Don Black's first success as a songwriter came in 1964 when Matt Monro provided him with a melody and asked him to come up with some lyrics. The result was Walk Away, which reached number 4 in the UK singles chart and number 23 in the USA. Black became Monro's manager and the two men remained great friends until Matt Monro's death in 1985.
Black's reputation as a lyricist rests mainly on West End musicals and film themes. He made his début in musicals with Billy (written in collaboration with John Barry) and has since written three musicals with Andrew Lloyd Webber (Tell Me On A Sunday, Aspects Of Love and Sunset Boulevard). His film hits include Born Free and five James Bond themes.
In 1970 the New Seekers had their first US hit with What Have They Done To My Song, Ma. The following year the group returned to the States to capitalise on their success, appearing on television with the 'big names' of American entertainment - Johnny Carson, Ed Sullivan, Andy Williams and Sonny and Cher.
In 1990, when Sonny Bono made a guest appearance on an episode of The Golden Girls, his days as a pop star and television entertainer were well behind him. Cue a conversation between Blanche and her ex-husband George:
George: Blanche, that is Sonny Bono. He's a major television star. Blanche: Boy, you have been gone a long time.
('The Golden Girls', Season 6, Episode 9: 'Mrs. George Devereaux')
The memories of Sonny and Cher's1965 hit I Got You Babe and of the couple's CBS-TV variety series, which ran in the USA from 1971-74, meant that decades later he was still a household name. His divorce from Cher in 1974, which was alluded to in the script ("Excuse me, I've had some experience in marital discord myself"), and his subsequent election as Mayor of Palm Springs had also kept him in the public eye.
In 1994Sonny Bono was elected to Congress. He died four years later on 5th January 1998 in a skiing accident near Lake Tahoe. He left behind not only the image of "those furry vests" but a legacy of classic pop songs - I Got You Babe, The Beat Goes On and Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down.- all of which he had written. He and Jack Nitzsche also co-wrote the Searchers' number 1 Needles And Pins.
Lyn Paul recorded Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) in 2005, shortly after it had been given a chart revival by the Audio Bullys featuring Nancy Sinatra. Lyn's version, which bears a resemblance to Nancy Sinatra's 1966 recording of the song, was included on her album Late Night.
Sonny and Cher remain the most successful husband and wife act the world has ever known - prompting a dig from Lyle Waggoner, who appeared with Sonny on The Golden Girls.
Sonny: Oh, insults form Lyle Waggoner, huh? How many gold records do you have? Lyle: None, I was never married.
('The Golden Girls', Season 6, Episode 9: 'Mrs. George Devereaux')
Boy George (real name George O'Dowd) has sometimes been overlooked as a songwriter, such is the strength of his public persona. Although two of his biggest hits as a solo artist were covers of other people's songs (Everything I Own, originally recorded by Bread and The Crying Game, written by Geoff Stephens), all of his hits with Culture Club were written by Boy George and the rest of the band.
Any doubts about Boy George's abilities as a songwriter were laid to rest with the opening in January 2002 of his musical Taboo. "Boy George has wit, panache and a great way with a tune," wrote David Benedict of The Observer. "A terrific collection of pop songs" agreed Charles Spencer of the Daily Telegraph.
In 1971 the New Seekers covered Delaney Bramlett'sNever Ending Song Of Love to score their first Top 10 hit in the UK. In the USA Bramlett and his wife Bonnie Lynn O'Farrell had a hit with the song as Delaney and Bonnie. Meanwhile, Dickey Lee took a cover version into the US country chart, kick-starting a seventeen-hit career that lasted from 1971-81. Never Ending Song Of Love has also been recorded by Lynn Anderson, Ray Charles, Crystal Gayle, Earl Scruggs, Ray Stevens, Conway Twitty and the Osmonds.
The New Seekers also included Bonnie Bramlett'sGet Ourselves Together and Someday (performed as a medley) in their live act. The medley can be heard on the album Live at the Royal Albert Hall.
Delaney Bramlett died on 27th December 2008, aged 69.
début solo album
original version of All By Myself.
The song was used
as the B-side
of Lyn Paul's single Mama Don't Wait
wrote the New Seekers'
1972 single Circles.
and Roger Greenaway
that became the New Seekers'
biggest hit, I'd Like To Teach
The World To Sing.
We've Got To
Do It Now
Eric Carmen was once the lead singer and songwriter for the Raspberries. The group had four Top 40 hits in the USA, the biggest being Go All The Way, which reached number 5 in 1972. The nearest the group came to having a hit in the UK was with the single Overnight Sensation, which received a lot of radio play but failed to chart.
Carmen's best-known song is All By Myself - a hit for Carmen himself in 1976 and a hit again in 1996 for Celine Dion. The song is based on a piece of music by the Russian classical composer Serge Rachmaninoff. Lyn Paul's version appears on the B-side of her single Mama Don't Wait For Me.
Best-known for the songs Cat's In The Cradle (a US number 1) and W.O.L.D. (his only UK hit), singer-songwriter Harry Chapin wrote the New Seekers' 1972 hit Circles. That same summer Chapin released his début album for the Elektra record label, Head and Tales (Elektra was coincidentally the New Seekers' record label in the USA).
