Bobby Valentino (British musician)

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Bobby Valentino
Bobby Valentino
Background information
Birth nameRobert James Beckingham
Also known asBobby Valentino
Born (1954-06-22) 22 June 1954 (age 64)
GenresCountry, jazz, pop, rock
InstrumentsViolin, guitar
Years active1974–present
Associated actsFabulous Poodles
Hank Wangford
Los Pistoleros
The Bluebells
WebsiteOfficial website
Los Pistoleros

Bobby Valentino (born Robert James Beckingham, 22 June 1954) is a British violinist, singer, songwriter and actor.


Born in Chatham, Kent, he adopted the stage name Bobby Valentino in 1975. Valentino's first success was as a founding member of The Fabulous Poodles, but he is most often recognised as the violinist and co-writer of the #1 hit single "Young at Heart", by The Bluebells.

After leaving the Fabulous Poodles in the early 1980s, Valentino was a member of the Electric Bluebirds before joining the Hank Wangford Band at the beginning of 1984: the British country band already included pedal steel guitarist B. J. Cole (Cochise) and former Liverpool Scene/Scaffold/ guitarist Andy Roberts.

In the five years that Valentino was part of Wangford's band they recorded three albums; filmed two TV series for Channel 4The A-Z of C&W and Big Big Country, which attracted audiences of between two and four million at a time when The Last Resort with Jonathan Ross was being watched by 750,000; performed and wrote an acclaimed and record breaking musical: C. H. A. P. S (Cowboy, Horseriding Acting Performance Studio) at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East (their previous record was held by Oh, What a Lovely War!); toured constantly all over the United Kingdom and Europe and made numerous other radio and television appearances. These included a TV special, Christmas in Strangeways showing the band in concert on Boxing Day with a captive audience in Manchester's Victorian jail.

Valentino's violin can be heard on tracks by artists including: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Bob Geldof, The Alabama 3 and Shania Twain. He is also an occasional member of Mark Knopfler's current band. He has contributed to many recordings by the British Folk Punk band The Men They Couldn't Hang as well as frequently appearing with them on stage. His own most recent band, Los Pistoleros, sees him teamed up once again with former Hank Wangford bandmates B. J. Cole and Martin Belmont. Valentino is lead singer and guitarist in addition to playing the violin.

A part-time actor and model, Valentino has performed in West End musical theatre: in Destry Rides Again with Alfred Molina and Jill Gascoigne and in C.H.A.P.S. at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East. Occasionally he can be seen in films and commercials, usually taking the part of Clark Gable.

Solo career[edit]

Valentino has released three solo albums.

You're in the Groove Jackson was recorded during 1990 in Livingstone Studios in Wood Green and GibsonWood Studios in Deptford and was released in 1991 on Big Life Records. The Airplay was significant that many people[who?] thought he had had a hit but the distributors, Rough Trade Records went bankrupt the week it was due in the shops.

In 1996 You're Telling Me, which consisted of some new tracks and the best of You're in the Groove Jackson, was released by Vireo Records to critical acclaim and Valentino appeared at the 1996 South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas to launch the album. Again, the record company had distribution difficulties.

The 2001 release, This is Murder, consisted of new tracks and previous recordings from the earlier recordings and appeared on E.M. Records.

All three titles are quotes from the Bob Hope and Bing Crosby film musical, Road to Rio.

A 4th album is due for release in June 2011 under the title of Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake – another quote from Crosby and Hope.

Valentino is currently working on an album of new material with the working title of 6 ft 3ins.

Personal life[edit]

Valentino is the brother of the noted British composer, arranger and conductor, Anne Dudley.

Legal actions[edit]

In 2002 Valentino won a court case against Robert Hodgens (aka Bobby Bluebell) of Scots pop band The Bluebells for unpaid royalties from his contribution to their 1993 hit "Young at Heart", co-written by Hodgens and Siobhan Fahey. Valentino's case hinged on convincing the judge that he, rather than Hodgens, had composed the song's distinctive violin part, and that the violin part made a significant enough difference to the song to be considered an original contribution.[1] The song, first recorded by Bananarama in 1983, was then released by the Bluebells with the added violin part in 1984, reaching No. 8 in the UK Singles chart. Valentino was paid a session fee of £75. However his claim against Hodgens only dated back to the time of the single's 1993 re-release and chart-topping performance on the back of a high-profile Volkswagen TV commercial. The court case attracted media attention after Valentino performed the violin part in court to illustrate his point, convincing Mr Justice Floyd to rule in his favour and award him damages of £100,000.[2] A subsequent appeal by Hodgens against the ruling was unsuccessful.[3]

In 2008 Valentino brought an action against the American R&B singer Bobby Wilson (then billed as "Bobby Valentino") and his then record label Def Jam for "Passing off, Trade Mark infringement, and breach of contract, in relation to record sales, recorded content, and artist's live performances".[4]


