edition, the atmosphere of the film is further ingrained through dialogue excerpts featuring Dench, Ann Lynn, Norman Rodway, Brian Phelan and Joe Melia. Both Zulu and Four In The Morning were originally released on British independent label Ember, where John Barry was associate producer and head of A&R in the early sixties.

Compiled on the final part of the set are Barry's other Ember recordings, productions which include an alternative organ-accompanied version of the From Russia With Love theme – a major UK hit single in its time – and a curio centred around the Profumo scandal, mysteriously credited to a certain 'Miss X'. The 60s masterworks of a true British maestro lovingly restored.

The box-set also includes an 8-page booklet with full track-details and a rather nice, if familiar, period photo of John Barry.

Sunday, 23 February 2003 15:00

Bond soundtrack re-issues; an overview

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

23 February 2003
Geoff Leonard

Right, I’ve now got all the first wave of Bond soundtrack re-issues, so it’s time for my overview. And I won’t be in the slightest influenced by the fact that I had to pay VAT (even though they were labelled as coming from Germany) on my parcel from Amazon!

First of all I can only agree with all those who’ve already said how wonderful the new music is and what an improvement there is in the overall sound. In fact, given the age of some of the masters I doubt we could have expected anything better, so well done to all concerned. I’m not going to carp about the sequencing of the extra music since that has been explained elsewhere as being a legal requirement of some kind. I find it quite baffling but am willing to accept it. I’m not going to analyse all the tracks since many others have already done so. But I will highlight DAF & OHMSS as producing moments I had completely forgotten about or maybe never heard properly in the first place. It is truly like listening to new albums!

Obviously the music is of paramount importance. In fact, many people would say it’s all that matters and I have some sympathy with that view. But only some sympathy. Because if you are going to take on a job like this, you should make every effort to get it *all* done properly. If you haven’t got the time, then pass and recommend somebody else. I’m referring to the packaging. Quite frankly, it isn’t good enough and in my opinion sticks out like a sore thumb in comparison with the music.

Firstly the covers, or the front page of the booklets. I understand EMI had to borrow Jon Burlingame’s original LPs in order to be able to re-create this original artwork. That’s fine and they turned out OK, but was it absolutely necessary to re-create the originals? After all, EMI were working with MGM on this project and I was told had full access to their photo archives. Surely they could have created something new or at least different. Incidentally, in thanking him, they spelt Jon’s name as John throughout every single CD!

Then there are the other typos. Granted, we all make occasional typos, even Play It Again releases usually had at least one error! But we got the names of the artists and the tracks right. What is so difficult about Matt Monro? On the original LP it was Matt Monroe and now it is Matt Munro. And Kerin Bey instead of Kerim Bey, The Chase Bond Theme instead of The Chase Bomb Theme, Afganistan instead of Afghanistan, for example. That’s just some of the obvious ones.

Now, Pete Walker, Gareth Bramley and I were asked to produce chart positions, studios, engineers, musicians etc., for the booklet. In most cases these were utilised. Not, however, in the case of Octopussy, FYEO and TLD. Why not? Well, apparently because they decided to save money and reproduce the original Ryko booklets. But hold on, they did make *some* changes. Like the back cover and the list of ‘thanks’. So what was the big deal which prevented them from including the above info? There was plenty of room. And whilst on the subject of Ryko, it would have been nice to have been told in advance that EMI were going to use the notes Pete and I wrote for The Living Daylights and the notes I co-wrote (so say) with Lukas Kendall for Octopussy. Then we could have made some adjustments in view of the time which has elapsed since they were written. For instance, the notes for Octopussy begin: "At 35 years, with 17 feature films to date …..".

Photographs. Again, slightly disappointing in many cases since they are often poorly reproduced, too dark etc. Some from Diamonds are Forever are actually displayed as a mirror image! At EMI’s request, we supplied them with many photos of John Barry, Vic Flick etc., many of which were free to use. As far as I can see not a single one has been used, though obviously the second batch of CDs have yet to be released. But interesting though the film photos are, they don’t include too many we haven’t already seen and this is a soundtrack album. Wouldn’t photos of the composers and singers be more relevant?

Liner notes. I must be careful here as I don’t want it to sound like sour grapes in that I wasn’t asked to write anything myself (apart from the two I wasn’t told I was doing). However, although Jeff Bond’s summaries are very good, I think in the circumstances (the films being so well-known) he should have written more about the music and less about the plot. Or something about the composer, music and plot. When Pete and I were writing liner notes for, say, Castle, the subject matter was often so obscure (‘May Morning’ anybody?) we felt justified in spending time on the plot, especially as in many cases we knew nothing about the music or much about the composer at the time of writing. But the Bond composers and music? Come on!!!

No, despite the wonderful music, I feel this is a job done only 75% right. No one can persuade me that a company of the size of EMI could not afford a few more dollars for better looking booklets. Let’s be honest, the Octopussy & TLD booklets were awful in that foldout format. It was a great opportunity to put it right.

Finally, John Barry. Was he consulted about this project? I see no thanks to him so I assume not. I just wondered if he might have a copy of the Moonraker masters, for example, since he was at the recording sessions in Paris. Somehow I cannot see him travelling back to America without them! I think it’s always advisable to contact the composers in cases like these. You never know what extra info they might produce.

Geoff Leonard.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

Geoff Leonard
15 June, 2002

Next month Silva Screen are to issue the first ever UK CD release of The Ipcress File and I'm fortunate enough to own a pre-release copy of it.

One wondered how different it would be from the expensive Japanese release, but I'm very, very pleased with it.

The sound is certainly improved (the Jap CD turns out to have been remastered from vinyl) and not only that, there has been a slight adjustment in the running order of the tracks so the number of 'Man Alone' cues are broken up somewhat. 'Goodbye Harry' has been rejoined (the way it originally was on the UK LP).

There are some dialogue clips. Now, I already know this will be disliked by some people but, in my opinion, they work really well - in fact, far more so than the kind of thing we heard on some of those Ryko releases. They actually help towards creating the atmosphere and appreciating the story-line of the film, and, as such, were well-chosen. There is even a secret bonus track - something I asked for but didn't expect to get!! For those who really just want to hear the music, well, it's easy enough to programme out the dialogue.

The booklet. This is something of a departure, too, since it's not the normal glossy paper affair. Virtually all black and white contents within, I'm sure deliberately, it really does enhance the idea of a secret 'dossier'. There are details about the original book, the making of the film, details of the cast and the music.

I feel sure all John Barry fans will buy it anyway, but more importantly it should have more general appeal. I can see magazines like Mojo, Empire and Loaded etc., loving it. This is good news because if it does well, maybe we shall see 'Tamarind Seed' at long last - Carlton being the same licensing company involved.

Geoff Leonard

Tuesday, 01 January 2002 14:21

The Ultimate John Barry

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

EMI 7243 5 35934 2 1

Geoff Leonard

EMI have just issued yet another John Barry compilation, this time calling it 'The Ultimate John Barry'. Of course it is far from being that, but it is a fairly interesting mix of tracks ranging from the sublime (Cutty Sark) to the ridiculous (Twelfth Street Rag). The full track listing is:

1. Walk Don't Run
2. Beat For Beatniks
3. Blues For Beatniks
4. Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White
5. Hit And Miss
6. It Doesn't Matter Anymore
7. Black Stockings
8. Get Lost Jack Frost
9. Blueberry Hill
10. Volare
11. Cutty Sark
12. Keep A Walkin'
13. I'll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time
14. The Stripper
15. The James Bond Theme
16. Diamonds Are Forever - Shirley Bassey
17. Goldfinger - Shirley Bassey
18. Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - Shirley Bassey
19. The Magnificent Seven
20. Midnight Cowboy
21. Never Let Go
22. Unchained Melody
23. Spanish Harlem
24. Twelfth Street Rag

Listening to this compilation brings home just how much Vic Flick contributed to the success of John Barry’s early career.  I haven’t counted, but I reckon his guitar features prominently on two-thirds of these tracks, and is quite probably present on most of the others, too!

When I originally told John EMI was going to release his recording of ‘Unchained Melody’, he told me he had never recorded it!   What he did record was a vocal version by Johnny De Little which he arranged and accompanied.  The latter is included on ‘John Barry – The Hits & The Misses’, and although I’ve not compared the two, it does seem possible that he simply took his orchestral backing track and added a solo saxophone in place of the vocal.

