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Kenny Lynch

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Kenny Lynch
Lynch in 2010
Lynch in 2010
Background information
Birth nameKenneth Lynch
Born(1938-03-18)18 March 1938
Stepney, London, England
Died18 December 2019(2019-12-18) (aged 81)
Oxfordshire, England
GenresRock and roll, pop
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • entertainer
  • actor
Years active1960–2019
LabelsHMV, Satril Records

Kenneth Lynch, OBE (18 March 1938 – 18 December 2019)[1] was an English singer, songwriter, entertainer, and actor. He appeared in many variety shows in the 1960s. At the time, he was among the few black singers in British pop music.[2] He was appointed an OBE in the 1970 New Year Honours list.

Early life[edit]

Lynch was born in Stepney, East London, in 1938, where he grew up on Cornwall Street, the youngest in a family of 14 children.[3][4][5] His sister Gladys (stage name Maxine Daniels) was a jazz singer of some note.[6] His father was born in Barbados and his mother was mixed-raced British and Jamaican.[3] After leaving school at 15 and working various jobs, he did national service[6] in the Royal Army Service Corps and was the regimental featherweight boxing champion.


Before Lynch had several UK hit singles in the early 1960s, he released "Twist Me Pretty Baby" with Bert Weedon in 1962 (HMV-45 POP 989); the label's credit reads "Shouts by Kenny Lynch". Two top ten hits were "Up on the Roof", in January 1963; and "You Can Never Stop Me Loving You", in August 1963.[2] He is also known for a single release of "Misery", the first cover version of a Beatles song to be released.[2]

In early 1963, Lynch had been on the same bill as the Beatles on the group's first British tour; John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote "Misery" in January 1963, in the hopes that the artist on top of the bill, Helen Shapiro, would record it.[2] Shapiro's record producer turned it down, but Lynch took the composition and gave it a much more pop-oriented arrangement than the Beatles would use when they recorded "Misery" themselves on their debut album, Please Please Me. Whilst on a coach with the Beatles (on tour with Helen Shapiro), Lynch reportedly offered to help them write a song, but quickly became frustrated and criticised their ability to compose music – at the time Lennon and McCartney were writing "From Me to You".[7] Years later he appeared on the album cover of Wings' 1973 album Band on the Run, along with other celebrities.[8]

Much of Lynch's material was self-written, but he also covered songs by writers of the Brill Building.[2]

Lynch also wrote songs for others including actress Linda Thorson, Small Faces' No. 3 UK hit "Sha-La-La-La-Lee" and Cilla Black's No. 5 UK hit "Love's Just a Broken Heart", in collaboration with American songwriter Mort Shuman.[2] "You'd Better Believe It" (co-written with Jerry Ragavoy) and "Sorry She's Mine", which also appeared on the Small Faces' 1966 debut album, were both Lynch works.[2]

Lynch took part in the A Song for Europe contest in 1962 with the song "There's Never Been A Girl", but failed to win through to represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest. Lynch had more success in 1978, as a songwriter and producer. That year, his song "Don't Bother to Knock", written for the group Midnight, placed second in the contest. The same year he wrote '"Love Crazy", the theme used for Carry On Emmannuelle, and "You Can't Fight It", the vocal version of the theme to the John Carpenter film Assault on Precinct 13. In the mid-1960s he owned a record shop, the Kenny Lynch Record Centre in Walker's Court, Soho.[citation needed]

In the early 1980s, Lynch formed a songwriting partnership with tennis player Buster Mottram.[9]

Lynch appeared on television programmes including Celebrity Squares, Mooncat & Co., Room at the Bottom, Bullseye and Curry and Chips. He also appeared on Z-Cars, The Sweeney, Till Death Us Do Part and Treasure Hunt.[10]

Lynch completed the London Marathon in 1982, played in several charity football matches and took part in Michael Parkinson's 'Celebrity Cricket' fundraisers.[10] In 2018, Lynch had a concert tour with Jimmy Tarbuck and Anita Harris, as well as appearing in ITV's Last Laugh in Vegas.[11]

Personal life and death[edit]

Lynch had two daughters.[3] He died from prostate cancer in Oxfordshire on 18 December 2019, aged 81.[12][13]


Chart singles[edit]

Year Single Chart positions
1960 "Mountain of Love" 33
1962 "Puff (Up in Smoke)" 33
"Up on the Roof" 10
1963 "You Can Never Stop Me Loving You" 10
1964 "Stand by Me" 39
"What Am I to You" 37
1965 "I'll Stay by You" 29
1983 "Half the Day's Gone and We Haven't Earned a Penny" 50


Year Title Role Notes
1960 The Criminal Prisoner Uncredited
1963 Just for Fun Himself
1965 Dr. Terror's House of Horrors Sammy Cohen (segment "Voodoo")
1967 The Plank Dustbin Lorry Driver
1970 Carry On Loving Bus Conductor
1972 The Alf Garnett Saga Himself
1978 The Playbirds Police Doctor
1979 Confessions from the David Galaxy Affair Joe
1979 The Plank Dustman TV Short, remake of the 1967 film
2007 The Riddle Dinner Party Guest TV movie

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Obituary: Kenny Lynch, singer and entertainer". The Herald. 21 December 2019. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Unterberger, Richie. "Kenny Lynch Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 October 2009.
  3. ^ a b c Bourne, Stephen (2023). "Lynch, Kenneth [Kenny] (1938–2019), singer, songwriter, and actor". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/odnb/9780198614128.013.90000380896. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 849. ISBN 9780195313734. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  5. ^ "Tributes after singer and actor Kenny Lynch dies aged 81". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. 18 December 2019. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 17 September 2023.
  6. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Sixties Music (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 286. ISBN 0-7535-0149-X.
  7. ^ "From Me To You". Beatlesbible.com. 15 March 2008. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Band On The Run (album)". The Beatles Bible. 23 October 2010.
  9. ^ Greenslade, Nick (5 September 2004). "The ten worst sportsmen in politics". The Observer. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Kenny Lynch OBE". Newhamstory.com. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  11. ^ Dunn, Gemma; Gibbons, Duncan (4 April 2018). "Last Laugh in Vegas: Who's in it and what's it about?". Coventry Telegraph.
  12. ^ Cartwright, Gareth (9 January 2020). "Kenny Lynch: Multitalented performer and doyen of light entertainment". The Independent. Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  13. ^ "Q4/2019 in OXFORDSHIRE (695-1A)". GRO Online Indexes. General Register Office for England and Wales. Entry Number 519995036. Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  14. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 334. ISBN 978-1-904994-10-7.

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