Wednesday, 4 September 2013
Geoff Love born 4 September 1917
Geoff Love (born 4 September 1917, Todmorden, Yorkshire, England; died 8 July 1991, London) was a British easy-listening orchestra leader.
Geoff Love was a musical director, arranger, composer and one of the UK's most popular easy-listening music personalities. His father, Kid Love, was World Champion sand dancer, and came to the UK from the USA. Love travelled on the road with his family until the age of six, when his father died and the family returned to their grandmother's house. In Todmorden, where Frances Love worked winding cotton in a factory, Love's elder sister Cornelia played violin in the junior section of the amateur symphony orchestra. He also attempted to learn the instrument but abandoned it shortly in favour of the trombone. He took lessons from his doctor who was a music student, and from the local brass band, but found their music too loud. He left school to work in a garage, and at the age of fifteen began to play trombone for local dances. He abandoned manual labour at seventeen in favour of a professional career in music and joined the band of Freddie Platt.
Geoff made his first broadcast in 1937 on Radio Normandy. He moved to the south of England, and played with violinist Jan Ralfini's Dance Orchestra in London and with the Alan Green Band in Hastings. After six years in the army during World War II, he became a freelance trombonist and arranger, and also played with Stanley Black's BBC orchestra. He joined Harry Gold's Pieces Of Eight in 1946, and stayed with them until 1949, providing the vocal on their successful record, "Blue Ribbon Gal".
Although Love continued to
play trombone at recording sessions (for example with bandleader Lew Stone) he was doing more and more orchestral arrangements. His arrangements were played by the Cliff Adams Singers, Ambrose and Ken Mackintosh dance bands as well work for television and radio orchestras. By the mid-1950s Love was writing for several recording labels - moving from Philips to Polydor and Polygram before finally settling at EMI. In 1955, Love formed his own band for the television show On The Town, and soon afterwards started recording for EMI/Columbia with his Orchestra and Concert Orchestra.
He had his first hit in 1958, with a cover-version of Perez Prado's cha-cha-cha "Patricia", and made several albums including Enchanted Evenings, Our Very Own and Thanks For The Memory (Academy Award Winning Songs). As staff arranger-conductor at Columbia, he was responsible for the huge success of Laurie London's gospel song 'He's Got the Whole World in His Hands', which topped the American music charts in 1957. The same year he wrote the score for 6.5 Special, the film version of television's hit rock and roll show, but this type of music was not really his metier.
In 1959, Love started to release some recordings under the pseudonym, Manuel And His Music Of The Mountains, which proved to be immensely successful. 'Theme from Honeymoon' (1959) proved very popular in the UK. His attempt to keep his identity secret whilst playing as Manuel was impossible due to success, especially in the US in 1959 and 1960.
Besides his own orchestral records, Love provided the accompaniment and arrangements on record, and in concert, for many popular artists such as Alma Cogan, Connie Francis, Russ Conway, Paul Robeson, Judy Garland, Frankie Vaughan, Johnny Mathis, Des O'Connor, Ken Dodd, Marlene Dietrich and Gracie Fields. In the 70s, he formed yet another group, Billy's Banjo Band, later known as Geoff Love's Banjo Band, while still having hits under his own name with Big War Themes, Big Western Movie Themes and Big Love Movie Themes. He also capitalized on the late 70s dance fad with several volumes of Geoff Love's Big Disco Sound, while retaining his more conservative image with Waltzes With Love and Tangos With Love.
He was consistently popular on radio, and on television, where, besides conducting the orchestra, he was especially effective as a comic foil to Max Bygraves on his Singalongamax, and similar series. Love's compositions range from the Latin-styled "La Rosa Negra" to the theme for the hit television situation comedy, Bless This House. His prolific album output included mostly film or television themes.
In the early 1980s, Love was the co-founder (with Bill Starling) of the Young Person's Concert Foundation. He travelled the country with this charity promting music to schools and other venues. In the late 1980s, Love became involved with several brass bands. Love's prolific career garnered one platinum, fifteen gold, and thirteen silver discs, and a special trophy for selling in excess of 2.5 million records.
Love married Cicely Joyce Peters (known as Joy) (1923/4-1993) on 4 April 1942. She worked alongside Love, organising his recording sessions and accounts. They had two sons, Adrian (1944-1999), who became a well-known radio presenter, and Nigel (born 1947). Love died at the University College Hospital, Camden, London, on 8 July 1991 at the age of 73.(Info edited from Lycos Music & Wikipedia)