Mike Leander

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Mike Leander
Birth name Michael George Farr
Born 30 June 1941 (1941-06-30)[1]
Walthamstow, (then Essex, now East London), England[2]
Died 18 April 1996(1996-04-18) (aged 54)[1]
London, England
Occupation(s) Arranger, record producer, songwriter
Years active 1963–1996
Labels Bell/Decca/Atlanic/MCA
Associated acts Marianne Faithfull, David McWilliams, Billy Fury, Marc Bolan, Joe Cocker, The Small Faces, Van Morrison, Alan Price, Peter Frampton, Keith Richards, Shirley Bassey, Gary Glitter, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, Lulu, Jimmy Page, Roy Orbison, Brian Jones, Gene Pitney

Michael George Farr[3] (30 June 1941 – 18 April 1996), professionally known as Mike Leander, was an English arranger, songwriter and record producer.[1]

He worked variously with David McWilliams ("The Days of Pearly Spencer"), Gary Glitter, the Rolling Stones, Marianne Faithfull, Andrew Loog Oldham, Joe Cocker, Billy Fury, Marc Bolan, the Small Faces, Van Morrison, Alan Price, Peter Frampton, Keith Richards, Shirley Bassey, Lulu, Jimmy Page, Roy Orbison, Ben E. King, the Drifters, Gene Pitney and the Beatles. Leander also wrote the score for the films, Privilege and Run a Crooked Mile.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Walthamstow, East London, Leander won a scholarship to Bancroft's School in Woodford Green, Essex where he was educated from 1952, until 1959.

Career[edit]

Mike Leander started his career as an arranger with Decca Records in 1963 and Bell Records in 1972 and worked with such musicians as Marianne Faithfull, Billy Fury, Marc Bolan, Joe Cocker, the Small Faces, Van Morrison, Alan Price, Peter Frampton, Keith Richards, Shirley Bassey, Lulu, Jimmy Page, Roy Orbison, Brian Jones and Gene Pitney. He is perhaps best known as co-writer and producer for Gary Glitter throughout the 1970s.

Mike Leander worked as a producer and arranger with Ben E. King and the Drifters on the Atlantic record label. He later was requested to arrange the Beatles' "She's Leaving Home" from the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album by Paul McCartney as their staple producer and arranger, George Martin was unavailable at the time, being the only producer other than Martin to actively work with the Beatles during a song recording.[4]

He was executive producer of the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice concept album Jesus Christ Superstar and in the late 1960s wrote scores for several films, including Privilege[1] with Paul Jones and Jean Shrimpton, Run a Crooked Mile[1] with Mary Tyler Moore and Louis Jourdan and The Adding Machine with Billie Whitelaw and Milo O'Shea.

Leander first worked with singer "Paul Raven" (born Paul Francis Gadd) in the 1960s and produced various singles for him on MCA Records (now Universal Music Group) and this led to Raven's part on Jesus Christ Superstar. "Raven" later became Gary Glitter and the two began an on/off working relationship that would last until Leander's death. The partnership produced a string of glam rock hits, many of which Leander co-wrote with Glitter, beginning in 1972 with "Rock and Roll (Parts 1 and 2)", which reached No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart,[5] No. 1 in France and also the top 10 in many other countries including the US. This was followed by 11 more Top 10 UK singles, including three UK chart-toppers, "I'm the Leader of the Gang (I Am)" (1973), "I Love You Love Me Love" (1973) and "Always Yours" (1974).[5]

In the 1980s he wrote the musical Matador, which gave Tom Jones a hit album and single, A Boy From Nowhere.

Personal life[edit]

He married Penny in 1974 and they went on to have two children. They remained together until his death from cancer in 1996.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 1996 – 1997". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  2. ^ Edward Seago (4 May 1996). "Obituary: Mike Leander". Independent.co.uk. Retrieved 7 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "Works written by: FARR MICHAEL GEORGE". ACE Title Search. American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Retrieved 23 November 2008. 
  4. ^ Phil Spector produced the album "Let It Be", so Leander's work on "She's Leaving Home" doesn't represent the only other arranger than George Martin to have worked on a Beatles recording. Martin, George; Pearson,William (1995) [1994]. "Chapter Sixteen. 17 March 1967: Fun is the one thing that money can't buy...". Summer of Love: The Making of Sgt Pepper. Pan Books. pp. 133–134. ISBN 0-330-34210-X. "Because Paul wanted to have a string section..." 
  5. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 228/9. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

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