  • Alabama 3 – "Wade into the Water" (2000) Violin
  • Alabama 3– "Power in the Blood" (2003) Violin
  • Any Trouble – "Wrong End of the Race" (1984) Violin
  • Big Country – "Eclectic" (1996) Violin
  • BluebellsThe Singles Collection (1993) Violin
  • Bluebells – "Sisters" (1984) Fiddle
  • Blues Band – "Brand Loyalty" (1982) Violin
  • Billy Bragg – "Talking with the Taxman About Poetry" (1986) Violin
  • Bronski Beat – "Truthdare Doubledare" (1986) Violin
  • Sam Brown – "Stop" (1988) Violin
  • Cactus Rain – "In Our Time" (1990) Violin
  • The Christians – "Colours" (1990) Violin
  • B.J. Cole – "Heart of the Moment" (1995) Violin, Viola
  • B.J. Cole – "Trouble in Paradise" (2004) Violin
  • Andrew Cunningham – "20 Golden Greats" (1990) Violin
  • Electric Bluebirds – "Back on the Train" (1996) Fiddle, Vocals
  • The Fabulous Poodles – "Fabulous Poodles" (1977) Violin, Mandolin, Vocals
  • The Fabulous Poodles – "Mirror Stars" (1978) Violin, Mandolin, Vocals
  • The Fabulous Poodles – "Unsuitable" (1978) Violin, Mandolin, Vocals
  • The Fabulous Poodles – "Think Pink" (1979) Violin, Mandolin, Vocals
  • The Fabulous Poodles – "His Masters Choice" (1995) Violin, Mandolin, Vocals
  • The Grants – "Let's Dance" (1998) Violin, Mandolin, Jaws Harp
  • Haysi Fantayzee – "Battle Hymns for Children Singing" (1983) Violin
  • The Ferns – "The Falling Trees" (1999) Producer, Violin
  • Lena Fiagbe – "Vision" (1994) Violin
  • Holly Beth Vincent – "Holly & the Italians" (1982) Violin, Mandolin
  • John Illsley -" Never Told a Soul" (1984) Violin
  • Jah Shaka/Mad Professor -"Jah Shaka Meets Mad Profes.." (1984) Violin
  • Patricia Kaas – "Tour de Charme" (1993) Violin, Vocals
  • Patricia Kaas – "Je Te Dis Vous" (1994) Violin
  • David KnopflerRelease (1983) Violin
  • Mark Knopfler "Quality Shoe" & "Baloney Again" (2003) Violin, Mandolin
  • Gasper Lawal – "Abio'sun n"i (1985) Violin
  • Les Rita Mitsouko – "Les Rita Mitsouko Presentent the..." (1987) Violin
  • "Live in London Vol.1" (1984) Violin, Vocals
  • Los Pistoleros – "Trigger Happy" (2001) Violin, Vocals, Guitar
  • Los Pistoleros – "Cult 45" (2004) Violin, Vocals, Guitar
  • Nick Lowe & His Cowboy Outfit -"Nick Lowe & His Cowboy.." (1984) Fiddle
  • Kirsty MacColl – "What Do Pretty Girls Do?" (1998) Violin
  • Andy McCoy – "R'n’R Memorabilia" (2003) Violin
  • Mad Professor – "Who Knows the Secret of the Master" (1987) Violin
  • Mad Professor – "Captures Pato Banton" (1988) Violin
  • Mad Professor – "A Caribbean Taste of Technology" (1985) Violin
  • The Men They Couldn't Hang – "How Green Is The Valley" (1986) Violin, arranger
  • The Men They Couldn't Hang – "Waiting for Bonaparte" (1988) Fiddle
  • The Men They Couldn't Hang – "Silvertown" (1989) Fiddle
  • The Men They Couldn't Hang -"Majestic Grill: The Best of..." (1998) Violin, Arranger
  • The Men They Couldn’t Hang – “Cherry Red Jukebox” (2003) Violin
  • The Men They Couldn’t Hang – "Smugglers And Bounty Hunters" (2005) Violin
  • The Men They Couldn’t Hang – "Devil on the Wind" (2009) Violin
  • Amanda Norman-Sell – "As Love is My Witness" (1996) Violin
  • Amanda Norman-Sell – "Patsy Cline Review" (1995) Violins
  • Sinéad O'Connor – The Lion and the Cobra" (1987) Violins
  • Mike Oldfield -"Earth Moving" (1989) Violin
  • Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – "Pack up the Plantation" (1986) Violin
  • The Proclaimers – "Hit the Highway" (1994) Fiddle
  • Red Box – "Circle & The Square" (1986) Violin
  • Redlands Palomino Co. – "By the Time You Hear This…" (2004) Violin
  • Reno Brothers – "Smile" (1996) Producer, Violin
  • Andy Roberts – "Loose Connections" (soundtrack) (1984) Violin, Mandolin
  • The Style Council – "My Ever Changing Moods" (1984) Violin
  • The Style Council – "Cafe Bleu" (1984) Violin
  • The Style Council – "Complete Adventures of the Style..." (1998) Violin
  • Hank Wangford – "C.H.A.P.S." (1985) Fiddle, Mandolin, Vocals
  • Hank Wangford – "Stormy Horizons" (1990) Fiddle, Mandolin, Acoustic Guitar
  • Bobby Valentino – "You're in the Groove Jackson" (1991) Vocals, Violin, Guitar, Viola, Mandolin, producer
  • Bobby Valentino – "You're Telling Me" (1996) Vocals, producer, Violin, Guitar, Mandolin, Viola,
  • Bobby Valentino –"This is Murder" (2001) Vocals, Violin, Guitar, Mandolin, Viola, producer
  • Luke Vibert & BJ Cole – "Stop the Panic" (2000) Vocals, Violin Mandolin


  1. ^ "Musician wins rights to royalties". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  2. ^ "Violinist wins fight for royalties after musical interlude in the High Court". The Independent. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007.
  3. ^ "About HM Courts & Tribunals Service". 1 April 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  4. ^ "Thirteen Old Square Chambers". Archived from the original on 12 July 2007. Retrieved 30 June 2014.

External links[edit]