Google+ Followers

Friday, 1 January 2016

Eric Winstone born 1 January 1915

Eric Winstone (b. 1 January 1915, London, England. d. 2 May 1974, Pagham, Sussex, England) was a popular bandleader and composer from the 30s through to the 70s.

Winstone worked as a clerk at the Gas Light and Coke Company in Westminster, and played the piano in his spare time, before leaving to become a full time musician. After leading his first band at the Spanish Club in Cavendish Square, London in 1935, he learned to play the accordion, and eventually founded an accordion school. He became an accomplished arranger for the instrument, and formed his renowned Accordion Quintet and Swing Quartet. The latter outfit consisted of himself on accordion, with string bass, vibraphone, guitar and vocalist Julie Dawn. 

During World War II he led the Eric Winstone Dance Orchestra and toured throughout Europe entertaining the troops. After the war his highly popular stage show played theatres and ballrooms, and was resident at Butlin's Holiday Camps in the summer for more than 20 years.  


His best-remembered compositions include the atmospheric "Stage Coach" (his signature tune), "Oasis", "Bottle Party", "Mirage", "Pony Express", and he also wrote several light pieces and some background music for films. 

His limited company, Eric Winstone Orchestras Ltd., was involved in a widely reported court case involving Diana Dors in 1957. Dors had been engaged to appear with the orchestra at a charity matinee in July 1954 for the RAF Association in Clacton, where Winstone's orchestra was playing a season at Butlins holiday camp.

She failed to fulfil the singing commitment, which was to take place in a cinema, due to having a septic throat. She claimed that the illness had been notified to the company. The company argued that she was fulfilling her film commitments and therefore the illness was an excuse, and furthermore that being unable to sing was not the issue at stake as merely saying "hello" would have sufficed.  
Eric Winstone rehearsing with singer Ray Merrill in the background
Winstone's company sued for breach of contract and this caused Dors to counter-sue for slander, the outcome of which was that the company was awarded £5 compensation and Dors received 100 guineas. The judge in the case said that the company's financial loss had been non-existent, having heard that it was to receive £210 for the performance and a further £40 if all the seats were sold. Dors, who was to receive £80 for her fifteen-minute appearance, donated her court award to the charity.  
Winstone had a somewhat tempestuous personal life at times. In September 1959 he obtained a court order that banned his mother-in-law from staying at his home. In the same month a court ordered that an "iron curtain" be constructed in the property so as to split the rooms between himself, then aged 46, and his wife and two-year-old daughter. He was also ordered to stop playing his piano by 6pm each day in order not to disturb his family. At that time he was using it to compose arrangements for three bands and five radio shows. Four months later, his then 26-year-old wife, Myrtle, a former fashion model, was seeking a judicial separation. They had married in February 1957.

For some years Winstone was the musical director for Southern Television, and he also ran an entertainment agency for a time.
During the 1970s Eric recorded various LPs for the Avenue International label, some of which included arrangements and compositions by composers who worked for the Amphonic library. His Eric Winstone Plays 007 LP from 1973 was co-produced and co-arranged by Syd Dale. Eric co-wrote Opus 88 that was included on the first Amphonic library LP, also composing for the Conroy and Francis Day and Hunter recorded music libraries. (info various mainly Wikipedia & New Musical Express)

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For The Eric Winstone Orchestra - ''Easy Going Sixties'' go here:

01.Monsieur Dupont
02.Please Please Me
03.The Last Waltz
04.Can't Take My Eyes Off You
07.Can't Buy Me Love
08.By The Time I Get To Pheonix
09.Strangers In The Night
10.Sabre Dance
11.Bonnie & Clyde
12.You've Got Your Troubles
15.Good Vibrations
16.San Francisco
17.I Wish You Love
18.The Pontinental