NEWS

July 2020

I can’t thank people enough for all the support with the new album, we had 14 weeks in the Top 20 and last Friday we slipped to No 25, a drop of 7 places. It’s a great shame because I know from all the new Facebook enquiries that there are plenty of people out there who have no idea that dad has a new album out. Now that stock is available again, I am urging everyone that has not got a copy yet to go grab one. I think it is one of dad’s best releases and it would seem that many of you agree. So, do me a favour and spread the word among your family and friends and if you’re reading this and don’t know what I’m talking about, the album is ‘Stranger in Paradise: The Lost New York Sessions’, a fabulous two CD set

Having worked on the new album with Richard and Universal for the past 20 months it was so exciting when it was finally released on 13 March but it was stopped dead in its tracks because of lack of stock, and I for one was devastated as I will never know what its true chart potential could have been. Having said that it was amazing to see dad’s name in the Top 10 in the official album charts but it was short-lived. You could not buy a copy for love or money.

I do want to thank everyone who bought the album for your staunch support over the years. Having a new album go straight to No 8 in the official album charts was a great achievement and really was a great way to start dad’s 90th anniversary year. Its only because of you that Richard and I have been allowed to release new projects.

I’m sure the loyal readers will be sick to death of reading the story behind the album but for all our new members that don’t know the history behind the new album, here goes;

Dad went into the studio in New York to record an album called Invitation to Broadway. Instead of an orchestra or ready-made arrangements accompanying dad, they chose the songs and did all the arrangements as they went along. The band was made up of just five musicians, piano. Bass, drums and two guitars, electric and acoustic. The majority of the recordings made over the week were from relatively new musicals, many running in Broadway theatres at the time.

However, unbeknown to dad, producer Dave Cavanaugh decided that he preferred him with a bigger sound. He took the tapes back to Hollywood and engaged Sid Feller and Billy May to write brass and string scores for 14 of the songs.

When dad heard the results, he was not impressed and felt that the tracks had been butchered. He made his feelings clear to producer Cavanaugh and the whole project was shelved. This new album sees the first release of all the songs from the sessions in their original un-dubbed form, just dad and some great musicians having a blast in the studio.
 
This album is a journey, from the opening bars of the unmistakable “Stranger in Paradise” to the haunting melody of Jerry Brock’s “Sunrise, Sunset”. The journey is delicious in its voyage of discovery.  Dad has that genius of making each song his own.
 
There are so many highlights in evidence here, brimming with distinguished arrangements and superb production values that conjure up exquisite memories of a polished performer, one with feathery velvet tones and unsurpassed excellence.  Here is superb talent with no use of vocal gimmicks or corny catchphrases.  Dad relies only on his solid music ability and brings to life every song in this repertoire with the ease of a born professional.  Of course, I am biased.


Stranger in Paradise: The Lost New York Sessions:

Impossible Dream
Stranger In Paradise
Put On A Happy Face
Hello Dolly
The Apple Tree
If She Walked Into My Life
The Sweetest Sounds
Sunrise Sunset
Walking Happy
I Only Miss Her When I Think Of Her
Come Back To Me
Look For Small Pleasures
The Lady Smiles
Lover's Caravan
Beautiful Beautiful World
What Makes It Happen
The Apple Tree (Alternate Vocal)
The Lady Smiles (Take 5)
Lover's Caravan (Take 2)
What Makes It Happen (Take 5)

The Greatest Hits:

Portrait Of My Love
My Kind Of Girl
Gonna Build A Mountain
Softly As I Leave You
From Russia With Love
Walk Away
Yesterday
Born Free
This Is The Life
On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever)
Don’t Answer Me
Honey On The Vine
Wednesdays Child
I Will Wait For You
Georgy Girl
Spanish Eyes
When I Look In Your Eyes
Pretty Polly
Maria
The Music Played
All Of A Sudden
On Days Like These
Two People
Everybody’s Talkin’
We’re Gonna Change The World
And You Smiled
If I Never Sing Another Song