Anyway, as I was looking through the list I saw ‘Keep A Walkin'’ as the 12th track.  I knew the title but only as the 'B' side of a single released by an obscure singer called Tony Rocco, which JB did accompany back in ‘62.  In fact, we included the A-side, ‘Stalemate’, on ‘The Hits & The Misses’.

So, I thought maybe there was an orchestral version of this song available, although as JB didn't write it, that seemed unlikely. On playing it, it *is* the Tony Rocco vocal but according to the credit, EMI appear to think it's a JB7 track!  Maybe it’s not that important but it seems amazing to me that a company like EMI can release a CD like that, and include a wrong track.  Because, I can't see how they could have meant to include it - it sticks out like a sore thumb, amongst the only other vocals – all by Shirley Bassey!!

The booklet has four pages of sleeve notes by Chris White.  They are certainly good enough for a basic guide to John Barry but reveal nothing new to the committed fan.  No photos are included, save for the quite striking images of John on the cover, but remember this is at best a mid-priced release.

Geoff Leonard

Tuesday, 01 January 2002 13:49

Lounge Legends

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

 Universal 585 317-2
 Geoff Leonard

 On the face of it, Lounge Legends seems to be yet another re-working of John Barry’s Polydor back-catalogue.  However, a more careful look through the tracks reveals a few gems.

 The advantage the German arm of Universal had in putting together this compilation was that since Polydor UK did their own early nineties release, Universal have joined forces with MCA, Decca & Polydor to form a vast empire.  By a stroke of good fortune, this re-structuring also brings into play other Barry releases from those labels.  So along with the standard fare from the ‘Play It Again’ sessions, we also get a first release on CD for Paul Williams’ unused vocal from ‘Day Of The Locust’, Scott Walker’s version  of ‘This Way Mary’ and an extended version of ‘Down Deep Inside’ from Donna Summer.

 The Cass Elliott vocal from ‘Monte Walsh’ has been out on CD, but it’s nonetheless welcome here, as is the inclusion of the theme from ‘The Ipcress File’, making its debut on a Universal compilation.

 Aside from this, we have the mixture much as before with small scale versions of ‘Play It Again’, ‘Billy’ & ‘A Doll’s House’ competing with the much richer ‘Midnight Cowboy’ (from ‘The Concert’), the delicate and haunting ‘The Whisperers’ and the two quite different TV themes – ‘Orson Welles Great Mysteries’ & ‘The Adventurer’.

 The liner notes, satisfyingly printed in English, are disappointing only in length.   There are virtually 3 blank pages out of the 8-page booklet – a shocking waste of resources.  Though it’s a nice idea to show a montage of cover artwork from some of the original sources for these tracks.

 The only real disappointment with this compilation is the absence of any tracks from ‘Americans’ with the suggestion that Polydor no longer own the rights to this sought-after album.

  1. This Way Mary
  2. Diamonds Are Forever
  3. Play It Again
  4. A Doll's House
  5. The Good Times Are Comin’ - Cass Elliott
  6. Follow, Follow
  7. Lolita
  8.Theme from The I.P.C.R.E.S.S. File
  9. Lonely Hearts - Paul Williams
 10. Sail The Summer Winds
 11. Midnight Cowboy
 12. Down Deep Inside - Donna Summer
 13. Orson Welles' Great Mysteries
 14. Boom!
 15. The Whisperers
 16. Walkabout
 17. This Way Mary - Scott Walker
 18. The Adventurer
 19. Billy
 20. We Have All The Time In The World

 Geoff Leonard

Sunday, 03 September 2000 14:30

The John Barry interview - 1994

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn


Geoff Leonard

For John Barry, the 3rd November of 1994 proved to be much more than just another birthday for him. On that day, much to his obvious delight, his wife Laurie gave birth to a baby - Jonpatrick - their first child, and Barry's first son (he already has three grown-up daughters). Barry shows no sign of slowing down his heavy schedule and when we spoke in December, he was enthusiastically starting work on a project which involves 'Imax', a recently developed film technique, which uses 3-D and seventy-foot high screens. However, we began our conversation by talking about his latest film score, 'The Specialist', before turning to other recently completed and forthcoming projects.

John, The Specialist is quite different from the projects you've tackled recently, what particularly interested you about the film?

Well, Stallone usually concentrates on action type films. This film wasn't that, it was more of a movie film-noire style, and it was that which attracted me to it. Another thing I particularly liked was the fact that the Stallone character and the Sharon Stone character don't meet until about a third of the way through the movie. The fact that he stalks her, they have telephone contact, and he starts to fall in love with her just through this type of contact, I found really interesting. So the music has a major part to play, I felt, in getting that relationship going, because as they weren't actually physically together from the start, it helped set the mood between the two of them. I thought that was something I'd never had to do before in a movie.

The CD album is almost an hour long, does this reflect the fact there is plenty of music in the film?

Yes, there is a lot of music in the movie. I suppose there are only two really big action sequences, one at the beginning and one at the end, but what also interested me was that there wasn't the usual kind of car chase thing with lots of noise. The excitement in the movie was the build-up to the explosion each time. So although the audience know what's going to happen, I use a lot of red-herring cues, you build each time and then as the explosion happens the noise cuts off. So it wasn't a typical action film. You know, I get offered a lot of action scripts, and having done most of the Bond films, I really want to do something a little different. I also thought it would be good to do a big-audience picture, which it has proved to be. So, although I admit it's a very popular genre, it allowed me to do something different from the usual action score.

Who first approached you to do it, and did you then follow the usual pattern of reading the script and seeing the film, or some footage?

The producer, Jerry Weintraub, initially approached me and then I had a meeting with Luis Llosa, the director. The film was made completely on location in Miami, and although I don't normally go to locations, I wanted to see some footage and on this occasion they had everything based in the Fontainbleau Hotel there - all the cutting and editing rooms were actually in the Hotel. (Note: the pool scenes at the beginning of 'Goldfinger' were shot at this hotel.) So I went down there for a couple of days, saw them shooting some stuff, saw a lot of footage, and then came back here to await the fine cut.

How long did it take to write and record the score?

I got the main thematic material way ahead, in fact, when I knew I was going to be doing it. Then I recorded those two tracks in July in London, with the Royal Philharmonic, when I was doing my Moviola 2 album, for inclusion on the song album they've put out, which features Gloria Estefan with Emilio producing. I did those tracks at an early stage because if I'd waited until I scored the movie I knew I wouldn't have time to include them on the song-score album. Then we recorded all the music in Los Angeles in September, and I used an eighty-piece orchestra.

I notice you've used Ronnie Lang (alto-sax) and Michael Lang (piano) for solos on the album, both of whom have played for you before. Do you like to request individual musicians in this way?

Yes, and I consider they are both extraordinary musicians. Ronnie, of course, used to play for the Harry James band, and so he comes from that big-band era. His playing still has that wonderful edge, and he understands exactly what to do. When you talk to him it's like a director talking to an actor, make it lighter or heavier, or whatever - he just drops straight in there. Michael Lang is a wonderfully inventive pianist.

Would you do the same thing when you're recording in the UK, in asking for certain players, or do you leave it all to the judgement of the fixer?

Well in London I have a marvellous alto-sax player, David White, whom we used on the first Moviola album. He played solos on Body Heat and The Cotton Club and is a really wonderful musician.

I'm looking forward to seeing the film; certainly the score suggests a mood similar to some moments in Body Heat and Hammett, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Yes, I love that kind of genre, and the director, Luis Llosa, really captured the feel of it. The lighting, too, is very special. Luis is Peruvian, incidentally, and this is only the second film he's made in America - Sniper was the first.

The film didn't get brilliant reviews in America but still did well at the box-office. I imagine they must have great hopes for it when it opens in Britain.

It did huge business in America. I believe worldwide so far it's done 120 million dollars, which can't be bad! I think Warners knew it was the kind of film that wouldn't necessarily get good reviews. They didn't show it to the press beforehand, which always gets a back-lash, but instead they ran a big TV campaign just two weeks before it opened, with saturation coverage, and it achieved the biggest October opening, taking around 14 million dollars during the first weekend.

Returning to the album, the CD seems to run almost without noticeable gaps between tracks, giving the effect of a suite - was this a deliberate policy?

Right, I like doing that. I did that with my engineer, Shawn Murphy, and if you remember we achieved a similar effect on my Dances With Wolves album. I love making it fit together in that way, almost as one piece.

Now, you mentioned Moviola Two - can you tell me anything about that project?

