Denis Andrew King (born 25 July 1939) is an English composer and singer. He is best remembered as a member of a family ensemble, The King Brothers.
King was born in Hornchurch, Essex. He began his musical career at the age of six as a banjolele-playing singer at children's matinees and, by the age of thirteen, with his two older brothers, Mike (25 April 1935– 9 November 2018) and Tony (b. 31 January 1937), was a member of one of the most successful pop groups of the 1950s and 1960s, The King Brothers are considered by many to be Britain’s first boy band. Denis played the piano, Mike the guitar, Tony the double bass.
By the time King was thirteen The King Brothers were touring around the U.K. in what was known as Twice-Nightly Variety (the equivalent of America’s vaudeville), performing two shows a night in one town before moving on to the next the following week. For two years King attended a different school in a different town almost every week. Along with concerts and tours around Europe, The King Brothers did summer shows, television appearances, played the Windmill Theatre and in 1956 became the youngest Variety act to play the London Palladium.
Within a year they were in the record charts. "A White Sport Coat" and “Standing On The Corner” were their biggest successes. They appeared with Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, Frankie Vaughan, Roy Castle, Shirley Bassey, Alma Cogan, Ronnie Corbett, Bruce Forsyth, Morecambe and Wise, as well as American stars Bobby Darin, Howard Keel, Sammy Davis Jr, Judy Garland, Lena Horne, Sarah Vaughan, Sophie Tucker and Frank Sinatra.
During the latter half of the sixties worked started to dry up. Variety theatres closed and light entertainment shows on television that had provided a lot of work wanted to tap into The Mersey Beat. “By the end we were just doing working men’s clubs and that was soul destroying.” said Denis (from an interview with East Anglian Daily Times). “After we went our separate ways I spent much of my time on the golf course until my first wife suggested that perhaps I did something with myself and I went to Guildhall School of Music to learn about composition and orchestration.”
During the latter years of The King Brothers when they had recorded a single, Denis had often written the B-Side and enjoyed the process of writing music and this then provided him with a continued link to the world of showbusiness. He would become aware of just how close a link when shortly after graduating from Guildhall in 1972 he was offered the opportunity to provide the theme tune and incidental music to a new children’s television show called Black Beauty (Galloping Home), which won an Ivor Novello Award.
To date, he has created themes and incidental music for over two hundred television series including Within These Walls, If It Moves File It, Dick Turpin, Two's Company, Lovejoy, We'll Meet Again and Hannay as well as written over one hundred jingles for radio and television advertising. He has also worked on films, writing the scores to Simon, Simon (1970), Not Tonight, Darling (1971), Holiday on the Buses (1973), Ghost in the Noonday Sun (1973), Sweeney! (1977), If You Go Down in the Woods Today (1981) and Privates on Parade (1982).
|L-R: John Junkin, Denis King, Barry Cryer|
& Tim Brooke-Taylor. Hello Cheeky
As a musician he has performed with Dame Edna Everage, Albert Finney, Benny Green, with Maureen Lipman and with Dick Vosburgh in the comic revues Beauty and the Beards and Sing Something Silly, as well as on the BBC Radio radio comedy series Hello, Cheeky! from 1973 to 1979; he appeared in the TV version of the latter, produced by Yorkshire Television in 1976
His debut as a theatrical composer was with the original 1977 Royal Shakespeare Theatre's production of Privates On Parade which won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Musical. Other theatre productions include A Saint She Ain't and The Un-American Songbook (with Dick Vosburgh); Stepping Out - The Musical (with Richard Harris and Mary Stewart-David); Bashville and Valentine's Day (with Benny Green); Worzel Gummidge starring Jon Pertwee and Lost Empires (with Keith Waterhouse & Willis Hall); Wind In The Willows (with Willis Hall) and West Five Story (with Richard Harris).
King has written extensively with Ayckbourn and together they have created the musicals Whenever, Orvin - Champion Of Champions, and Awaking Beauty, which premiered in December 2008 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough. King later moved to the "celebrity hotspot" of Walberswick, Suffolk, where in 2012 he staged an amateur version of his own musical, Wind in the Willows. In 2018 Denis released his latest album “Love is in the Room” with Sarah Eyden on vocals. His highly acclaimed and entertaining memoir “Key Changes” was revised and updated in 2020.
(Edited from Wikipedia & deniskingmusic.com)