None of this would have seen the light of day without my partner in crime and sound engineer extraordinaire Richard Moore working his magic. Not only is he incredibly gifted but he happens to be a really nice guy as well. Always passionate about his craft he has written some technical notes in much more detail than in the included album booklet and it makes for a fascinating read.

http://mint-audio-restoration.co.uk/stranger/

I’ve done a number of radio interviews to promote the album, one of which was with Mike Brown from CHBN Radio which went out on Friday 26 June at 3.00pm. Mike has very kindly sent a link for anyone that missed it.

https://mixcloud.com/FridayAlternative/friday-live-26-jun-2020-matt-monro-the-man-and-his-music

Richard and I have been really busy putting together something very exciting for dad’s 90th anniversary but because of COVID-19, we are not sure whether the BBC will take it on within the time frame that we are aiming for.

The pandemic has brought every business to a standstill and even though the dust is being shaken off in the next few weeks, there are some that will never recover, especially the entertainment industry. Theatres across England are in dire need of Government help to see them through the lockdown and although certain companies have been creative and come up with ways to keep going, theatre is not the sort of outing where you can social distance. They work to a very narrow margin as it is so it would be impossible to take a third of the seating away, that and the fact that the production would lose all the buzz and reaction of the theatre-goers.

Even though there is talk about airlines and holidays starting up again on 1st July, I don’t see the cruise industry starting back in England for the best part of this year. It’s not that they aren’t ready it is a matter of what ports would let tourists in without quarantine. It’s very sad and when we were all toasting in 2020, one could not predict a pandemic of these proportions.

Being able to stay connected digitally gave people a chance to work from home but sadly the elderly have become even more isolated as many of them don’t have the means to own a mobile phone or computer and even if they have the money to buy one, they are frightened to learn how to use it. Loneliness is equally crippling and since the beginning of the pandemic the elderly have been forced to self-isolate, and maintain social distancing. Time spent with grandchildren, sitting in the park and meeting friends has not been allowed which has all had an effect of their health so boredom and loneliness has been suffocating. As of next week we are able to meet in groups of up to six people from different households, either in parks or in private gardens, play outdoor sports such as golf, bowls, fishing or tennis but it won’t help some of the elderly who are too frail to walk to a park and might not have a garden.

I myself have found it very difficult at times and I can understand how easy it would be to fall into a slump. Living alone with my family hundreds of miles away has made me experience some incredible lows but thankfully I have been keeping busy and have managed to pull myself out of it.

My neighbour remarked that because I have always been a workaholic and a loner, going into my office at 7.30am every morning till gone midnight, nothing much has changed for me but there is a difference with not wanting to go out to being told you can’t. Because of the M.S my immune system is compromised so I cannot risk going out, nor do I want to risk dying just to go pick up a TV guide or a packet of crisps, it is just not worth it to me. I watch the news and see 10,000 people crowd onto the beaches and I am incredulous at people’s stupidity and selfishness, not to mention the fact that because the toilets were not open…… exactly.

There are always those who think it can’t happen to them, but what they forget is that they can be a carrier and pass it onto someone who can’t fight the virus. Even the scientists don’t know the reason some get it mildly and some end up on ventilators, nor do they know whether the virus can be caught twice. Considering how powerful a country we were, I think the government have been far too lax and too late in implementing procedures, procedures that could have saved thousands of lives if they had taken their finger out. They could see what was happening in China and Italy so I don’t know what they were waiting for. To leave Heathrow, one of the main hubs of England open and without any screening, I am convinced let in thousands of infected people who in turn spread it to thousands. Countries that locked down their borders immediately are now back up and running but places like Norway and Guernsey are still keeping people out. I spoke to a very good friend of mine yesterday who lives in Guernsey, they only had 12 cases and they were all in nursing homes at the very onset. All the residents are going about their normal lives because the virus has been eradicated there but they don’t want to let outsiders in and you can’t blame them. Freedom makes people realise how precious it is and they don’t want to risk another lockdown on the island.