Yes, I believe the album will be out in April, I'm in the process of getting the artwork together as we speak. All the music was recorded at George Martin's Air studio in Hampstead, London during July. There is a Bond suite that includes Goldfinger, The James Bond Theme, From Russia With Love, Thunderball, 007, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever, All Time High (Octopussy). Themes from Until September, King Kong, Zulu. Then we have an action suite from Dances With Wolves - Pawnee Attack, Kicking Bird's Gift, Journey To Fort Sedgewick, Two Socks - The Wolf Theme, Farewell and Finale (parts one and 2). Finally the two tracks from The Specialist we talked about earlier. I'm very excited about it, I think it makes a wonderful album.

Turning to your musical, Billy, I saw a piece in a local paper recently which quoted Jason Donovan as saying he was thinking over an offer to star in the title role. Is there anything in this?

Absolutely, we're definitely doing it again this year with Jason playing Billy. I believe we go into rehearsals in May and open in Manchester in early July, before hopefully moving into the West End.

That's excellent news, as it was a major disappointment a few years ago when a revival was cancelled at the last moment due to problems with the production company. Are you confident of no hitches on this occasion?

Yes, we've some excellent people involved this time, and I'm particularly pleased that Patrick Garland will be back directing.

I saw the show for the first time a few weeks ago in Bristol, through a performance by the junior section of the Bristol Amateur Operatic Society.

Oh really, what was it like?

Well, bearing in mind it was an amateur production, I thought they put a lot of hard work and energy into it. I heard and enjoyed the two new songs you wrote with Don Black, and was very impressed with the lad who played Billy. I hadn't realised quite what a demanding part it is.

Oh yes, he's on the go constantly - virtually on stage throughout - which is why it's been so difficult to cast.

Now, in the new year we shall see CD reissues of King Rat, The Wrong Box, The Lion in Winter, and a gold edition of Dances with Wolves. I once heard Jerry Goldsmith talking at a film music seminar when he said he didn't care for all these reissues, as he considered there was already far too much of his music available on CD. What is your reaction to these reissues?

No, I don't really go along with that. In fact, Dances with Wolves is going to be a very special kind of package, and I quite like these old scores coming out - they're being put together in an excellent fashion. There are one or two of my very old scores I could well do without being reissued (laughs).

Do you mean as with Four in the Morning?

Yes, exactly. That was a very sparse score. I mean, it worked perfectly for the movie, but it's not a piece you want to listen to away from the movie. It was a very dark picture with a very limited budget, like an oboe and four cellos or something - I don't really think the score is for record consumption. But I love my score for The Wrong Box and for King Rat which was my very first Hollywood score - Bryan Forbes took me over there for that one.

I'm sure you remember a film you scored early in the sixties - The Party's Over - directed by Guy Hamilton. EMI apparently have a recording of the theme which they might release on a third volume of their EMI Years series. Was this simply your arrangement of the standard song?

Well let me say straight away that The Party's Over was a very low budget black and white film. They said they were going to buy the rights to the song to be able to include it in the film, and I told them they wouldn't be able to afford it - the cost would exceed their total budget for the film. Which proved to be the case. So I wrote a song called 'Time Waits For No Man' for Annie Ross, but there was nothing called 'The Party's Over', so I don't know what this theme is they have.

I noticed 'Unchained Melody' is also listed.

Well, I didn't do that. In fact, there were one or two things on that second volume they did that I don't recall. I mean you always remember things like that. You might have forgotten you did it but as soon as you hear the first few notes you think, "Christ, yes I did do that!" When I look back, there was an amazing amount of stuff recorded in a very short period of time. It was as though we were in Abbey Road every week!

John, as you know the Louis Armstrong recording of 'We Have All The Time In The World' has recently been a huge hit in Britain having reached number 3 in the singles charts - you've told the story before about how it was originally only successful in Italy. Wasn't it a drunken DJ who played it all night?

I don't know whether he was drunk! Did I say he was drunk? No, it was this one guy in Rome who liked it and played it and as a result we had a number one hit for months. When On Her Majesty's Secret Service opened it was the only place in the world where we had any success with the song.

I suppose the song was rather hidden away in the film.

Yes, but also O.H.M.S.S. was the first of the Bond films not to make any real money.

I thought it was a fine film and maybe if Sean Connery had played Bond it could have been different.

Yes, I don't think George Lazenby ever really connected with the part. On the other hand, I thought the film had some of the best action sequences in the series, with excellent direction from Peter Hunt.

Now you wrote the song with Hal David, after previously working mainly with Leslie Bricusse orDon Black - how did this collaboration come about?

Well, I can't recall the circumstances exactly, but Hal was in London at the time which is how we met, and at that stage we already knew we weren't going to have a song called 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' - I mean, what can you do with a title like that! But, there was a line in the script, almost the last line - "We have all the time in the world", as his wife gets killed, which was also in Fleming's original novel, and I liked that as a title very much. Now I'd always liked Walter Huston singing 'September Song' in the film 'September Affair', where as an older character he sang about his life in a kind of reflective vein. So, I suggested to Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman that Louis Armstrong would be ideal to sing our song in this fashion.

So he was your suggestion?

Yes, and it was quite frightening really, because until then we'd gone for current pop stars of the day like Tom Jones and Nancy Sinatra. So this was quite a departure. Anyway, they both loved the idea, so we called his agent and Louis was still in hospital actually at that stage - he'd been there for about a year. But he said he'd love to do it. He came out of hospital and sadly it was the last song he ever recorded. We did it in New York, at the old A & R Studios, which have since been pulled down. The engineer on that session was Phil Ramone, who produces all the Sinatra sessions and all those wonderful Billy Joel songs. Although we recorded the song in New York, the rest of the score was done as usual at CTS in London.

Do you mind that the song has become a hit now in Britain probably only because of the success of the Guinness advert?

Absolutely not. I think Guinness is a hell of a drink! It's ironic in a way that somebody's selling ale and you get a hit out of it. But that's the way of the world. Actually, Hal David came to tea on Sunday and we discussed another song we wrote. You might remember Monte Walsh, my very first Western that starred Lee Marvin and Jack Palance. I thought it was a very interesting movie but it wasn't particularly successful. Anyway, we wrote a song for the movie called 'The Good Times Are Coming' which was sung by Mama Cass. I said to Hal that I didn't think I had a tape of it anywhere, but I'd love to get it released again, because I loved that song. It turned out to be one of Hal's favourites too, so we're going to see what we can do.

You decided not to do the Nicholas Cage film, It Could Happen To You, after problems with the producer. I saw the soundtrack recently which is now full of pop songs, and this also happened with The Bodyguard - a film that you also once considered scoring. Would you say producers are interfering more these days, and is this why you've left the occasional project?

Well that wasn't the reason I didn't do those films, it was something else. No, funnily enough, Emilio Estefan wrote many songs for The Specialist before I got involved and I think initially they thought it was going to be more of a song score. But you could tell from reading the script that it wouldn't work, because it was so specific in its action and its detail and its momentum that your instincts tell you that songs are not going to carry those moments. So I think some songs got rather short shrift in the movie - which I'm sad about, but it's one of those things - you can't have it all ways all of the time.

What about future projects, John, you've mentioned Billy, but is anything else on the horizon? Travels With Charlie, for example.

Yes, we've got a script going on that at the moment. I'm doing it with 'Tig Productions', which is Kevin Costner's company, and I'm co-producing with Jim Wilson. We're in the process of presenting it to various Television networks - it's always been designed for television. It'll probably be done in three two-hour segments, we've got a very good screenplay and I'm optimistic we can do a deal with one of the networks.

Something else we've just done, concerns Somewhere in time. I've always wanted someone to come up with a lyric for my main melody for that film, and although several people have tried, I've never been really happy with any of them. Now, B. A. Robertson has written a wonderful, wonderful lyric and Michael Crawford is opening in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in a new show that starts on New Year's Eve and will feature it. He's also recorded it just last weekend with some other songs for a new album for Atlantic.

Many people would be delighted if you scored Goldeneye, the new Bond film - is there a chance of this?

I really don't know at this stage. We'll have to see. It's much too early to say.

So you haven't turned it down?

Well you know what they say - you never say never!

Does this also apply to concerts?

As far as concerts are concerned, we've been talking to the management of the Royal Philharmonic because having done the two albums they're familiar with the music and it would reduce the time needed for rehearsals. Because when you're going into a concert with an orchestra, the rehearsal time allocated is normally so short. I remember doing a concert at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and I literally had a three-hour rehearsal. And you can't do any more than a read through really, you can't get into any kind of fine tuning - I was a total nervous wreck before I went on. So unless you can have a finely-rehearsed orchestra, then I really don't want to know about it. But if something can be worked out with the Royal Philharmonic, either here in America or in England, I would be glad to do it, maybe a series of three or four concerts in London, Birmingham, Glasgow etc., I would like to do that - if we can bring our schedules together.

