Jump to content

John Du Prez

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Du Prez
Birth nameTrevor Jones
Born (1946-12-14) 14 December 1946 (age 77)
Sheffield, England
GenresFilm, classical, pop, salsa
Occupation(s)Composer, musician, conductor

John Du Prez (born Trevor Jones; 14 December 1946) is a British musician, conductor and composer. He was a member of the 1980s salsa-driven pop band Modern Romance and has since written several film scores including Oxford Blues (1984), Once Bitten,[1] Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), and the final Carry On film, Carry On Columbus (1992). He contributed to The Wild (2006) soundtrack.[2][3]

He is also known for his extensive collaborations with Monty Python, having worked on several films and shows by members of the troupe, including composing, conducting, and arranging for Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979), Time Bandits (1981), Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (both 1982), Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983), A Private Function (1984), A Fish Called Wanda (1988), The Wind in the Willows (1996), Spamalot (2004), Not the Messiah (He's a Very Naughty Boy) (2010), and Monty Python Live (Mostly) (2014). For his work on Spamalot, which ran 1,575 performances on Broadway, he was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Original Score.

Early life and education[edit]

Du Prez was born in Sheffield, England. He received his MA (Oxon), B.Mus., ARCM, and was a Trevelyan Scholar at Christ Church, Oxford. In 1976 he joined the staff of the University of London's music department before becoming a full-time composer. He would then begin a 30-year working relationship with Eric Idle.[4]


Du Prez has often worked with Eric Idle for the music for Monty Python, most notably the score for Monty Python's The Meaning of Life as well as with John Cleese on A Fish Called Wanda. He acted as music arranger on the Terry Jones film Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979) and on the Terry Gilliam film Time Bandits (1981), and he also co-wrote the music for the stage musical Spamalot, as well as the music and the intro theme of the British series Captain Star. In 1986, Du Prez contributed songs to the soundtrack of the Madonna and Sean Penn movie Shanghai Surprise: "The Hottest Gong in Town" and "Zig-Zag" (both sung by the film's executive producer George Harrison).[5][6]

The adoption of the name John Du Prez was to avoid confusion with the South African film composer Trevor Jones.[7] He is probably best known as the trumpet and horn player in the 1980s Pop group Modern Romance, who had a string of Top 40 hits from 1981 to 1983, and made many guest appearances on TV shows such as the BBC programme Top of the Pops.[3]

John Du Prez has also scored various films including the Rob Lowe vehicle Oxford Blues (1984), the Comedy film A Private Function (1984), the Jim Carrey horror comedy Once Bitten (1985), and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies; his piece of music – or SuiteShredder's Suite is taken from the soundtrack to the first of the three films, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990).[8] He recently contributed to the soundtrack of the animated film The Wild (2006).[3]

Modern Romance (1981–83)[edit]

Du Prez joined Modern Romance during the early 1980s and remained with them throughout their most successful years. He appeared on their debut album Adventures in Clubland (1981) and on two further albums: Trick of the Light (1983) and Party Tonight (1983). He is probably best remembered as playing the trumpet solo on the Modern Romance cover version of "Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)" which made the UK top twenty in 1982. The B-side to "Cherry Pink ..." was dedicated to Du Prez, a (nearly) instrumental track titled "Who Is John Du Prez?". Modern Romance scored seven further Top Forty hits before disbanding in 1985, including "Best Years of Our Lives" which reached number four on the UK Singles Chart and later featured in the movie Shrek. The other members of Modern Romance included Geoff Deane (lead vocalist), Paul Gendler (guitarist), David Jaymes (bass player, vocals), Robbie Jaymes (keyboard player), Andy Kriacou (drummer), and Michael J. Mullins (lead vocalist).[9][10]

