Cyril Stapleton (Dec. 31, 1914 - Feb. 25, 1974) was a British violinist and jazz bandleader. Born in Mapperley, Nottingham. At age seven, Cyril began studying the violin, and, at age 12, made his first broadcast from 5NG, the local radio station in Nottingham. He was often heard on broadcasts from the BBC Studios in Birmingham, but while still very young, he went to Czechoslovakia in order to study under Sevcik, the famous Czech violin teacher.
While still a teenager, he found work playing in cinema 'pit orchestras' accompanying silent films. At age 17, he won a Trinity College of Music (London) scholarship. While still a student, he found work playing in the Henry Hall Dance Band, just formed for BBC broadcasts. He was with the band on their first ever broadcast, and can be heard playing on some of Hall's early Columbia 78s recorded in 1932. At some point, Cyril left Hall and he returned to Nottingham, and again found work in the local cinemas.
He next joined the Jack Payne Orchestra, and was a member when the band toured to South Africa. And, again was heard on some of Payne's 1936 Rex label recordings (78rpm). When that job ended, Cyril formed his own band in London, where he found work at The Casino (Compton Street), and also at Fisher's Restaurant (New Bond Street). In 1939, he made his very first broadcast with his own band. He also played briefly with the Jack Hylton Orchestra, under Billy Ternent.
With the start of WWII, his musical career came to an abrupt halt when he enlisted in the Royal Air Force as an air gunner. He soon was organizing music for Camp shows and concerts at various military stations. During this time, he visited New York City. During his final year of RAF service (he served for a total of five years) he became a member of the RAF Symphony Orchestra then playing in Uxbridge Upon his Service discharge, he followed a career in 'Classical' music, and at one time, was a member of three orchestras: the London Symphony, the National Symphony and the Philharmonia Orchestra.
In 1947, for whatever reasons, found him back in London again playing at Fisher's Restaurant with his own band. (One of his vocalists was a young Dick James, who later became music publisher for The Beatles.) Stapleton's band was also heard on late night broadcasts. In 1948, he added a string section, and his work on such radio shows as "Your Hit Parade" and "Golden Slipper" brought him wider fame.
In 1952, the "BBC Dance Orchestra" became the "BBC Show Band", and Cyril Stapleton became the leader. The Show Band was also seen in some early BBC Telecasts, further increasing Stapleton's fame. The first broadcast was heard on October 2, 1952. Robert Farnon arranged the band's signature tune, which opened to the words: "Just For You... “As the BBC's prestige Pop music orchestra, the band attracted both top British stars, and American entertainers such as Frank Sinatra and Nat 'King' Cole. In late 1955, a second Show Band film "Just for You" (Cinemascope, directed by Michael Carreras, Odeon Cinema circuit) appeared. In 'The Story of a Starry Night' section, Stapleton was the featured violin soloist, and further on also accompanied Joan Regan on piano.
On June 28, 1957, the BBC announced a decision to end the band. Cyril then formed his own group with which he toured and appeared at venues all over the UK. He even managed two chart hits in the United States with the instrumental "The Italian Theme" (#25, 1956) and "The Children's Marching Song (Nick Nack Paddy Whack)" (#13, 1959). Stapleton continued to tour and record into the 1970s; in 1965 he also became head of A&R for Pye Records.Sadly he died from a heart attack at only 59 years of age.
Over the years, many of the unknown youngsters who guested with the band, went on to stardom in their own right, including such names as singer Matt Monro, pianist Bill McGuffie (who later had his own orchestra), Rikki Fulton, Stan Stennett , Bert Weedon and Tommy Whittle. (info mainly from Big Bands Database)
"Theme from "Department S"" by Cyril Stapleton