Chapin released another eight albums before his untimely death in 1981 in a car accident. Six years later he was awarded a posthumous Special Congressional Gold Medal in honour of his charity work.
Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway first had success as songwriters in 1965 when one of their songs, You've Got Your Troubles, became a number 2 hit in the UK for the Fortunes. The following year, recording under the pseudonym of David and Jonathan, they had two UK hit singles of their own. The first, a cover version of the Beatles' Michelle, reached number 11 (it was outperformed in the charts by the Overlanders, who reached number 1 with a simultaneous release of the same song). Their second single, one of their own compositions titled Lovers Of The World Unite, got to number 7.
Although they did not have any further success as David and Jonathan, the two Rogers continued to write hits for other artists, among them the Hollies, Engelbert Humperdinck, Gene Pitney and White Plains.
In 1969Roger Cook teamed up with Madeline Bell to front a group called Blue Mink. With songs supplied by the Cook / Greenaway partnership Blue Mink scored seven Top 30 hits. Their first single Melting Pot got to number 3 and won an Ivor Novello award.
In 1971Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway provided the New Seekers with their biggest hit (and Coca-Cola with their best-known commercial) - I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony). They wrote a second (and less successful) single for the New Seekers, We've Got To Do It Now, which was issued to support the 1973Keep Britain Tidy campaign. The New Seekers also recorded four of Cook and Greenaway's songs as album tracks - a cover of Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart (recorded before Lyn Paul joined the group), The World I Wish For You, Somebody Somewhere and a cover of Melting Pot.
The songwriting partnership of Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway came to an end in 1975. Both men continued to write songs. Greenaway had hits in the UK with Dana, the Drifters and David Dundas, among others. Cook moved to Nashville, writing songs such as I Believe In You and Love Is On A Roll (both hits for Don Williams) and Talking In Your Sleep (which gave Crystal Gayle her fifth number 1 on the US country chart). Lyn Paul recorded Talking In Your Sleep in 2005. The song appeared on her CD Late Night, which was released in 2006.
original version of Song Sung Blue. Lyn Paul
sang the lead vocal
on the New Seekers'
version of this song.
Bob Dylan The Freewheelin'
27th May 1963,
version of Blowin' In The Wind.
José Feliciano Feliciano!
The New Seekers supported Neil Diamond in concert in 1971 and recorded two of his songs - Song Sung Blue, which was included on the 1972 album Circles and featured Lyn Paul on lead vocal, and Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show, which appeared on the 1974 album Together.
In 2005, looking back on the New Seekers' performances with Neil Diamond, Lyn said: "He was wonderful. Neil Diamond is a terrific talent so it was great to be able to work with him" (Flashback, BBC Radio Leeds, 14th August 2005)
Neil Diamond's original version of Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show had been the title track of an album released in April 1969. The song was released as a single but did not make it into the UK charts. Song Sung Blue appeared on Diamond's 1972 album Moods. Also selected as a single, it entered the UK Singles Chart on 13th May 1972 and peaked at number 14. The song has also been recorded by crooners such as Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, Roger Whittaker and Andy Williams.
In 1972 the New Seekers recorded Bob Dylan'sBlowin' In The Wind for their album Circles. The song had been a hit single for Peter, Paul and Mary in 1963 and for Stevie Wonder in 1966. It was covered by many other artists including Joan Baez, Sam Cooke, Marlene Dietrich, Marianne Faithfull, the Hollies, the Seekers, Diana Ross and the Supremes and Neil Young.
Dylan's version of the song was included on his début album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, which entered the UK album charts in 23rd May 1964, almost a year to the day after it was first released.
Welsh singer-songwriter Andy Fairweather Low came to fame as a founder member of the pop group Amen Corner. Between 1967 and 1969 the group had six hit singles in the UK, including Bend Me, Shape Me (a UK numver 3 in 1968) and (If Paradise Is) Half As Nice (a UK numver 1 in 1969).
Fairweather Low had two solo hits in the UK in the 1970s - Reggae Tune (which peaked at number 10 in 1974) and Wide Eyed And Legless (which reached numver 6 in January 1976). One of his solo singles from 1974, Mellow Down (A&M Records, AMS 7136), was covered by Lyn Paul on her 1975 album Give Me Love. Another solo single, La Booga Rooga (A&M Records, AMS 7192) was covered by the Surprise Sisters, who had a minor UK hit with the song in 1976.
José Feliciano is best-known for his recording of the Doors' Light My Fire. In 1968 Feliciano's version of the song reached number 6 in the UK and number 3 in the USA. His flamenco-styled interpretations of pop songs made him popular in the United States, where he had another Top 30 hit with Tommy Tucker'sHi Heel Sneakers and a Top 50 hit with The Star-Spangled Banner. The latter was recorded live at the 5th game of the baseball World Series in Detroit.
In 1969 Feliciano had minor hits in the USA with the Channel and Cobb song Hey! Baby, with the Bee Gees' Marley Purt Drive and with one of his own songs, Rain. He also had a minor hit in the UK with the Bee Gees' And The Sun Will Shine.
