Mitch Murray was a songwriter who had written successfully for Cliff Richard and Gerry and the Pacemakers.
Mitch kindly sent me his resumé:
Mitch Murray was responsible for scores of international hit songs during
the '60s and '70s, including five 'Number Ones' in the UK, three 'Number Ones' in
the USA and many others in every part of the world.
Mitch has received several awards including those presented by 'ASCAP' and 'BMI'
in the USA, two lvor Novello Awards (including the 1999 'Jimmy Kennedy Award') and
the Gold Badge of Merit awarded by the British Academy of Songwriters Composers
and Authors (BASCA) in 1986. In the first Queen's Birthday Honours of the year
2000, he missed out on being awarded a Knighthood…by a mile!
He is a long-serving director of the Performing Right Society - having become the
youngest ever member of the board in 1968. He served for many years on the council
of The Songwriters Guild - and again later, when it became known as BASCA.
Mitch Murray conceived and founded the famous Society of Distinguished
Songwriters (SODS) over 30 years ago. He was elected as the founding Chairman -
King Sod 1st - and in 1992, became the first person to be elected 'King' for the
second time (King Sod XXI).
Among the members, past and present, Lord Lloyd Webber,
Sir Tim Rice, Lionel Bart, David Essex, Mike Batt, Guy Chambers, Tony Hatch,
Justin Hayward, The Team of Stock, Aitken and Waterman, Brian May, Roy Wood and
around 40 other top composers.
1962: The year he started writing songs. Although a Londoner, he composed
the first 'Liverpool' No. 1 record - 'How Do You Do It?' - by Gerry and the
Pacemakers . The song had initially been recorded by The Beatles on their first
session at Abbey Road as their debut single, but remained unissued until the
release of their 'Anthology One' in November 1995. Other songs include:
'I Like It', 'I'm Telling You Now' and 'You Were Made For Me',
both for Freddie and the Dreamers, were also huge hits and several others
followed around this time. 'How To Write a Hit Song' - the first book to have been
written by Mitch Murray - was published by B.Feldman & Co, Ltd, and was snapped
up by many eager would-be songwriters; among them, none other than Sting - who
describes Mitch as "my mentor", and has since written the foreword to
'Mitch Murray's Handbook For The Terrified Speaker'.
1965: In collaboration with Peter Callander came:
'Even the Bad Times are Good' (Tremeloes); 'Hitchin' a Ride' (Vanity Fare);
'Turn on the Sun' (Nana Mouskouri); 'Ragamuffin Man' (Manfred Mann); and another
No. 1 hit: 'The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde' (Georgie Fame), which became the
first title in the catalogue of Intune Ltd., a successful publishing house,
owned and operated by the partnership.
1966/74: During this period, Bus Stop Records was formed. It was also owned
and operated by Murray and Callander. Among the releases written and produced by
Mitch and Peter for Bus Stop and other record labels were: 'Las Vegas'; 'I Did
What I Did For Maria' and 'Avenues and Alleyways' (Tony Christie) and 'Billy
Don't Be A Hero' and 'The Night Chicago Died' (Paper Lace). Both Paper Lace
titles went to No. 1 in the USA within three months of each other.
1974/8: Mitch took up residence in the Netherlands with his family and
continued writing and producing records for the continental market.
1978: He returned to the British Isles and, from his Isle of Man home,
began to concentrate on jingles and signature tunes for clients like British
Telecom, Woolworth, Rothmans, Radio Aire (Leeds) and others.
1984: Pioneered the very first 'Phone-In' comedy service - 'The Telefun Show'-
which began as an official British Telecom Service, continued as a sponsored Daily
Mirror show and went on to go 'Premium'. For several years, Mitch produced and
presented the famous 'Dial-a-Disc', which became British Telecom's most popular
'Guideline' Service (after the speaking clock), attracting 300,000 calls per day!
A regular broadcaster on Radio and Television, Mitch presented his own
'Mitch Murray Show' on Metro Radio, Newcastle-on-Tyne.
Since recording the comedy classic 'Down Came The Rain' back in the sixties, Mitch Murray has built up a
reputation for humour in many areas including voice characterisation for movies
and radio commercials, after-dinner speaking and, of course, speechwriting for
many celebrity clients, politicians and industrialists. He produced and narrated
the first in a series of talking books for 'The Millionaire's Bookshelf', wrote
comedy lines for Oliver Reed who recorded his own version of another Mitch Murray
novelty classic: 'I Drink To Your Memory', collaborated again with Peter Callander,
this time on a projected comedy television series and started work on his
autobiography entitled 'I Hardly Knew The Beatles At All'.
Many of his songs have now become Pop Standards and are continually being revived.
'Hitchin' A Ride', re-recorded by Sinitta enjoyed a new lease of life in the top
thirty charts of the nineties, and has since won a BMI award for two million
performances in the USA.
His '60's classic 'How Do You Do It?' was featured in the Phil Collins film,
'Buster' and continues to be seen on various television commercials. It is now,
of course, a permanent part of the Beatles catalogue through its inclusion in
'Anthology One'. 'Billy, Don't Be A Hero' featured in 'Priscilla, Queen Of The
Desert', 'The Night Chicago Died' was performed by John Cusak in 'High Fidelity'
and 'Avenues and Alleyways' was sung by Jude Law, Jonny Lee Miller, Ray Winstone
and other members of the cast in the BritPack gangster movie, 'Love, Honour and Obey'.
His comedy classic, 'Down Came The Rain' (which he had recorded himself back in
the '60's), was revived by Lord Lloyd Webber and released by the 'Itsy Witsy'
chart-topping team; Bombalurina as a Christmas record. It has become a standard in
Italy where it enjoys great success as a serious ballad as recorded by top
artistes like Mina. 'I Like It' was heavily featured as a TV commercial jingle by
Spillers Petfoods and more recently for Petits Filous Yogurt, and 'You Were Made
For Me', became Dairylea's promotion song for its 2001 TV campaign.
Mitch Murray also conducted a Master Class in songwriting at Manchester's
University College, Salford, for students aiming for their BA honours degree in
popular music. Described by his friend, the late Bob Monkhouse, as 'Britain's top
funny speechwriter', Mitch is now regarded as the leading professional in this
field. His best-selling book - 'Mitch Murray's One-Liners For Weddings', published
by W.Foulsham & Co, Ltd, in 1996, went to No.1 in its non-fiction category.
His second was the highly acclaimed hardback, 'Mitch Murray's One-Liners For
Business', followed by 'Mitch Murray's One-Liners For Speeches On Special
Occasions' and 'Mitch Murray's Handbook For The Terrified Speaker -
(Valium in a Volume)'. The next project is 'Mitch Murray's Encyclopaedia Of
One-Liners', due for publication in the Autumn of 2006 - He should only live that long.