Modern Romance toured extensively throughout the early 1980s – including the UK, Europe, the Far East, and Venezuela – and were awarded several Gold Discs for their efforts. Their album, Adventures in Clubland, hit the number one spot – and went Gold – in South America, and produced three UK hits ("Everybody Salsa" number 12, "Ay Ay Ay Ay Moosey" number 10, and "Queen of the Rapping Scene (Nothing Ever Goes the Way You Plan') number 37. The single "Can You Move" also peaked at number two on the US Dance chart. Following a change in lead vocalist – from Geoff Deane to Michael J. Mullins – Modern Romance enjoyed what would be their watershed year, 1983. They made a significant dent in the UK chart with the following singles: "Best Years of Our Lives", "High Life", "Don't Stop That Crazy Rhythm", "Walking in the Rain", and "Good Friday". Two albums – a studio album and a Christmas compilation – also made the UK Albums Chart that year: Trick of the Light and Party Tonight. Du Prez's trumpets and horns featured on nearly every track, from the party songs "Best Years of Our Lives" and "High Life" to the salsa tunes "Everybody Salsa" and "Ay Ay Ay Ay Moosey" to the band's bluesy and soulful ballads such as "Walking in the Rain". He also played on the band's cover version of "Band of Gold" (1983). Du Prez left Modern Romance before they called it quits in 1985, but his trumpets sounds could be heard on their farewell single, "Best Mix of Our Lives" (1985), their last chart entry.[11][12][13]

Du Prez can be found – with the other band members – on the cover of the Trick of the Light, which was featured in the Taschen Book 1000 Record Covers.[14] The book presents a selection of the best vinyl cover art from the 1960s to the 1990s, and from a cross section of music genres. From a recording and production standpoint, the bulk of Modern Romance's music was produced by Tony Visconti; they were signed by the record labels WEA and Ronco.[15] Du Prez and Modern Romance performed their hit single, "High Life", on the Russell Harty Television Show in 1983, with Cleo Rocos as backing vocalist.[12]

In 2006, Du Prez featured on the Warner CD Modern Romance: The Platinum Collection, a compilation featuring the best of Modern Romance.[16]

Selected filmography (composer)[edit]

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983)[edit]

A long-time friend of Eric Idle, Du Prez composed the score for Monty Python's The Meaning of Life in 1983, while still a member of Modern Romance. The film stars John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Graham Chapman, Idle, and Michael Palin. It is directed by – and also features – Terry Jones. Du Prez also contributed as composer.[17][18]

Oxford Blues (1984)[edit]

Du Prez composed the score for this 1980s remake of A Yank at Oxford (1938). Oxford Blues (1984) was an early project for Rob Lowe, a teen drama which also featured Cary Elwes, Michael Gough, Chad Lowe, Amanda Pays, Julian Sands and Ally Sheedy.[19]

A Private Function (1984)[edit]

A Private Function (1984) marks another team-up with Michael Palin. This comedy – the score composed by Du Prez – also stars Alan Bennett, Denholm Elliott, Pete Postlethwaite and Maggie Smith. Du Prez also contributes as conductor.[20]

Once Bitten (1985)[edit]

The film was an early vehicle for Jim Carrey, Karen Kopins and Lauren Hutton. Once Bitten (1985) is a mixture of the horror film and the comedy. It also features Cleavon Little. Du Prez is score composer.[20]

A Fish Called Wanda (1988)[edit]

Featuring some of the Monty Python cast, A Fish Called Wanda (1988) included John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline and Michael Palin. This is a British comedy for which Du Prez wrote the score.[21][22]

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1 – 3 (1990–93)[edit]

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) is an action, adventure and comedy – based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book. Du Prez composed the score for the movie, whilst Corey Feldman, Judith Hoag, Elias Koteas, David Warner and other actors provided the voices or played live-action roles. Du Prez also provided the score for the sequels, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, and his song – That's Your Consciousness – can be found on the second film's soundtrack.[21][23]

Carry On Columbus (1992)[edit]

Carry On Columbus (1992) is a landmark in film, in that it is the final chapter in the Carry On films. Du Prez composed the score for this comedy which stars Julian Clary, Bernard Cribbins, Jim Dale, Maureen Lipman, Rik Mayall, Leslie Phillips, Nigel Planer, Alexei Sayle, and June Whitfield.[20][24]

Fascination (2004)[edit]

Fascination (2004) is an American mystery thriller starring Jacqueline Bisset, Adam Garcia, and James Naughton. Du Prez composed the score for the film and would work once more with Modern Romance member, David Jaymes, who acted as music supervisor, having since ventured into the management side of the business.[25][26][27]


Albums (with Modern Romance)[edit]

