June 2012

Richard here again! Yes I know I said Michele would be back this month, but having been in an internet black spot most of the time whilst on board ship, she has now managed to find LA’s worst spot for mobile phone coverage and extremely limited internet access!  So you’re stuck with me again I’m afraid.

Michele is currently staying with her old friend Marian, who just happens to be the Widow of the late great Johnnie Spence. Staying in LA of course means that Hollywood is just around the corner, and Michele has been out and about. In the last few days she has been on a visit to Capitol Studios, where Matt recorded several albums in 1966/7. The main object of her visit was to see their written and photographic archives to find out what goodies they have that haven’t been seen before. Unfortunately due to her current communication problem, I don’t know what she found there, but hopefully we’ll all find out next month.

The other night saw Michele visit the award winning  Spago Restaurant in Beverley Hills, this is a great place to go if your star spotting, but even better if you can meet them! Michele bumped into Larry King, Sidney Poiter, Connie Francis and Burt Bacharach – I hope she managed to get some photos with them for us to see next month.

It’s hard to believe that nearly five months have passed since Michele began her mammoth world tour and that she will be home in around about three weeks time. I’m sure she will have a lot to share with you.

One great thing about being in The US is that Michele has been able to work with Titan Publishing’s American publicists to do some promotional work for the paperback edition of The Singer’s Singer – The Life and Music of Matt Monro. Along the way she received this great review:-

This morning, I've got a look at one of the most in depth biographies that I’ve read yet.  It's one that if you’re a fan of jazz and classic pop music, you'll truly appreciate after having read it.  In today's edition of Reel Reviews, we take a look at the recent paperback re-release of the newest Matt Monro bio, The Singer's Singer:  The Life and Music of Matt Monro.

Up and coming singers today have so many avenues to have their voices heard.  They've got American Idol, America's Got Talent, The Voice and so many other countless TV singing competitions.  While some of the people on these shows go on to superstardom, just as many end up fading out and becoming forgotten.  It proves that fame is a fickle mistress.  And while fame has become so fleeting for pop singers today, the names of yesteryear's pop stars are still with us today.  That is because they made their names the hard way.  They worked to earn their fame.  One of the greatest of those names of yesteryear is the one and only Matt Monro. 

Matt Monro's daughter, Michele, released the most in depth bio on her father to date in 2010 with The Singer's Singer:  The Life and Music of Matt Monro. And recently, the bio was re-released in paperback.  While some paperback re-releases of books are known for being abridged, this is one re-release that doesn't lose any of the story written by his daughter.  The paperback re-issue clocks in at a full 786 pages, not counting acknowledgements and other additional material.  Monro and the publishers at Titan Books are to be commended for that.  Throughout those 786 pages, Michele Monro tells readers of both the highs and lows of her father's life.  Readers learn that Monro was destined to become a star from early on.  No matter how many careers he went through, Monro's heart was always with music.  Even if it meant the potential of causing trouble for himself during his military career, Monro fed his love of music and of performing.  What's really funny about this story is that somehow he actually got away with almost going AWOL a number of times thanks to his higher ups.

Of course, his early military career was just one of the many interesting moments in what would be Monro's formative years as a singer.  When he was finally given his first record deal with the now legendary Decca Records, the label actually wanted him to change his name as Terry Parsons wasn't exactly a very marketable name in their eyes.  His daughter writes that the label took Parsons' new name from two other individuals.  His daughter writes that the name Matt came from Australian writer Matt White.  She explains that White had worked for a publication called the Daily Sketch and that he had written a large piece about the still then Parsons, who had been discovered while he was a bus driver.  His last name came from the father of the person who had discovered him, Winifred Atwell.  Her father's name was Monro Atwell.  Thus, the name Matt Monro came to be Parsons' name for the rest of his life. 

The real funny moment of this story comes in Monro's distaste for journalists who constantly misspelled his newly adopted last name. His daughter writes of her father's reaction to the misspellings, "It's easy to remember, it's an anagram of moron."  Obviously he was aiming that barb at the journalists who couldn't agree with each other (or in some cases, with themselves) on how to spell his name.  Anyone who has ever had their name misspelled and/or mispronounced will appreciate that comment. It's the same sort of sentiment that pop stars share even today. 
Whether it was this funny moment or any other moment, Michele Monro leaves no stone unturned in her father's bio.  From the troubles that led to the end of his first marriage to his career highlights meeting the likes of Frank Sinatra and others, this bio is a must for any true fan of classic pop music or of music history.  It's no summer read.  If anything, it's a full on piece that will make readers appreciate the life of musicians not just in Monro's time but also today.  Many of the stories included here are very similar to what audiences might see on VH1's "Behind the Music" today.  That being noted, it may likely go down as one of the best music biographies written to date.