So as far as you're concerned, rehearsal time is critical?

Absolutely. But as I say, they know all the music, they've rehearsed and recorded it, so it would mean that if I could have one day's rehearsal with them, just to bring them up to scratch, it would be fine.

John, it's been an excellent year for you, we're looking forward to seeing The Specialist and to hearing Moviola 2 when it's released. Thanks very much for your time.

Thank you Geoff.

Saturday, 30 September 2006 16:10

An Evening with John Barry

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

The 2006 John Barry Royal Albert Hall concert featuring The Ten Tenors

By Geoff Leonard
 30 September 2006

 On entering the Royal Albert Hall arena well before the starting time of 7.30, there were two surprises. Firstly, no programmes had been printed (we weren't told why). Secondly, every other seat had a CD-sampler (4-track) placed on it of Here's To the Heroes, the Ten Tenors' new collaboration with John Barry. The hall seemed slow to fill and I guessed it was no more than two-thirds full when start-time arrived.

As I'd heard only a couple of days before that JB was feeling unwell, it was something of a relief to see him walking onto the stage at 7.35 p.m.. He was greeted by loud and enthusiastic applause, plus a few screams! He began at once, without a word, and it was as though nothing had changed from those triumphant concerts of the late nineties as he took the orchestra through a powerful performance of Goldfinger, always his concert opener.

But everything changes. With just a wave, he departed the rostrum and Paul Bateman walked on to replace him. And we soon noticed more than just a change of personnel. Bateman was conducting the usual suspects, Born Free, Chaplin, Body Heat and Mary Queen of Scots, but even on these slow numbers, an increase in the usual tempo was very apparent. I don't know if this was deliberate or due to slight unfamiliarity with Barry's repertoire, but it worked beautifully, giving the performances a freshness. Frances was one of the highlights of this first half, which also included Walkabout & Wednesday's Child (both possibly premiere concert performances).

Bateman ended with The girl with the sun in her hair, which destroyed my idea of a possible encore for John Barry. During the interval I could hear a few people grumbling about the lack of a programme – "what was the fifth piece they played?" – but it was also clear they were enjoying themselves and praising both orchestra and conductor. There was speculation as where the Ten Tenors would position themselves as room on the stage seemed to be at something of a premium.

John Barry reappeared at around 8.50 and we thought maybe we would see him performing again. But no, he briefly introduced the Ten Tenors and "our conductor tonight, Paul Bateman". He then departed, not quite quickly enough to avoid an earful of extremely powerful vocal from the TT's opening number. If I had to sum up the TTs, powerful would do it. Though this can be an advantage on certain numbers, and in particular on Here's to The Heroes, for me it doesn't work so well on all Barry's ballads. I still can't get on with We Have All the Time in the World, and the lyrics to "Places" (Out of Africa) are not Don Black's finest. However, they certainly gave it their all and I was impressed at how well they maintained their recorded sound in a "live" environment. They sang all the Barry numbers on their new CD, so many had the opportunity of hearing the three new songs for the first time. It's hard to estimate how they went down with the audience, since everything was applauded with the same vigour! They stood / sat right at the front of the stage, so Bateman had his back to them and conducted with the aid of headphones.

In between, Paul Bateman conducted a wonderful performance of The James Bond Suite. The augmented English Chamber Orchestra was in terrific form and once again there was a noticeable increase in the tempo. This was the best received piece of the evening, receiving prolonged and enthusiastic applause. John Barry returned to the stage for the usual ovation, and was happy to share the occasion with the TTs and Paul Bateman. He himself conducted the final performance, the TTs singing "We Have All The Time in the World".

And that was it. The second half was only about 50-minutes long, from memory, and although this was partly due to Bateman's impressive brisk style of conducting, we could have done with a couple more orchestral numbers to finish off. Zulu would have been a wonderful finale or even an encore for John. Never mind, it was wonderful just to see him again, looking a little thin and frail, as usual, but without any apparent nerves and with a smile on his face!

Here's to next year?

Geoff Leonard

Thursday, 02 September 2004 16:06

Sunday Night at the London Palladium

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

Article - Sunday Night at the London Palladium

(with the John Barry 7)

Geoff Leonard
2 September, 2004

I saw Sunday Night at the London Palladium show at the National Film Theatre on Tuesday, August 31. It was a strange experience, like being in another era. The programme began with selected clips from early shows which included Hughie Green introducing Mario Lanza, and Bobby Darin singing 3 songs at the end of a tour of England. What a classy performer he was. Some of the 'variety' acts were acrobats and dancers and, to be honest, didn't really hold the attention.

Then we had a complete show from 1960, introduced by Bruce Forsyth. It included a speciality dance act who threw some poor girl around the stage, Beryl Reid as 'Marlene', an American opera star I'd never heard of, "Beat the clock" and finally, the moment we had been waiting for: The John Barry Seven!

Brucie made a point of talking about the 'new sound' or noise, as he kept saying, during his intro. Then the curtains parted to reveal the JB7 playing 'Hit & Miss', apparently augmented by some pizzicato plucking from the pit orchestra, conducted by Cyril Ornadel.

Vic Flick got *all* the close-ups, probably because it was basically just him, Dougie Wright & Mike Peters who were playing, though all the Seven appeared to be. John Barry looked nervous on trumpet and again when conducting. One curio was that regular saxophonist Jimmy Stead was missing. His dep was a short, very thin guy with receding dark hair - no idea who that was. Vic's famous Clifford Essex 'Bond theme' guitar is now in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and waiting to be put on display. The curators seem to be much enamoured of it.

Of course, the real star of the show was Adam Faith. And he didn't disappoint. He sang What do you want, Someone else's baby and Big Time, all accompanied by the Seven, or some of them, with JB conducting. For Big Time they were augmented by the orchestra so it was a little weird to see both John & Cyril conducting together!

Then, Brucie came on dressed as Adam. They bantered and did a duet of 'Poor Me'. I was really impressed with Adam who couldn't have been more than 19 or 20 at the time. He seemed quite unfazed by it all and matched Brucie line for line. There was mention of a Blackpool summer season up and coming so I'm guessing the show was recorded around Easter of 1960.

When it was over they jumped on the revolving stage thing with the JB7 and the rest of the performers as the credits rolled. The NFT audience applauded loudly at the end. I was so glad I caught it and pleased that the episode is in the archives. So much of the BBC stuff has been wiped so well done to ATV (or whoever owns it now) for saving it.


Saturday, 08 March 2003 14:43

The Adam Faith Story, 1940 - 2003

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

Geoff Leonard and Pete Walker - March 8, 2003

Adam Faith with John Barry
Adam Faith and John Barry 1960, Abbey Road Studios

Disc magazine published in June 1959, following the release of his third (and ultimately unsuccessful) single, Adam Faith declared that his ambition was to become an actor/director - not a singer. Nine years, thirty-five singles, twenty-four chart entries, fifteen EPs, seven albums later; he finally decided to leave the record industry to concentrate fully on fulfilling his thespian dream. Over the next thirty-four years, Faith was to achieve at least the major part of this long-held ambition by becoming one of Britain's most popular stars of stage and screen. However, during his singing career with EMI, he vied with Cliff Richard as the UK's most popular male singer and pop-idol.

Adam Faith was born Terry Nelhams in Acton, London on June 23rd 1940, the third of five children. He attended John Perryn secondary modern school, Acton, and from the age of twelve was soon able to demonstrate his entrepreneurial skills by means of a series of paper rounds, which enabled him to finance his own clothes budget. This was augmented further when he started selling papers from a pitch to enable him to pay for more than, 100 worth of other 'gear'. This gear included a record player and an impressive bicycle, both costing around, 28; a large sum indeed by nineteen-fifties standards. All this was achieved before he left school, at which point he embarked on his first full-time job as an odd-job boy for a silk screen printer close to his home.