Singles (with Modern Romance)[edit]

  • "Everybody Salsa" (1981) UK #10
  • "Ay Ay Ay Ay Moosey" (1981) UK #12
  • "Queen of the Rapping Scene (Nothing Ever Goes the Way You Plan)" (1982) UK #37
  • "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" (1982) UK #15
  • "Best Years of Our Lives" (1983) UK #4
  • "High Life" (1983) UK #8
  • "Don't Stop That Crazy Rhythm" (1983) UK #14
  • "Walking in the Rain" (1983) UK #7 & Thailand #1
  • "Good Friday" (1983) UK #96
  • "Best Mix of Our Lives" (1985) UK #81

Singles (as solo artist)[edit]

  • "Oh My Papa" (1983)

Composer (scores)[edit]

Writer (soundtracks)[edit]


Music producer[edit]

Music arranger[edit]




Awards and accolades[edit]


  1. ^ Maslin, Janet (15 November 1985). "Once Bitten (1985) FILM: 'ONCE BITTEN,' VAMPIRE HUMOR".
  2. ^ Du Prez, John, Discogs.com., Discography [accessed] 24 April 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Du Prez, John, Internet Movie Database Filmography, [accessed] 24 April 2011.
  4. ^ John Du Prez, The Conductor, Hollywood Bowl, [accessed] 26 April 2011.
  5. ^ Du Prez, John, Internet Movie Database, Filmography, [accessed] 24 April 2011.
  6. ^ Lee-Williams, Matt: Du Rez, John, Biography, Internet Movie Database, Filmography, [accessed] 25 April 2011.
  7. ^ Palin, Michael. Michael Palin: Halfway to Hollywood Diaries 1980-1988. 2009. p.2.
  8. ^ Du Prez, Shredder's Suite, Last FM Website, [accessed] 27 April 2011.
  9. ^ Modern Romance.com., Band History, [accessed] 24 April 2011.
  10. ^ Modern Romance, Where Are They Now, BBC Top of the Pops 2, Artists, [accessed] 24 April 2011.
  11. ^ Modern Romance Official Website, [accessed] 25 April 2011.
  12. ^ a b Lee-Williams, Matt: Jaymes, David, Internet Movie Database Biography, [accessed] 25 April 2011.
  13. ^ Modern Romance, Discography, Discogs.com., Website, [accessed] 25 April 2011.
  14. ^ Ochs, Michael, 1000 Record Covers, Taschen, 25th Edition, 2005, pp. 700.
  15. ^ Modern Romance, Discogs.com., Discography, [accessed] 25 April 2011.
  16. ^ Warner Records, Modern Romance, Modern Romance: The Platinum Collection, 2006.
  17. ^ Du Prez, Internet Movie Database, Filmography, [accessed] 25 April 2011.
  18. ^ Lee-Williams, Matt: Du Prez, John, Biography, Internet Movie Database, Filmography, [accessed] 25 April 2011.
  19. ^ DuPrez, John, Internet Movie Database, Filmography, [accessed] 25 April 2011.
  20. ^ a b c Du Prez, John, Composer, Internet Movie Database, Filmography, [accessed] 25 April 2011.
  21. ^ a b Du Prez, John, Filmography, Internet Movie Database, Filmography, [accessed] 25 April 2011.
  22. ^ A Fish Called Wanda, Cast and Crew, Internet Movie Database, Filmography, [accessed] 25 April 2011.
  23. ^ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Cast and Crew, Internet Movie Database, Filmography, [accessed] 25 April 2011.
  24. ^ Carry On Columbus, Cast and Crew, Internet Movie Database, Filmography, [accessed] 25 April 2011.
  25. ^ Lee-Williams, Matt: Du Prez, John, Internet Movie Database, Filmography, [accessed] 25 April 2011.
  26. ^ Jaymes, David, Filmography, Internet Movie Database, Filmography, [accessed] 25 April 2011.
  27. ^ Lee-Williams, Matt: Jaymes, David, Biography, Internet Movie Database, Filmography, [accessed] 25 April 2011.
  28. ^ The Official Grammy Website, Past Winners, [accessed] 26 April 2011.
  29. ^ Tony Awards Official Website, [accessed] 26 April 2011.