Peter Taylor (composer)

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Peter Taylor
Born Manchester, England
Years active 1960s – Current

Peter Taylor is a musician and composer born in Manchester, England. He has worked with the BBC and Granada Television, and together with Cliff Twemlow formed one half of the composition partnership Peter Reno.

Early life[edit]

Taylor began his music career studying pianoforte at Ardwicke Central High School in Manchester. Inspired and entranced by the virtuosity of alto saxophonist Freddie Gardener, Peter went on to study at the Regional School of Music in Manchester as a saxophone and clarinet student under John Roadhouse, lead saxophonist with the Northern Variety Orchestra of the BBC. Soon, Peter became involved with the Northern Dance Orchestra of the BBC, where all the Regional School of Music's tutors were members in various disciplines.

In 1956 Peter became a pupil of Professor Fred Dickinson of the Royal Northern College of Music, studying clarinet. During his time there he founded his vast knowledge of the classical repertoire and became associated with members of the Halle Orchestra, which included Martin Milner as band leader, Jean Bell on Harp and Rayson Whalley on percussion.

In those early days of his musical career Peter played in many Northern 'Palais-De-Danse' orchestras, or 'dance bands', with which he regularly performed at the Ritz and Plaza ballrooms in Manchester. Peter's career developed further when he began playing for the Raymond Woodhead Band at the Ashton Palais, which was a famous band at the time. As Peter became a more accomplished baritone saxophone player it attracted more gigs for him, although he was also working as a music copyist for the BBC orchestras at the time.

Career at Granada Television[edit]

His work with the BBC soon led to him joining Granada Television as a Music Librarian, Advisor, Supervisor, Head of Copyright and a Contractor.

During his time at Granada Television, Peter commissioned high-profile theme tunes and incidental music, including 'Façade Suite' by William Walton for 'Northern News', Ravel -Mussorgsky's 'Pictures at an Exhibition' for 'The Verdict Is Yours', 'English Dances' by Malcolm Arnold for 'What the Papers Say' and many other highly successful and recognisable soundtracks. Probably the most famous piece he commissioned was called 'Lancashire Blues' by Eric Spear for a new soap opera with the working title of 'Florizel Street'. The story goes that a tea lady named Agnes remarked that 'Florizel' sounded like a brand of disinfectant, so the name of the soap opera was changed. Since it first aired in 1960, the 'Lancashire Blues' chosen by Peter has become one of the Twentieth Century's most iconic theme tunes to what we now know as Coronation Street.

At Granada, Peter worked alongside music directors Peter Knight and Derek Hilton, with whom he planned many musical strategies including Mr. Hilton's composition for 'Country Matters' which was awarded an Ivor Novello Award. He also worked with drama directors Henry Kaplan, Silvio Narrizano and Cliff Owen on music content, and later with Claude Whatham, Mike Newell and Michael Apted, who all went on to become highly respected film directors.

Peter soon began composing music himself, and had pieces featured on regional programmes such as 'What's On' and 'This is Your Right' and school programmes like 'Picture Box'. Following his initial few successes, he went on to co-write the memorable theme tune for the 1970s TV series Crown Court for De Wolfe Music, performed by the Simon Park Orchestra, as well as music for an animated cartoon series called 'The Magic Ball'.[1]

After Granada bought sheet music publishers Novello and Co. in 1970, Peter resigned from the broadcasting company, but still gleaned some satisfaction from commissioning composer Derek New to write 'College Boy' for University Challenge, which is still in use today, as well as the theme to 'What The Papers Say'. Following his departure from Granada, Peter forged a new career in Personnel and Training Development having gained a professional qualification from the Chartered Members of the Institute of Personnel and Development.