A friend and I were talking about New Zealand, Guernsey, Samoa, Solomon Islands and how well they have done throughout this disaster, to which she added well they’re all islands. I contemplated that for a minute and replied “so are we”. Interestingly New Zealand, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Denmark are among those with the least deaths from the virus and they are all run by women prime ministers.

Lockdown has made people take a step back and realise what is important in their lives. It has given human beings the time to reconnect with each other. Books and music have become even more important and has given people a new appreciation for the simple ways of experiencing calm and joy. For hundreds of years music has been used to treat illness and restore harmony between the body and mind. Listening to music on headphones reduces stress and anxiety can help reduce both the sensation and distress of both chronic pain and depression especially in the elderly. Music can trigger a variety of chemical reactions in your brain that contribute to relaxation. From reducing stress hormones to stimulating feelings of happiness, music can almost instantly put you in a good mood. It also has an effect on our immune system by releasing wellbeing-boosting hormones and endorphins leading to fewer headaches, migraines or seizures. For many the ability to learn something new is incredibly hard but we can remember the lyrics of a song from ten years ago which proves music is a big part of us and influences us in so many marked ways.

So, onto other news………………

Unfortunately, still no news on dad’s Blue Plaque. London’s famous blue plaques link the people of the past with the buildings of the present. Now run by English Heritage, the London blue plaques scheme was started in 1866 and is thought to be the oldest of its kind in the world.

The site will be in Ewell at 14 Ruxley Lane where dad lived from 1961 until 1965 and the present owner of the house Mr. Sheriff is very happy for the plaque to be put up on the front of the property. We are hoping to have a small unveiling ceremony if any members of this website or Fan Club would like to attend. The timing will depend on everyone’s commitments in the next few months but as soon as I have a date, I will let you know. Because of the recent events with Coronavirus there will be a long delay now before this happens but I will update you when I know more.

Being a special year, I designed something exclusively, the abridged audio of my book: “The Singer’s Singer: The Life and Music of Matt Monro” on a USB stick.

I like to think that I design my merchandise with style and this time round is no different. Bound in leather and offered in a gorgeous presentation box with a magnetic clasp I am thrilled with the outcome. “Words & Music’ includes the equivalent of 3 CD discs that make up the audio book, 9 music tracks (Babycham jingle, Camay jingle, California Here I Come, Dreamdust, Lazy River, Pennies From Heaven, Star Eyes, The Nearness of You, You’re Driving Me Crazy) and 2 video clips (Born Free, My Kind of Girl)..

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Because of its popularity and demand I plan to make this available for the whole of 2020 so if you would like one then please drop me an email. They retail at £15.00 including postage. (UK only).

Would you believe the 27th January marked 10 years since the book launch of “The Singer’s Singer: The Life and Music of Matt Monro”? That is incredible and I have to admit to being really proud that so many of you were interested in learning about the man behind the voice.

What is so unbelievable is that the book is still selling by the box full. I kind of feel everyone in England must have bought a copy by now, lol. Each year I think about whether to take the books on the ships with me, assuming that demand would have diminished but I have been proven wrong several times over. Let’s hope the same runs true with my new publication.

STOP PRESS… STOP PRESS… STOP PRESS
I have changed the name of the book and will release all the details in next month’s updates.

Cruise/ Work Dates 2020

1 August – 15 August – Celebrity Silhouette
15 August – 28 August – Celebrity Silhouette

Cruise/Work Dates 2021

4 May – 22 May – Fred Olsen Black Watch

Don’t forget to check out our Spotlight feature this month; I know so many of you enjoy them. This month we look in on the ever-popular Mike and Bernie Winters

Have a fabulous month and I hope you enjoy the excitement leading up to the album’s release and more importantly put your pre-order request in now. See you in August.

Michele xxxx

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