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Saturday, 19 November 2016

Harry Robertson born 19 November 1932

Harry Robertson (19 November 1932 – 17 January 1996) was a musician, bandleader, music director and composer. Born Henry Macleod Robertson, he was often credited under the name Harry Robinson. He worked as a musical director on British television shows in the 1950s and 1960s, and also arranged for theatre shows and films, notably those of the Hammer production company.
He was the son of Henry Robertson of Elgin, Morayshire, Scotland. He learned piano, but then determined to become an archaeologist, studying the subject at university before giving up his academic studies because of his poor health, and becoming a music teacher in London.
He started working occasionally as an arranger for Decca Records, before becoming the musical director for Tommy Steele. He explained that in the late 1950s he began using the name Robinson, as well as Robertson, in his professional activities:
" It was whilst working at Decca that I had to change my name. This was because the cheque that they paid me with was made out to HARRY ROBINSON and not Robertson. It would have been a nightmare to try and change it and the bank would have been difficult, so out of laziness I suppose I opened an account in the name of Robinson. And that’s how Harry Robinson came about..."

Robertson was the musical director of the British television pop music programmes, Six-Five Special (1957 BBC) and Oh Boy! (1959 ITV). He was responsible for writing and producing the pop song "Hoots Mon" (not so much a song, more an instrumental take on "A Hundred Pipers" with spoken interjections in a mock Scottish accent) by Lord Rockingham's XI, which stayed at Number 1 on the UK Singles Chart for three weeks in 1958.

Harry Robinson conducting Lord Rockingham II for Oh Boy! [ ITV 1958]

He arranged and conducted the stage shows, Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be (1960) and Maggie May (1964) and also co-wrote the West End hit musical Elvis. Robinson was the conductor for the United Kingdom entry in the 1961 Eurovision Song Contest. He also wrote highly acclaimed string arrangements for English folk singers, such as Nick Drake (notably, "River Man", from Drake's debut album, Five Leaves Left) and Sandy Denny.
In 1968, he wrote the theme tune for a TV series, Journey to the Unknown, produced by Hammer Film Productions. He then began scoring films for the company. Robertson also produced and composed the music of Hawk the Slayer (1980), Prisoners of the Lost Universe (1982) and Jane and the Lost City (1988)] co-writing the script of the first two. He wrote a number of film scripts, television series and books, including The Electric Eskimo, The Boy Who Never Was, Sammy's Super T-Shirt. He created and wrote the music for the TV series Virtual Murder.
He also scored commercials such as Barclaycard. Robinson's untimely death at 63 occurred in Wandsworth, London, on 17 January 1996, and the death was registered under his real name Henry MacLeod Robertson.

He married Ziki Arbuthnot who inherited the Wharton Barony in 1990. They had four children, the eldest of whom Myles is now the 12th Baron. (Info mainly Wikipedia)

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