After only a few weeks with this company, he heard of a vacancy for a messenger boy at Rank Screen Services and was taken on at the princely sum of, 3.50 per week dedicating himself to the task of obtaining a transfer to the studios. However, after a year elapsed without any sign of his move, he left to join a company in Wardour Street, Soho, known as T.V. Advertising Ltd. This was a period when he, like many of his peers, was bitten by the skiffle bug which was then sweeping Britain. His first great idol was Lonnie Donegan who inspired him to form his first group with colleagues from work. They called themselves 'The Worried Men' after one of their most popular numbers, 'Worried Man Blues'. According to Nelhams, they played all the local Soho expresso coffee bars - Mars, The Cat's Whiskers, Orlando's, The Skiffle Cellar and of course the famous Two I's, where they eventually became resident.

Six-Five Special T.V. programme had a reputation for originality. One idea was to broadcast a show direct from the Two Is. Naturally, as the resident band, The Worried Men opened and closed the programme, valuable exposure, and, ultimately, Nelham's first big break.

HMV label on the strength of the T.V. appearance, but also helped him choose the now familiar name, Adam Faith. Faith's debut disc combined '(Got a) Heartsick Feeling' with 'Brother Heartache & Sister Tears', and was released in January 1958. It received very little publicity either in the form of music press coverage or from EMI's own advertisement department. Not surprisingly it failed to make any impression on the charts. Despite all Good's confidence in him, he failed to make any immediate impression on television either, but gave him another opportunity when he booked him to appear in his stage show version of Six-Five Special. 'The John Barry Seven' were also on the bill and this brief first meeting with Barry was later to prove of vital importance. However, the stage show wasn't the success Good envisaged, and after just four performances, Faith found himself out of work.

National Studios at Elstree. It was while he was there he received a phone call from John Barry in March of 1959, inviting him to audition for Drumbeat. This new programme was an attempt by BBC television to counter ATV's popular Oh Boy! show. After sufficiently impressing producer Stewart Morris, he landed an initial contract for three shows which was later extended to the full 22 week run. Drumbeat commenced in April and the following month, Faith, although out of contract with HMV, was once again heard on vinyl; performing one track, 'I Vibrate', as part of a six-track E.P. released by the Fontana label. Fontana's publicity claimed this to be "a direct recording from a BBC telecast!"

'Ah, Poor Little Baby' / 'Runk Bunk') was released on the 6th June, with only the former side benefiting from an arrangement and accompaniment by John Barry. Both sides, incidentally, were produced by Tony Hatch, just prior to his appointment as an A & R manager at Pye/Piccadilly Records. Unfortunately, the record once again failed to attract the pop pundit, but on this occasion Faith was clearly hindered by a total absence of publicity caused by the release date unluckily coinciding with a national printing strike! Despite the failure of his first three records, Faith was becoming very well known and popular through his Drumbeat appearances. Acting still held a sway for him, and in August he announced his intention of taking drama and elocution classes, in order to enhance his acting potential. It was about half-way through the Drumbeat series when Faith attracted the attention of film producer George Willoughby, who was searching for a young pop singer to appear in his new film, 'Beat Girl', then in pre- production stage. Although Faith had little record success up till then, Willoughby was struck by his stage presence and so signed him on the strength of this. The script called for Faith to sing a couple of songs. As Barry was by then arranging not only Faith's recordings but also his live Drumbeat material, it came as no surprise when the film company asked him to write the score to accompany Faith's big screen debut - Barry's own very first steps into the world of film music composing.

Drumbeat album, recorded on the 10th May at Abbey Road Studios, London and released two months later. On this LP, the rock 'n' roll influence remained. Faith sang three numbers - 'Say Mama', 'C'mon Everybody' and 'Believe What You Say' all accompanied by John Barry.

The Raindrops vocal trio. Worth was to become the final piece in the Parlophone backroom jigsaw that catapulted Faith from contender to champion in the pop market place. Worth, born in Battersea, London on 21st June 1931, began working as a draughtsman prior to his compulsory two years national service. On returning to civvy street, he was determined to stay out of office work and make his name as a singer. Like many singers, he also aspired towards song-writing although his first three attempts were rejected out of hand by music publishers. However, when Faith, striking up a friendship with him on the Drumbeat set, asked if he had any material suitable for recording, Worth approached JB7 pianist Les Reed to help him arrange a demo of one of these initial songs - 'What Do You Want?'. Barry has always been credited with the idea of using pizzicato strings (inspired by Buddy Holly's "Raining In My Heart"), but according to Worth, this was entirely his own brainchild. Because he was still under contract to Oriole, Worth felt the need to adopt a pseudonym whilst writing songs and so was born Les Vandyke. This was derived by combining Reed's own first name with Worth's London telephone exchange!

'What Do You Want?' (c/w 'From Now Until Forever') was recorded at Abbey Road studios on September 25th 1959 - a mere month after Drumbeat ended. At the same time Faith was also signed to appear in an episode of Rediffusion's No Hiding Place TV series. Norman Newell, Faith and Barry's A & R manager, was unable to produce the recording session. As a result, assistant John Burgess took the helm in his absence, and was to do so for the remainder of Faith's EMI career. According to Barry, on hearing the record, one of EMI's executives publicly declared his disapproval, vowing that Barry would on no account ever be allowed to take part in any more sessions! After the recording Barry admitted that both he and Faith were despondent following previous commercial failures. This time they were determined to impose their own personal tastes far more emphatically than they had done previously, when the flavour of the day tended to override aesthetic considerations.

The New Musical Express and Disc, manager Eve Taylor still insisted that Faith's future lay in acting. Keith Fordyce, writing in the former, praised Barry's arrangement and choice of instrumentation - Jack Good, columnist in its rival, applauded the production, tipping chart success on both sides of the Atlantic. EMI, perhaps scenting success, mounted a strong advertising campaign - promoting the single far more vigorously than either of Faith's first two HMV releases.

Disc, Eve Taylor, recognising good copy when she saw it, claimed Faith had definitely made his last record to concentrate on acting, citing his appearance in a ninety-minute drama for Rediffusion TV at the end of year, as evidence. Despite this, 'What Do You Want?' was given a considerable boost when it was played and voted a unanimous hit on BBC TV's Juke Box Jury, and when Faith sang it live on an edition of ATV's Boy Meets Girl.

The Record Mirror's 'British Only' chart listed 'What Do You Want?' as a new entry at number nine. Clearly, interest was growing, to a point when it entered the N.M.E. charts at number eighteen the following week. Adam Faith, singer, had clearly arrived. His mentor, Jack Good, whilst applauding his success, claimed his acting actually improved his singing. He also mentioned that the song was initially rejected by Johnny Kidd, although Worth denied this, maintaining that he had refused permission for Kidd to use it when the singer had wanted to give it a rock 'n' roll treatment. Another surprise arrived with the revelation that the orchestral backing consisted of just four strings, with two tenor saxes suggesting the sound of a cello.

'Poor Me' was released with 'WDYW' still at number two in the charts! Faith had finished recording his Beat Girl songs just three days previously and had signed to appear in another film - Moment Of Truth. The following day, he received a silver disc for 'What Do You Want', awarded for sales of 250,000 and appeared on BBC Radio's Saturday Club, following this with a guest appearance on the Beverley Sister's TV show on 25th January, where he sang 'Poor Me'. This song, another originally rejected by several music publishers in its original incarnation as 'Poor Man', shot to number one in the U.K. charts, despite some criticism from Buddy Holly fans. It was felt by some that Faith and Barry were contriving a backing and singing style that leaned far too heavily on the late lamented singer. The first Faith hit was compared principally to 'It Doesn't Matter Anymore' while 'Poor Me' was likened to 'Heartbeat'. Barry certainly never denied the accusation although it is probably fairer to say he adopted rather than copied the sound; an individual sound which itself was soon to be widely imitated throughout the popular music scene.

Never Let Go, commenced filming on 22nd February, and starred Peter Sellers and Richard Todd. With his newly acquired wealth generated from two number one singles, he announced his plan to buy a new car, a new house for his parents and to invest the rest! (a significant move in light of his subsequent financial success). He also revealed that 'Poor Me' took longer to make than 'WDYW' and outlined details of his first album project. At this juncture, he signed to embark upon his very first variety tour yet fitted time in to record a couple of tracks for EMI's 'Fings Ain't What They Used To Be' LP - 'Big Time' and 'Carve Up'. His own debut album, Adam, was scheduled to be recorded in March, touring schedule permitting.

'Big Time' / 'Someone Else's Baby', was released on the 8th April while 'Poor Me' was still at fifteen in the charts, and was advertised as a double 'A' side, in an attempt to demonstrate Faith's versatility. 'Big Time' was an archetypal big band show stopper taken from Lionel Bart's musical, Fings Ain't What They Used To Be. Here was Faith in quite a different guise. The flip, however, owed more to the usual formula, though on this occasion, Faith's enunciation of 'baby' was even more exaggerated. The song was written mainly by Perry Ford, with some help from Johnny Worth, who, at this point, revealed his rather curious way of composing - using an old out-of-tune piano given to him by his father-in-law.

