Roger Cook (songwriter)

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Roger Cook
Birth name Roger Frederick Cook
Also known as Roger James Cooke
Born (1940-08-19) 19 August 1940 (age 74)
Fishponds, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England, UK
Genres Pop
Occupations Singer, songwriter, record producer
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1960s-present
Associated acts Blue Mink, David and Jonathan
Website www.rogercook.com

Roger Frederick Cook (born 19 August 1940)[1] is an English singer, songwriter and record producer, who has written many hit records for other recording artists. He has also had a successful recording career in his own right.

He is best known for his collaborations with Roger Greenaway. Cook's co-compositions have included "You've Got Your Troubles", and the transatlantic million selling songs, "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing"[2] and "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress".[3] They were the first UK songwriting partnership to be granted an Ivor Novello Award as 'Songwriters of the Year' in two successive years.[4]

In 1997, Cook became the only British songwriter to enter the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.[1]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Cook was born in Fishponds, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England.[1] Most of the hits he has written have been in collaboration with Roger Greenaway, whom he originally met while they were members of a close harmony group, the Kestrels. They had a brief but successful recording career between 1965 and 1967 as David and Jonathan, scoring hits with a cover version of the Beatles' "Michelle", and their own "Lovers of the World Unite".[5] They also penned their first hit as songwriters for others in 1965, with "You've Got Your Troubles", a number 2 UK success,[6] and US number 7 for the Fortunes.[7]

As a performer Cook is best remembered as a member of Blue Mink, sharing lead vocals with Madeline Bell. That group was formed in 1969, primarily as a recording outfit, featuring a wealth of top session musicians including Herbie Flowers (bassist), Alan Parker (guitarist), Roger Coulam (keyboardist), and Barry Morgan (drummer),[8] who were simultaneously members of the jazz / rock / big band fusion outfit CCS, another mainly recording act.

Over the next four years Blue Mink had several Top 20 entries, mostly co-written by Cook, the most successful being "Melting Pot" and "Banner Man", before they disbanded in 1974.[8]

Cook also sang backing vocals on some of the earliest recordings by Elton John,[8] and continued to record albums as a solo artist, including Study (1970), credited to Roger James Cooke, Meanwhile Back at the World (1972), Minstrel in Flight (1973) and Alright (1976).[1]

The major hits[edit]

Amongst hits he has written with others, including Greenaway and writers such as Albert Hammond, Mike Hazlewood and Tony Macaulay, are "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" (The New Seekers), "Good Times, Better Times" (Cliff Richard), "Softly Whispering I Love You" (The Congregation), "Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart" (Gene Pitney), "Home Lovin' Man" (Andy Williams), "Blame It on the Pony Express" (Johnny Johnson and the Bandwagon), "Something Old, Something New" (The Fantastics), "Something Tells Me Something's Gonna Happen Tonight" (Cilla Black), "I've Got You on My Mind", "When You Are a King", and "My Baby Loves Lovin'" (White Plains), "Gasoline Alley Bred" and "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" (The Hollies); "Freedom Come, Freedom Go" (The Fortunes), "Doctor's Orders" (Sunny), "I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman" (Whistling Jack Smith), and "Like Sister and Brother" (The Drifters). Cook co-wrote "I Just Want to Dance with You" with John Prine; Prine recorded the song in 1986 for his album German Afternoons, and it was a major hit for George Strait in 1998.[1]

Move to US[edit]

In 1975 he moved to the US and settled in Nashville, Tennessee, where he had more hits including "Talking in Your Sleep" (Crystal Gayle 1978, first recorded by Marmalade), and "Love Is on a Roll" (Don Williams).[1] In 1977 he produced The Nashville Album, a record by Chip Hawkes, who had recently left the Tremeloes (but would rejoin the group a few years thereafter). He also opened a publishing company with accomplished songwriter Ralph Murphy named Pic-A-Lic.

In 1992 he joined former Stranglers member Hugh Cornwell and guitarist Andy West to release an album, CCW.[1] Later he turned to writing for the stage, and has worked on two musicals, Beautiful and Damned, based on the lives of Jazz Age author F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda, in collaboration with Les Reed; and Don't You Rock Me Daddio, set in 1957 at the height of the skiffle age, with Joe Brown.

In 1997, Cook became the first (and so far only) British songwriter to enter the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.[1]

Cook's daughter, Katie, is a host/presenter for cable network CMT.[9]

Discography[edit]

Roger Cook[edit]

Albums

  • Study (1970)
  • Meanwhile Back at the World (1972)
  • Minstrel in Flight (1973)
  • Alright (1976)[1]

Songwriting[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Huey, Steve (19 August 1940). "Roger Cook – Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  2. ^ Ami Sedghi (4 November 2012). "UK's million-selling singles: the full list". Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  3. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 313/4. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  4. ^ "2009 Award and Induction Ceremony Induction Ceremonies". Songwriters Hall of Fame. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 142. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  6. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 208. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  7. ^ "Roger Greenaway Timeline". Songwriters Hall of Fame. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c "Blue Mink biography by Dave Thompson". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 10 February 2009. 
  9. ^ Morton, Ken. "Interviewing the Interviewer – CMT's Katie Cook". The 9513. Retrieved 1 October 2009. 
  10. ^ a b "The "Hilltop" Ad: The Story of a Commercial". Memory.loc.gov. Retrieved 2012-12-258. 
  11. ^ Martin C. Strong: The Great Rock Discography, Edinburgh/Ffm. 1996, ISBN 0-86241-604-3
  12. ^ Günter Ehnert (Hrsg.): Hit-Bilanz, Deutsche Chart Singles 1956–1980. Taurus-Press, Hamburg 1990, ISBN 3-922542-24-7, S. 51
  13. ^ Joel Whitburn: The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits. 7. Auflage. Billboard Books, New York 2000, ISBN 0-8230-7690-3, S. 214

External links[edit]