Barry Mason

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Barry Mason
Birth nameJohn Barry Mason
Born(1935-07-12)12 July 1935
Wigan, Lancashire, England
Died16 April 2021(2021-04-16) (aged 85)
GenresPopular music
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active1960s–2021

John Barry Mason[1] MBE (12 July 1935[2] – 16 April 2021) was an English singer and songwriter. A leading songwriter of the 1960s, he wrote the bulk of his most successful songs in partnership with Les Reed. Mason gained many gold and platinum awards for his work including five Ivor Novello Awards, the most recent of them in 1998.

Life and career[edit]

Mason was born in Wigan, eldest son of Phyllis née Hart, and journalist, Cecil Mason, who died when Barry was nine. He had a younger brother, Max, and two half-sisters, Lynn & Diane, by his mother's second husband, an American GI. He grew up in the village of Coppull, near Chorley in Lancashire. His songwriting credits included three UK Singles Chart number ones, "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)", "The Last Waltz", and "I Pretend", as well as "Here It Comes Again", "There Goes My First Love", "A Man Without Love", "Winter World of Love" "Now That You are Gone", "Rowbottom Square", "Delilah", "Love Is All", and "You Just Might See Me Cry".

His songs have been recorded by Tom Jones, Dalida, P. J. Proby, David Essex, The Drifters, Rod Stewart, Petula Clark, Perry Como, Elvis Presley, Engelbert Humperdinck, The Fortunes, Charles Aznavour, Tony Christie, Connie Francis, Mireille Mathieu, Barbra Streisand, The Dave Clark Five, Cliff Portwood, Malcolm Roberts, Our Kid and Ashley Maclaine.

Mason credited his start in songwriting to his first hit in 1960 as a producer. "I met this boy called Tommy Bruce and I spent my last few pounds making a demo of him singing an old Fats Waller song, Ain't Misbehavin' – and he had a hit (No.3, UK, 1960). Suddenly, I was his manager, not knowing anything about the business. But the important thing was, I was in the business."[3] Mason and Reed wrote a song for Kathy Kirby, "I'll Try Not to Cry", as part of A Song for Europe 1965, the BBC's contest to choose the United Kingdom entry for that year's Eurovision Song Contest in Naples.[4] The song was beaten by "I Belong".[5] "The Last Waltz" became a million-selling UK number one for Humperdinck in September 1967.[4][6] In 1968, the duo scored another UK number 1 hit with Des O'Connor's recording of "I Pretend".[7] Mason and Reed also wrote "Who's Doctor Who", a novelty song recorded by Doctor Who star Frazer Hines in 1967, but it failed to chart.[8] They also wrote "Marching on Together" (aka "Leeds! Leeds! Leeds!"), the anthem of Leeds United F.C. His last chart topping song was "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes), for session group, Edison Lighthouse, in January 1970.

He was the major songwriter for the English singer Declan Galbraith for his first album Declan (2002), including the hit "Tell Me Why" (No. 29 in UK[9]) and "Till the Day We Meet Again".

He founded his own publishing company, Barry Mason Enterprises Ltd.[2][10]

Mason was a frequent guest on the BBC1 panel game Pop Quiz, hosted by Mike Read.

He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2020 Birthday Honours for services to music.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Barry Mason had two daughters, Aimi and Maggie and a son, Tyler. He died in April 2021, survived by his sisters Lynn and Diane and long-term partner Vanessa Martin.



  • The Songwriter (1976), Magnet
  • The Singer and the Songs (1978), Magnet


  1. ^ "Works written by: MASON JOHN BARRY". ACE Title Search. American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Archived from the original on 20 September 2002. Retrieved 23 November 2008.
  2. ^ a b "Barry Mason Discography at Discogs". 12 July 1935. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  3. ^ "RIP: English lyricist Barry Mason". Retrieved 29 October 2021.
  4. ^ a b Les Reed (24 July 1935). "Les Reed - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1965 | Year page | Eurovision Song Contest - Malmö 2013". Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  6. ^ Ami Sedghi (4 November 2012). "UK's million-selling singles: the full list". Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  7. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 403. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  8. ^ "5 Best & Worst Doctor Who Songs Of All Time". WhatCulture. 28 December 2014. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  9. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 146. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  10. ^ "John Barry Mason - Director at Patricia Music Limited and Barry Mason Enterprises Limited. During the week of Monday, January 9 - Friday, January 13, 2017 Barry is picking his 'Tracks of My Years' on the Ken Bruce Show on BBC Radio 2". Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  11. ^ "No. 63135". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 October 2020. p. B20.

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