Embassy, whose distribution was confined to the huge Woolworth chain. As these records were considerably cheaper than those put out by the majors, and always consisted of two current hits (albeit cover versions) sales were quite respectable.

Never Let Go was favourably reviewed in the music press, and premiered on 2nd June at the Leicester Square Odeon, London. This, Faith's second film, starred Peter Sellers in a rare villainous role alongside Richard Todd and Elizabeth Sellars. Faith, himself, played the part of Tommy Towers - a small-time tearaway. On this occasion, his only musical contribution was to sing 'Johnny' over the end titles. Barry adapted the traditional American folk song, while Lionel Bart, oddly, credited under the pseudonym John Maitland, updated the lyrical content. At this point, Beat Girl was still waiting in the queue of X certificate films to be released.

'Made You' / 'When Johnny Comes Marching Home' was released on 17th June, a week after Faith turned down an offer to act in Irish Jade, another George Willoughby production. The first pressing of 'Made You' amounted to a phenomenal 80,000 copies, based on initial enquiries through dealers and was aided and abetted by publicity resulting from Faith's appearance on ITV's Cool For Cats and Saturday Club. Once again, the single was released with Faith's previous record - on this occasion 'Someone Else's Baby' - still firmly entrenched in the top twenty. By now, Faith was also receiving good notices for his concert performances (most notably at the Blackpool Hippodrome), while in the NME's June chart survey, he even overtook Cliff Richard! Both sides of the new release made the top ten, despite a BBC airplay ban for 'Made You', on the grounds of exhibiting a lewd and salacious lyric!

Adam finally started with Faith and the JB7 travelling down to London from Blackpool overnight. A six-hour session ensued which was repeated the following Sunday. During a discussion after the session, Faith revealed a desire to do a TV and West End play as well as becoming an LP artist, while John Barry announced his intention of toning down the pizzicato effect on Faith's next single. This was released on September 9th, combining 'How About That' with 'With Open Arms'. Apparently, manager Evelyn Taylor, jokingly suggested to Worth that he should write a song entitled ‘How About That Then?' in recognition of one of her most well-used phrases. Worth duly obliged, more as a joke than anything else, yet didn't tell anyone until he'd finished it. The finished product, shortened to 'How About That', became another huge hit for the team. Barry, commenting on the arrangement said, "I've used strings and rhythm as before for the main side, but kept the pizzicato down to a minimum." However, the difference was not all that apparent, although the 'b' side, a Burt Bacharach / Hal David composition, featured the distinctive sound of a tuba.

Apache & Please Don't Tease. Faith himself was voted eighteenth most popular world musical personality, seventh world male singer, third British vocal personality and second British male singer. His success was splendid news for film producer George Willoughby, who was looking for a means of promoting Beat Girl, on the eve of its impending release. Although Faith had a sizeable part in this film he was by no means its star. Nevertheless, Willoughby was able to exploit his pop-star status by selling Beat Girl on his name. It finally opened at the London Pavilion on 28th October, to very mixed reviews, though Faith's own performance and the music were highly commended.

Dick Whittington at Wimbledon. The panto opened on Christmas Eve, and it was there where Faith revealed a desire to widen the scope of film roles offered to him. After playing two rebellious characters, he was conscious of becoming typecast.

Lonely Pup, was written by Scottish bandleader Archie Alexander. Freddy Poser of Mills Music explained how this came about: "Archie brought it in to me and wanted a decision on the spot. I liked it so I took a chance and accepted it with Adam in mind. When I took it round and showed it to him, Eve Taylor and John Barry, they all flipped for it at once." The 'B' side, 'Greenfinger', was written by Jack Lewis. True to form, the record again made the top ten, but Barry's arrangement for 'Lonely Pup' was criticised by Nina and more particularly by her singing partner Frederik on the BBC TV programme, Juke Box Jury. When asked to comment on this, Faith said that he felt the duo were out of touch with the current music scene.

Adam was released on 4th November to much acclaim - as much for the inventiveness of musical director John Barry's arrangements, as for Faith's own performances. The breadth of chosen material ranged from standards as diverse as 'Summertime', 'Hit The Road To Dreamland' and 'Singin' In The Rain' to more contemporary songs, such as Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman's 'I'm A Man', Johnny Worth's 'Fare Thee Well My Pretty Maid', and Howard Guyton's 'Wonderful Time'.

Face To Face programme - a major coup this, for Faith. Transmitted live on December 11th, Faith surprised many a viewer by dint of his resolution and alertness in the face of some tough questioning from presenter John Freeman.

Dick Whittington duly opened with the very first performance lasting a marathon three and a half hours, culminating in a 25 minute impromptu concert, during which time he performed most of his hits. He opened with the recent Bob Luman hit, 'Let's Think About Living' and ended with 'Lonely Pup', on which he was joined by children invited from the audience. Johnny Worth specially altered some of the lyrics to fit in with the pantomime's plot. Drawing a spectacular 1960 to a close, Faith and Barry appeared on Christmas Eve's Saturday Club, at a time when both his current E.P. and L.P. were top five in their respective charts.

On The Fiddle, although nothing transpired of this. January also saw Faith bouncing back after the somewhat lack-lustre critical response to his Christmas record, with a double 'A' sided Johnny Worth penned effort, 'Who Am I?' / 'This Is It'.

Disc, writing in the vernacular of the day, enjoyed the record: "'Who Am I?' is a very brisk romancer which lilts along brilliantly to a strings and chorus backing (the Vernons Girls) directed as always by John Barry. I like the wide open noise of this half. Faith's performance is as good, perhaps better than ever. 'This Is It' is also riding a quick pace with strings a-plucking and chorus ah-ahing in the rear. Tune's a simple one, and the lyric matches. Polished arrangement and performance lift it high. With either half - another hit." Although this review is undeniably couched in the non-critical style evocative of its time, it does, however, clearly illustrate Faith's elevated status in the music industry during 1961. As predicted, both sides climbed into the top ten bringing the Faith/Barry/Worth team to the fore once more. Faith celebrated its success by consulting Sir Gordon Richards about the feasibility of buying a race-horse.

The Kitchen. Written by Worth, but this time accompanied by Johnny Dankworth, it was surprisingly overlooked for commercial release; all the more surprising given Faith's considerable fan-base. On 5th March he appeared at the N.M.E poll-winners concert (televised on 25th March by ATV) and on 12th March was the mystery guest on BBC TV's What's My Line. At the concert, he sang 'Wonderful Time', 'Singin' In The Rain', 'What Do You Want?', 'Worried Man', 'Lonesome Traveller', 'Who Am I?' & 'When Johnny Comes Marching Home'.

'Easy Going Me' / 'Wonderin''- on 22nd April 1961, saw Faith renew his acquaintance with Lionel Bart, who wrote the 'A' side. All the characteristic ingredients were evident but, in the midst of some luke-warm reviews, the record only reached number 12. From certain quarters of the music press, criticism was levelled at the arrangement. Faith's records and arrangements were, it was suggested, becoming a little too predictable and formalised. Nevertheless, the record remained in the charts for ten weeks. Faith's new film, What A Whopper, started filming at Pinewood on 23rd May, where, in spite of emphatic denials, he was linked romantically with actress Juliet Mills, following sightings of them out together. On the 23rd June, in celebration of his 21st birthday, Disc presented him with a special E.P. record containing spoken tributes from Barry, Worth, Newell, Taylor, Good & Cliff Richard.

'Don't You Know It', was the complete absence of pizzicato strings. Suddenly, here was an Adam Faith 45 that didn't possess the archetypal Faith sound. Experimentation was the key buzzword on this release, one which was dominated by Ted Taylor on clavioline. In truth, the song was simply stylised in the standard pop form of the day in typical ‘Runaway’ style. Faith couldn't please everyone, however, as some reviewers this time round accused him of being too gimmicky. The flip-side, 'My Last Wish', was the first occasion on which Barry and Johnny Worth combined to write a song. Ultimately, the record made exactly the same progress chart-wise as its predecessor.