Philip Sayblack

As I’m sure you can imagine Michele is particularly pleased with that final line – It’s a pity it’s too late to make the cover of the paperback!

The same writer has also posted (as somewhat belated) review of The Ultimate Matt Monro found here :-

No more news to report yet on the possible biopic about Matt, but things will probably move a lot quicker once Michele is back in the UK.

After last month’s announcement of the track listing for Matt Uncovered – The Rarer Monro, I can finally announce an official release date – July 23rd 2012.

Why has it take so long. Let me give you a little taste of what’s gones on behind the scenes.
Way back in November of 2011, I put together a list of all the rare and unreleased material that could be used on the compilation, some of which we had never heard ourselves. The next step was to create a short list of the best material.  The first stage was to pull the unheard recordings from the EMI Archives. Having researched Matt’s recording sessions in great depth for Special Reserve (The Special Edition of Michele’s Book) I knew exactly what was there. So we ordered up the tapes for the tracks which looked like likely candidates. These arrived in the form of Digital FTP transfers or Data DVD discs which were filled with high definition transfers of the original tapes. These were in lots of different formats; Mono, Stereo, and multitracks ranging from 4 – 24 tracks. Some of these were complete session tapes with multiple takes of songs. I then had to set about choosing the best takes and created rough mixes of the multitrack material. All of the recordings were then e-mailed to Michele in mp3 form.

Some recordings were rejected. A dreadful Spanish translation of ‘And You Smiled’ for instance (which might as well have been written in Swahili for all the sense it made which rightfully deserves to be locked away) was amongst the casualties along with the recently rediscovered stereo mix of Tahiti – which just wasn’t rare enough!   There were also a couple of other tracks which were good, but reserved for another project.

The short list was finalised, but one problem remained. The recordings from the Reditune Library. Were they of sufficient quality to use? Did we have enough room for them? Even though we found out about their existence in February 2011 it took until January 2012 – just a few days before Michele left – for the recordings to arrive. ALL of the tracks were great, which gave us another problem. If we include them all there won’t be room for everything already shortlisted.
We generally work towards a maximum of 74 minutes for a CD but can push towards 80 if really necessary.   So the next step was to put together a rough assembly and see exactly how much we had. - We had around 165 minutes worth of material so something had to go! After some soul searching we decided that two songs would have to be left off. These were live recordings from Australia in the 1980’s, but don’t despair these will appear somewhere at some point!
Michele and I then put the sleeve notes together, but by this time she was in the middle of the ocean and so I sent her rough details about each track and these were written in transit. I also provided complete recording details for the notes.

The final tracklist was supplied to EMI back in January for legal clearance. Sometimes things just aren’t as straight forward as you’d hope. The problem was that this project contains material from EMI, Universal Records, BBC Worldwide, Mood Media and The Monro Estate, as well as a small amount of Public Domain material. All of this has to be cleared, agreements made, contracts signed etc and all of this takes time and not everything always runs as smoothly as you’d like.
The mixing, mastering and restoration also had its fair share of ups and downs – especially when after waiting for three months the WRONG recordings arrive from the US just before the deadline! But thankfully I made it in time for the March 20th deadline.  I’m just about to create the masters when the news comes in. There’s a delay in legal. We might have to drop some tracks! Don’t send it yet.

These delays continued right up until 29th May when I was finally given the all clear. NO CHANGES REQUIRED! The masters were sent the same day.

Don’t forget to check out Michele’s Travel Blogs on the Forum and her Facebook page.

Michele's remaining itinerary for 2012 is as follows:

Monday 21st May – Tuesday 19th June – Los Angeles

Wednesday 20th June:                      Air New Zealand to London
Thursday 21st June:                           Land London Heathrow

Check out the ‘Rough Guide to’, which is available towards the bottom of the Homepage. A few of you have mentioned that you don’t know how to access certain areas of the site or in fact are unaware of new areas, this guide will explain how easy this website is to get around, once you know how.

There is also another information box “How to Use the Forum’. I know a lot of people have been tempted to join in on some of our conversations but are slightly nervous of doing so. For that reason I have printed step-by-step instructions of how to access it. It really does only take a few minutes.

Anyway enough of my waffling. Michele will definitely be back next month.

All the best


Past News - May 2012

Past News - April 2012

Past News - March 2012

Past News - February 2012

Past News - December 2011

Past News - November 2011

Past News - October 2011

Past News - September 2011

Past News - August 2011

Past News - July 2011


  - Press this link to see the Amazon Listing for The Singers Singer by Michele Monro


front page
nscfc fans