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Sunday, 24 August 2014

Alyn Ainsworth born 24 August 1924

Alyn Ainsworth (b.Bolton, Lancashire, on 24 August 1924 - d. London 4 October 1990, age 66) was a highly respected musical director and arranger for records, television and the West End stage. 

He was educated at Canon Slade Grammar School on a scholarship but never completed his education there because at the age of 14 his talent as a singer was recognised by Herman Darewski who signed him up to tour with his dance band. When his voice broke
he learnt to play the guitar and played in local dance bands whilst working as hat salesman then for Bolton Parks Department and later as a golf pro. He then joined Oscar Rabin's orchestra where he both played with the band and did musical arrangements, they also broadcast on the radio. He also worked with Geraldo but turned down an offer from Val Parnell to conduct the London Palladium Orchestra and chose in 1951 to join the BBC Northern Dance Orchestra, the BBC's then in-house big band, as its arranger-conductor.
Ainsworth achieved a huge degree of success with the BBC NDO whose reputation as one of the top bands in the UK was in no small amount due to his hard work and high standards. In 1956 he announced during Sunday Night at the London Palladium his engagement to Teddie Beverley of the Beverley Sisters. They could not marry immediately and in 1957 he announced that the engagement was cancelled. 

He resigned from the BBC in 1960 and went freelance. He was signed up by Granada TV to replace Peter Knight as presenter of Spot the Tune",  He also worked with many visiting Americans, including Johnny Mathis, Neil Sedaka, and Barry Manilow. Ainsworth also collaborated with the Beverley Sisters on their recording of ‘Triplets’. His own records included a rare excursion into rock ‘n’ roll with ‘18th Century Rock’, credited to ‘Alyn Ainsworth with The Rock-A-Fellas’, and the more typically smooth Themes And Dreams and True Love.  

Couldn't find "18th Century Rock" but I did find the flip side entitled "Hells Bells" from 1959.
 Also came across this 1962 recording of "Diamonds Are a Girl's best Friend" on the wonderful Lord of The Boot Sale blog.
In 1965 he conducted the orchestra at the Royal Command Performance at the London Palladium for the third time. He conducted in the Eurovision Song Contest five times, 1975, 1976, 1977 for Belgium, 1978 and 1990. He was the musical director for the BBC's anniversary programme Fifty Years Of Music broadcast in 1972. In 1978 He provided the music for the LWT show Lena and Bonnie and in 1979 Alyn Ainsworth and His Orchestra provided the music for the BBC show Lena Zavaroni and Music along with Alan Roper He provided the Musical Arrangements for the show.
The ultimate professional, Ainsworth would often conduct the first house of one West End show, and the second house of another, after rehearsing for television during the day. He was capable of producing his best work under extreme pressure, while also motivating others, and was the man on whom producers could rely for the big occasion. (Info edited from Wikipedia & AllMusic). 
Here's a clip of Alyn Ainsworth and the BBC Northern Dance Orchestra in 1959, presenting a 'Make Way For Music' show from the Playhouse, Manchester. The announcer is Roger Moffat. The scene is intercut with footage of the BBC at lunchtime, including Judith Chalmers & David Coleman.

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