Holiday show - a seven week tour of coastal towns beginning at Southampton on 3rd July - The Red Price Combo provided the backing, as the JB7 were not on the bill. In September, during the same month he started recording his new album (Adam Faith), he embarked upon a new venture, a fortnight in cabaret. Backed by the JB7 rhythm section during a fifty minute set and watched by many celebrities, his debut in this field proved successful despite his misfortune in slipping, then falling over after his opening number on the very first night. His short cabaret run was followed by a one-hour TV spectacular on 30th September for ATV.

What A Whopper, was premiered during the summer although the title song was not considered strong enough for single release. Instead he chose a song from the film, entitled 'The Time Has Come' written, as usual by Johnny Worth. This reached number four in the charts, and fared better than the film, which opened at the Rialto, London on 28th September, to a terrible pasting from the press. In reaching number eleven in November, 'The Time Has Come', ended a six weeks absence from the charts - his longest gap since 'What Do You Want?'. Faith was reported to be still very keen on pursuing a film career, but not on embarking on a stage musical. A recording of ATV's All Kinds Of Music, was accompanied by the welcome news that the N.M.E. December poll results placed him at number nine in the world musical personality ratings, sixth world male singer, first British musical personality (ahead of Richard & Donegan) and second British male singer (behind Richard). 'The Time Has Come' was even voted seventh best British disc of the year; Faith's hard core following were obviously NME readers!

New Musical Express, itself, responded to criticism from Faith fans that the paper had previously treated him unfairly in relation to their coverage of Cliff Richard and Elvis Presley, by printing a track by track review of his next album - which they loved! The fourteen-track LP included three songs composed by writer/actor Trevor Peacock, who, like Johnny Worth, had first encountered Faith on the set of Drumbeat when he acted as compere. Among the tracks were Peacock’s 'As Long As You Keep Loving Me', 'Watch Your Step' (the subsequent single), 'A Help-Each-Other-Romance', 'Sho Know A Lot AboutLove', and an excellent version of Buddy Holly's 'I'm Gonna Love You Too'.

'Lonesome'. Admittedly the flip, a raucous vocal version of the recent JB7 instrumental, 'Watch Your Step', was more in character but in 'Lonesome', Faith took an artistic gamble in promoting this slower number as the 'A' side. Most reviewers welcomed the change of mood and couldn't see the disc failing at all, whilst a few wondered how Faith's following would react. In the event the record peaked at number 12 and spent 9 weeks in the charts and so the gamble could be said to have paid off. Certainly Faith was reported as being happy with the change.

Meeting Point and discussed both religious and moral issues with the Archbishop of York - Dr. Donald Coggan; some subsequent reports of these talks erroneously attribute them to the Face To Face programme. The interview was later covered in Time magazine. In view of his frequent television, radio and recording sessions, Faith decided he needed a London retreat and duly purchased a flat in the West End.

'You Can Do It If You Try', but this was never released in any form at the time. This was probably due to the impending release of Peter Gordeno's own vocal version, using a very similar Barry arrangement.

Mix Me a Person, which was due to start filming immediately after this short period of recuperation. He also revealed that he was writing a comedy script with his agent, Colin Berlin. Recording sessions, however, always took priority. On 29th March, therefore, Faith embarked upon further recordings with the John Barry Orchestra, some destined for Mix Me A Person. His new single, 'As You Like It' coupled with the tongue-in-cheek 'Face To Face' was released on 28th April, and climbed to number five, ensuring Faith his thirteenth consecutive hit - one more than his main rival Cliff Richard had achieved at this stage. Eve Taylor announced that he would star as Aladdin in pantomime that Xmas in Bournemouth.

Dan Farson Meets and on 23rd June, Thank Your LuckyStars. August dawned with good reviews for Mix Me A Person which opened in London. This, his fourth film, was a thriller in which his character (Harry Jukes) spent a great deal of time behind bars. He did manage to sing a couple of songs, however, en route; the title song and a version of 'La Bamba' both emanating from that March session with Barry.

'Don't That Beat All', arranged in the style of the black American 'hully gully' sound, dubbed 'Country Gully' by Johnny Worth, who had previously written successfully in this style for Eden Kane. The film theme song, 'Mix Me A Person', constituted the flip-side, while, at the same time a new album was being planned, to incorporate new backings and arrangements at Faith's insistence. A new BBC TV series, Adam Faith Sings Songs Old And New, commenced on 19th September - six half-hour shows, all telerecorded the previous evening. Keating acted as the orchestral arranger while The Roulettes, making their TV debut, were introduced as Faith's new on-stage backing group.

'Baby Take A Bow', with the 12 track From Adam With Love album. Other tracks included 'Ballad Of A Broken Heart', '(I'm) Knocking On Wood' (the 'B' side of 'Baby Take A Bow'), 'Learning To Forget' and 'You 'N' Me'. On discussing his new single, Faith admitted that the arrangement for 'Baby Takes A Bow' owed a debt to the style of John Barry, but didn't necessarily believe this was a regressive step. Both sides, on which Faith was again accompanied by Johnny Keating, were written by Johnny Worth, but it stalled at number twenty-two. Faith attributed his poor chart placing to the recent bad weather (fog and smog). Climatic changes notwithstanding, it slipped out of the charts after only six weeks and was Faith's least successful record since his career took off. Incidentally, "Baby Take A Bow" was to be the last Faith hit composed by Johnny Worth, although he continued to write hits for other artists during the remainder of the sixties. Faith ended 1962 back on stage in panto at Bournemouth, starring in Aladdin.

'What Now', written by Finnish songwriter James Jacques, with 'WhatHave I Got?', penned by Johnny Worth. After the relative failure of his last single, Faith was grateful for the opportunity of singing it on Thank Your Lucky Stars the day after its release, but the record proved less successful than its predecessor in terms of both chart placing (thirty-one) and time spent in the charts (five weeks). Meanwhile, The Roulettes, who had released their own first record, an instrumental version of 'La Bamba' the previous October, underwent another change of personnel, when Russell Ballard took over from Henry Stracey. He was actually recruited to play keyboards but proved so accomplished a guitarist that he was soon sharing lead parts with Peter Thorpe. They were forced to make one final change two months later, after the tragic death of bassist John Rogers, killed in a car crash; with John 'Mod' Rogan, who hailed from West Hartlepool, taking over.

Please Please Me and recalls this as the point when he realised that life in the cut-throat world of song-writing was sure to become far more difficult for him. As a result, even more care than usual was taken over the choice of Faith's next single, the release of which was delayed until the 22nd June. 'Walkin' Tall' / 'Just Mention My Name' emerged as the final choice and was once again arranged by Johnny Keating. Despite all the care and attention given to this selection, the record fared only marginally better than 'What Now' peaking at number twenty-three. Faith, with the Roulettes in tow, started a Bridlington summer season on 24th June, undeterred, and was said to be in line for the title role in a forth-coming West-End musical, Tom Sawyer, written & scored by Tom Boyd, despite previous misgivings expressed about this genre.

Chris Ravel and The Ravens on early editions of Oh Boy!, and who had paid his dues undertaking a long and arduous club residency in Hamburg. He rewarded her faith in him by composing 'The First Time', released on 6th September, which became Faith's biggest hit for over a year. The 'b' side, 'So Long Baby', was composed, somewhat surprisingly, by veteran band-leader Cyril Stapleton! Faith vigorously and successfully promoted 'The First Time' with appearances on Saturday Club on 27th October and ITV's Comedy Bandbox on 9th November. This single marked the first occasion on which he worked with the Roulettes in the studio, although Keating remained in charge of the overall accompaniment.

For You, was to feature thirteen cover versions of familiar pop hits, in an orchestral setting. Among the tracks chosen were 'My Kind Of Girl'. 'Let There Be Love' & 'Lazy River'. As a representative example from this LP, 'Forget Me Not' is included in this package; a Johnny Worth song which had been a hit for Eden Kane the previous year. On the 4th October, Faith left for the U.S.A. where he recorded two more Chris Andrews tracks intended for the Tom Sawyer musical - Talk To Me' & 'Promise Of Love'. However, shortly after he returned, the production of Tom Sawyer was postponed indefinitely due to the lack of a suitable theatre in London.

'We Are In Love' / 'Made For Me', both sides penned by Chris Andrews, but also the aforementioned album. He also announced his intention of starring in the New Years Eve edition of Ready Steady Go. The overtly Beatle-like 'We Are In Love' consolidated the impetus generated by 'The First Time', by reaching number eleven, and running up a total of twelve weeks in the charts. The December N.M.E. poll, placed Faith as fourteenth most popular world male singer, twenty-fifth world musical personality and fourth British male singer. Faith was clearly riding the Mersey wave with some aplomb. What's more he was invited to appear on Sunday Night at the Prince of Wales on 22nd December and Sunday Night at the London Palladium on 29th December - his first appearance there for three years.

