Bobby Crush

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Bobby Crush
Birth nameRobert Nicholas Crush
Born (1954-03-23) 23 March 1954 (age 65)
Leyton, London, England

Robert Nicholas "Bobby" Crush (born 23 March 1954)[1] is an English pianist, songwriter, actor and television presenter, originally from Leyton in East London.


Bobby Crush first came to public attention after six winning appearances on Hughie Green's British ITV talent show, Opportunity Knocks, in 1972.[2] He received the Variety Club of Great Britain award for 'Best New Artist' of 1972.[2] He recorded for the Philips label in the UK and his recordings were produced by Norman Newell, who had previously worked with Shirley Bassey, Judy Garland, Johnny Mathis and Bobby's role model, Russ Conway.

At the age of 18, Crush starred at the London Palladium already having achieved an album in the top 20 and a single "Borsalino" (from the 1970 film Borsalino) in the top 40.

His West End successes include three seasons at the London Palladium (guest starring with Jack Jones, Vic Damone and Dame Julie Andrews). As a regular performer at that venue, Bobby's name appears on the "Roll of Honour" at the Palladium's stage door. He also played a year at the Victoria Palace with Max Bygraves in SwingalongaMax, has appeared at The Royal Variety Performance and starred in his own one-man show at London's Fortune Theatre.

His work overseas includes a tour of Canada with Sir Harry Secombe in "The London Palladium Show", concerts in Australia and New Zealand, as well as performing on cruise liners.

His television appearances include Sounds Like Music, a British game show that aired on ITV from 6 June 1989 to 11 May 1990 and which was hosted by Crush, and various other programmes. Bobby's most recent TV appearances have been in the ITV sitcom Benidorm, in which he played the character "Billy Sparkle". Bobby was recently featured on the ITV series "Last Laugh in Vegas" in which 8 British acts from the 60's and 70's were flown to Las Vegas to make their American debuts.

Theatrical roles include Liberace in Liberace's Suit (Jermyn Street Theatre)[3], "Dr Frank N. Furter" in The Rocky Horror Show, "Billy Flynn" in Chicago, "Vernon Gersch" in "They're Playing our Song", "L.M." in "Pump Boys and Dinettes" and Liberace in Liberace, Live from Heaven (Leicester Square Theatre / New Zealand tour / Edinburgh Festival). Bobby also appeared in the 2018 tour of "Summer Holiday, the Musical" playing the role of "Jerry".

His radio broadcasts include his own week of shows on BBC Radio 2 and as guest contributor on various other radio programmes, the most recent being on Ken Bruce's Radio 2 show choosing "The Tracks of My Years".

His recordings include his debut album Bobby Crush, which reached no. 15 in the UK Albums Chart, and chart singles "Borsalino" and "The Sting". He has made 13 studio albums as a pianist, not including compilations. His "Double Decker Party Album", which was TV-advertised, sold 100,000 copies and brought him a double gold disc. His "Piano Party" album also went gold in New Zealand. Crush is featured vocally on Pickwick's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat playing the role of "Pharaoh" and songs from the musical Hair for Carlton Records.

Following the release of his album Reel Music, Crush played a 30 date tour with 60s singing star Gene Pitney, including a night at the London Palladium. Other career highlights include "The Stonewall Equality Show" at the Royal Albert Hall and a tour of "Back to Bacharach", Crush's tribute show to Burt Bacharach, for which he also wrote the script.

Crush has appeared in over 30 pantomimes, starting out initially in "principal boy" parts but is now in demand for "dame" roles.

As a composer, Crush has written pantomime scores, a musical (Sherwood) and comedy material for Russ Abbot and Les Dennis & Dustin Gee. His greatest success as a songwriter was penning the music and lyrics for Keith Harris and Orville's hit "Orville's Song" (also known as "I wish I could fly"), which reached no. 4 in the UK singles chart, sold a quarter of a million copies and brought Crush a silver disc.[4]

A tour with 4 Poofs and a Piano, for whom he also wrote, took place between February and April 2013.

On 23 March 2014, Crush celebrated his 60th birthday with a gala concert at the Leicester Square Theatre, London. The concert was recorded for a live CD.

Personal life[edit]

Crush came out publicly as gay in an interview with Gay Times in 2004.[5]

He lives in London's West End and is currently preparing his autobiography.[6]

Chart discography[edit]


  • Bobby Crush (1972) – UK no. 15
  • The Bobby Crush Incredible Double Decker (1982) – UK no. 53
  • All Time Piano Hits
  • Piano Party
  • Smash Hits including The Sting
  • 35 Piano Pops
  • Honky Tonk Favourites
  • Hits of the Thirties
  • Music, Music, Music!
  • Bobby Crush plays Elton John
  • First Love
  • Hollywood and Broadway
  • Reel Music (Melodies from the Movies)
  • The Best of Bobby Crush
  • Bobby Crush: The Definitive Collection[7]


  • "Borsalino" b/w "The Stripper" (1972) – UK no. 37
  • "The Good Old Bad Old Days" (1973)
  • "The Gondolas of Venice" (1973)
  • "The Sting " (1974)
  • "Mayday" (1974)
  • "Hangin' Out" (1974)
  • "The Chinese Bicycle" (1976)
  • "Lonely Ballerina" (1984)
  • "Brendan's Theme" (1984)


  1. ^ "Crush, Bobby", Film & TV Database, British Film Institute, retrieved 25 October 2007
  2. ^ a b "Bobby Crush biography". Retrieved 30 May 2007.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Gardner, Lyn (28 May 2004). "Liberace's Suit, Jermyn Street, London". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 244. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ Buckley, Bill, "At Home with Bobby Crush", Gay Times
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 128. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.

External links[edit]