In October 1972 the New Seekers appeared with José Feliciano at a concert at the Forum in Hollywood. They recorded their own version of Rain for their 1973 album New Seekers Now. The song had been recorded previously by Anne Murray and by reggae singer Bruce Ruffin.
The Nocturnes recorded the Gibb brothers' I've Gotta Get A Message To You for their 1969 album Wanted Live. The song had been a UK number 1 for the Bee Gees in September 1968 and was included on their album Idea.
In 1970 the New Seekers recorded a lesser known Barry Gibb composition, Follow The Wind, for their album Keith Potger and the New Seekers. The Bee Gees' version can be heard on the album Rare, Precious & Beautiful, Vol.2, also released in 1970. It has also been featured on a number of Bee Gees' compilations, among them: To Be Or Not To Be (1995), Forever Classic (1997), Songs Of The Swingin' 60's (1997), Brilliant From Birth (1998), Claustrophobia (1998), Tomorrow The World (1999) and Classic Years (2000). The New Seekers' version appeared on a Bee Gees tribute album Cover Versions Vol. 2.
For more information about the Bee Gees check the On The Net guide to vocal harmony groups or visit these websites:
Carole King (born Carole Klein) began songwriting as a teenager. While at Queen's College, New York she became friends with Paul Simon and Neil Sedaka (who wrote Oh! Carol in her honour) and formed a songwriting partnership with her husband-to-be Gerry Goffin. Their songs ranged form the out and out pop of The Loco-Motion (a hit on both sides of the Atlantic for Little Eva in 1962) to the more introspective and sophisticated Goin' Back (a UK hit for Dusty Springfield in 1966). Lyn Paul recorded the former with the Nocturnes (on their 1968 album The Nocturnes) and the latter with the New Seekers (on their 1973 album New Seekers Now).
One of Goffin and King's lesser known songs, Child Of Mine, was included on the New Seekers' 1971 album New Colours. The song was also recorded in the early '70s by Cilla Black (Parlophone R 5879) and by Anne Murray (on her album Straight, Clean and Simple, 1971). Two decades later Emmylou Harris also recorded Child Of Mine for the album 'Til Their Eyes Shine (The Lullaby Album) (1992).
Carole King recorded Child Of Mine on her début solo album, Writer (1970). Although this album failed to establish her as a solo artist, it contained several songs that would be recorded later by other artists, as well as a clutch of more familiar tunes - Up On The Roof (a Top 5 hit in the USA for the Drifters in 1962), I Can't Hear You No More (a minor US hit for Betty Everett in 1964) and Goin' Back (the Dusty Springfield classic from 1966)
Carole King's solo career really took off with the release in 1971 of her second album Tapestry. The album included two "old favourites" written with Goffin - Will You Love Me Tomorrow (the Shirelles' hit from 1961) and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (Aretha Franklin's soul classic from 1967). Among the other songs on the album were two written with Toni Stern (It's Too Late and Where You Lead) and seven written by herself. One of these, You've Got A Friend, became a number 1 hit in America for her friend and fellow songwriter James Taylor. One of her other solo compositions, Beautiful, was featured on the New Seekers' 1972 album Circles.
Tapestry spent 90 weeks in the UK album charts and stayed in the US charts for over six years. It sold in excess of 15 million copies. Carole King went on to record another six albums for the Ode label, none as successful as Tapestry, though Music (1971) and Wrap Around Joy (1974) were both US number 1s. In 1977 King began recording for Capitol Records. From this point her album releases became fewer and further between and in 1980 it appeared that King had reached an artistic impasse with the recording of a career retrospective, Pearls (Songs Of Goffin and King).
Shortly after this she moved to a secluded mountain village in Idaho, where she spent much of her time campaigning on environmental issues. In the early 1990s she moved to Ireland but returned to the States in time to make her Broadway début (in 1994) in Willy Russell's Blood Brothers.
After Carole King and Gerry Goffin had gone their separate ways, Goffin continued to be successful as a lyricist. Notable achievements include the Diana Ross hit Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To), for which he and Michael Masser received an Academy Award nomination, and Whitney Houston'sSaving All My Love For You.
Nanci Griffith began recording her first album, There's A Light Beyond These Woods, in December 1977. It was another decade, though, before she made her major label breakthrough with the release of the MCA album Lone Star State Of Mind. Notable amongst the tracks on this album was a Julie Gold song, From A Distance, which subsequently became a hit for Bette Midler and for Cliff Richard.
Nanci Griffith's second album for MCA, Little Love Affairs, was released in 1988. Like its predecessor, the album included a song (Outbound Plane) that was destined to be a hit for someone else. Written by Nanci Griffith and Tom Russell, the song became a US Top 10 country hit for Suzy Bogguss in 1992.
Nanci Griffith's songs have been covered by many other artists, among them Emmylou Harris (who recorded Gulf Coast Highway and It's A Hard Life Wherever You Go) and Kathy Mattea (who in 1986 made it to number 3 in the US country chart with her cover of Love At The Five & Dime). Lyn Paul recorded the title track of Nanci Griffith's1991 album Late Night Grande Hotel for her 2006 album Late Night.