'If He Tells You' (which reached number 25 in the charts). The Roulettes were required once more for backing purposes, although Ralph Carmichael rather than Johnny Keating took up the arranging mantle for the 'b' side, 'Talk To Me'. The record was released at the beginning of March as a precursor to a fully fledged Andrews composed LP. Entitled On The Move, this album demonstrated Faith's complete confidence in Andrews' song-writing ability. However, he did himself few favours when he suggested to Eve Taylor that Andrews should also start writing for Sandie Shaw, a singer discovered and introduced to Taylor by Faith himself. Despite three more minor Andrews-inspired hits, it seemed that the writer was now concentrating his best efforts for Miss Shaw. Hindsight proves that this was the right direction to take.

'I Love Being In Love With You' disappointingly spent a mere six weeks in the U.K. charts. However, its poor performance on this side of the Atlantic was offset by the success of its "B" side, 'It's Alright', in the American Billboard charts where it reached number 31, thereby securing for Faith his only real success there to date. He attributed its popularity to its exposure on American television's Shindig, a show devised by his old mentor Jack Good, who preferred 'It's Alright''s fashionable Mersey sound. Americans bought it in sufficient quantities to justify Good's faith in the song.

'A Message To Martha', on which he was accompanied by new musical director Ken Woodman -who was also working with Sandie Shaw. Bacharach and David were one of pop's hottest tickets in 1964. Record companies, on this side of the Atlantic, plundered their back catalogue to provide quality material for UK acts determined to make an initial chart impact; Cilla Black and Sandie Shaw among them. Faith was therefore clearly playing safe, with what turned out to be a fine rendition. In fact, it restored him to the top twenty over the Christmas period and was his biggest hit since 'The First Time'. The song was also included on an e.p. entitled A Message - From Adam, along with the Chris Andrews composition, 'Come Closer'.

'Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself' / 'I've Gotta See My Baby'. Although reasonably placed at twenty three, it was becoming evident that Faith, himself, was rapidly becoming disenchanted with the pop-world. He announced his intention of going into repertory in an effort to re-establish his acting credentials, which had necessarily taken a back seat of late. Nevertheless, he continued to record for Parlophone and on the 23rd March, released 'Hand Me Down Things', written by American Andrew Sparks, coupled with 'Talk About Love', another Andrews song. This single completely failed to capture the imagination of the record-buying public. Perhaps he simply chose the wrong song on this occasion, for it might have been a very different story had he chosen instead, another Andrews song, 'I'll Stop At Nothing', (included on a recent E.P., Songs And Things). Within a few weeks of hearing it, Sandie Shaw recorded and released her own version which duly reached the top five!

Faith Alive - live in the sense of being recorded with no overdubs in front of a specially invited audience at Abbey Road Studios. On this LP, Faith was backed solely by the Roulettes, and of the fourteen tracks, only five emanated from Andrews’ pen. The others comprised of 'classic' rock 'n' roll songs such as 'Little Queenie' and 'Heartbreak Hotel', together with an acknowledgement to the Beatles in the form of a version of 'I Wanna Be Your Man'. This album proved extremely popular and actually reached number fourteen in the album charts.

'Someone's Taken Maria Away', provided Faith with another minor hit in June, but the decline in his popularity was ably demonstrated the following month, when for the first time since 1960, he was unplaced in a music paper poll listing top world male vocalists - though he did manage to scrape into the British section. Although The Roulettes played on 'Someone's Taken Maria Away', and the subsequent single, 'I Don't Need That Kind Of Lovin'', this turned out to be their swan-song. On the 7th October, they announced their decision to concentrate on their own recording career. As Bob Henrit recalls: "Adam was moving more into ballads, and anyway we felt that we needed to be a fully-fledged band in our own right, not just a backing group."

'If Ever You Need Me', (the former's 'B' side) illustrated his interpretive skills as a vocalist. Perhaps Faith's heart lay in a completely different field of entertainment. Music had become, subconsciously at any rate, little more than a perfunctory chore. Nevertheless, his spirited cover of Bob Lind's 'Cheryl's Goin' Home' restored him to the top fifty, albeit briefly, and proved to be Faith's final chart placing as the lure of the grease paint beckoned.

'What More Can Anyone Do' (his final Chris Andrews song), 'Cowman Milk Your Cow' (an early Bee Gees composition), John D. Loudermilk's 'To Hell With Love' and Tony Romeo's 'Close The Door'. However, for Faith, the event which overshadowed all others that year, was undoubtedly his marriage to former dancer, Jackie Irving. Quite possibly his biggest commercial coup was in persuading Sandie Shaw to perform and record 'Puppet On A String' - a decision she was later to regret. Not only did it become the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, but it also reached number one in the U.K. and in a plethora of other European countries. Faith convinced her it was in her best interests to sing it, after she had fallen out with Eve Taylor over its merits as a song. Her gratitude to Faith for his advice was somewhat tempered, however, when Taylor revealed much later that he had a financial interest in her and the song's publishers! Clearly Faith's aptitude for spotting an investment opportunity had not diminished.

'You Make My Life Worthwhile'. Arranged and conducted by Ken Woodman, it was an excellent recording which deserved a better fate, but with Faith opting to make his stage debut playing Feste in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, he was in no position to promote it. In view of this, both he and EMI decided to part company; Faith, the actor, was consigning Faith, the pop star, to the annals of music history.

Night Must Fall, playing opposite Dame Sybil Thorndike. In effect, this amounted to his big break; his stage equivalent of appearing on 'Drumbeat'! In the autumn of '69 he took the lead in a touring version of Billy Liar, and eighteen months later found renewed television fame in the title role of Budgie.

Budgie in 1988, Faith has since concentrated almost solely on acting and has gone a considerable way to achieving his ambition expressed so lucidly back in 1959, prior to his nineteenth birthday.

Stardust and McVicar, and also found time to immerse himself in the management side of the rock industry. Budding agent and song-writer Dave Courtney (who Faith knew as a result of his association with The Roulettes) introduced him to former busker Leo Sayer. Instantly impressed by Sayer's vocal prowess and song-writing ability, he immediately set out a strategy for launching his protégée, and, as a direct spin-off, also produced a solo album for The Who's Roger Daltry, which contained a selection of Sayer/Courtney songs.

THE MAIL ON SUNDAY, aptly titled 'Faith In The City', which epitomised the "get rich quick" philosophy espoused in that Thatcher-drenched decade. It ended on something of a sour note when he was prevented from issuing a free fact sheet which promised to make its recipients millionaires! This was also a period when Faith was often heard to be scathing about his own recording legacy, holding it chiefly responsible for scuppering his attempts at securing a lasting acting career. As guest at a dinner party where his old hits were being played, he was chastised by the host for criticising them so harshly, for rubbishing the very music he had enjoyed as a youth. Faith was rather taken aback by this accusation and was forced to re-appraise his feelings for his pop career.

The Daily Mail that he was no longer dismissive about his pop star roots and saw no incongruency in combining an acting with a singing career. "I retired from singing 20 years ago so I could be an actor. I had begun to hate my pop association because I so wanted to act. In those days you couldn't really do both. Now I realise that the two things I do best are singing and acting. I'm only sorry that it has taken me so long to combine the two."

Alfie around the provinces, played the narrator in A Chorus Line and very recently toured the UK in Love & Marriage. Often in demand for television, following his initial success with Budgie, in the nineties he starred in the highly successful BBC TV drama, Love Hurts, with Zoe Wannamaker; and in 2002 he made the less popular TheHouse That Jack Built – also for the BBC.

The Money Channel, a couple of years ago, resulting in his bankruptcy, may have taken its toll. He was planning a one-man stage performance tour of Britain next year, in which he would act out his career, including some of the songs which launched his career. He died at the age of 62 from a heart attack, after a performance of Love & Marriage, in Stoke-On-Trent.

Page 1 of 2

Our other sites

Geoff Leonard writes CD booklet notes, articles, and occasionally books, in partnership with Pete Walker. You can read more about this here:


John Barry related Events or Concerts

Submit your Event or Concert, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. We will not be responsible for any errors or inaccuracies.



Geoff (owner) and Ruud (webmaster) have been running the John Barry website since June 18, 2001. This website is not endorsed by the composer's family.

John Barry - The Man With The Midas Touch, the definitive website
dedicated to Britain's foremost composer of film and TV music.