Brian Fahey (composer)

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Brian Fahey
Born (1919-04-25)25 April 1919
Died 4 April 2007(2007-04-04) (aged 87)
Genres Easy listening, jazz, big band, classical
Occupation(s) Composer, arranger, conductor, bandleader
Years active 1938–1999
Associated acts The Brian Fahey Orchestra, BBC Big Band, BBC Scottish Radio Orchestra, Shirley Bassey

Brian Fahey (25 April 1919 – 4 April 2007) was a British musical director and arranger, best known for composing "At the Sign of the Swingin' Cymbal", Alan Freeman's signature tune to his BBC Radio 1 programme Pick of the Pops.

Born in Margate, Kent, Fahey learned piano and cello and became interested in big band arranging and composing. During the Second World War he was a survivor of the Wormhoudt massacre which occurred on Tuesday 28 May 1940. After recovering from his wounds, he subsequently spent five years in POW Camps, during which time he worked on his musical skills.

Fahey played in various bands, but his passion was for arranging. Between 1949 and 1959, he worked for the music publishers Chappells and Cinephonic Music, specialising in arrangements for singers, bands and orchestras, mainly for radio broadcasts. His compositions include Fanfare Boogie (1955), which won an Ivor Novello Award.

Fahey freelanced after 1959, working with recording companies, the BBC and in the theatre. He provided scores for movies such as The Break (1963), Curse of Simba (1965), The Plank (1967) and Rhubarb (1969), and the theme to Pete Murray's popular BBC Radio 2 show Open House. He became principal conductor of the BBC Scottish Radio Orchestra in 1972, and continued to work for the BBC after the orchestra was disbanded in 1981. He was also Shirley Bassey's musical director for a time.

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