Peter Taylor's most notable music supervision was for TV drama 'Double Indemnity' directed by Cliff Owen which aired in 1960 as part the 'ITV Play of the Week' series. He also cites the music content for documentary series 'The Fifties' as one of his favourite projects. Other notable projects on his credits include the 1956 documentary show 'Zoo Time', which used Prokofiev's 'Peter and the Wolf', the long-running 'World in Action' documentary series which ran from the early sixties until the end of the nineties and used a theme tune credited to Jonathan Weston (but composed and improvised by guitarist Shawn Phillips and organist Mick Weaver), which Peter commissioned. Other notable programmes on his list of credits include 'Under Fire', which included 'Rodeo Ballet' by A.Copeland, and 'Searchlight' which included a symphony by Shostakovich.

Peter is still involved in all matters musical to this day. He has written many library tracks for De Wolfe Music, some of which are available currently on '70s: The Original Soundtrack' (DWCD0255), as well as classical fanfares and pieces on 'Classics 4' (DWCD0139), while some more of his tracks appear on 'Movie Archive – The Silent Film Era' (DWCD0096) and 'Come Dancing' (DWCD0104).

Peter Reno albums[edit]

  • "Z-Patrol" (1967 De Wolfe Music; with Reg Tilsley)
  • "Inter City" (1967 De Wolfe; with John Reids, Jack Trombey)
  • "Bossalena" (1967 De Wolfe, with Keith Papworth and Edward Ward)
  • "Mini-Skirt" (1967 De Wolfe, with Les Reed, Reg Tilsley)
  • There's a World Going On (1967 De Wolfe, with Reg Tilsley and others)
  • "Lucky Me" (1967 De Wolfe, track 'intimate' only)
  • "Traveling Light" (1967 DeWolfe)
  • "Polaris" (1967 DeWolfe)
  • "For the Young" (19?? De Wolfe: with John Reids)
  • “Big City Story” (1968, De Wolfe)
  • “More Electric Banana” (1968, De Wolfe) (songs “Street Girl” “Love, Dance and Sing” only)
  • “Inherit the Wind” (1968, De Wolfe)
  • “Colours” (1969, De Wolfe)
  • “Blue Pacific” (1969, De Wolfe)
  • "Loony Tunes" (1969, De Wolfe)
  • “TV Suite Vol 2” (De Wolfe 1970, with Johnny Hawksworth)
  • "Sweet Chariot and Friends" (1970, DeWolfe)
  • "Key Largo" (De Wolfe 1970, with Reg Tilsley)
  • "Tilsley Orchestral 9" (1970, De Wolfe with Reg Tilsley and D Bradford)
  • “Sunspots” (De Wolfe, 1971 with Johnny Hawksworth)
  • “Sit Back” (Hudson music 1971)
  • “Illinois” (De Wolfe 1971)
  • “Alibi” (De Wolfe 1971 with Johnny Hawksworth)
  • “Restless Woman” (DeWolfe 1971)
  • “Times Two” (De Wolfe 1971, with Keith Papworth)
  • “Afro-Rock” (De Wolfe 1971, as Vecchio)
  • “Native Rhymes” (De Wolfe 1972)
  • "Wheel of Fortune" (1972 De Wolfe, with Reg Tilsley)
  • "Great Day" (1972 De Wolfe, with Simon Haseley)
  • “Quartet of Modern Jazz Vol.2” (1972, De Wolfe)
  • “Tete a Tete” (1972, De Wolfe with Reg Wale, Simon Haseley)
  • “City Scene” (De Wolfe 1972 with Keith Papworth and Jack Trombey)
  • “Junction” (De Wolfe 1973)
  • "Synthesizer Contact" (De Wolfe 1973)
  • “Syndrome” (De Wolfe 1973 with Reg Tilsley)
  • "Hot Breath" (1974 Hudson Records, with Reg Tilsley)
  • "Super Ride" (1974 De Wolfe, with Barry Stoller)

See also[edit]


  • de Wolfe, W. and Robertson, S. (2010).
  1. ^ De Wolfe Music Compact Disk Catalogue 1988 printed by The Abrose Press 01-518 6638

External links[edit]