Terry Dempsey (songwriter)

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Terry Dempsey
Born(1941-03-08)8 March 1941
OriginSouth Africa
Died10 February 2019(2019-02-10) (aged 77)
Vaal Marina, South Africa
Associated acts
  • Lauren Copley
  • Dave Mills

Terry Dempsey (8 March 1941 – 10 February 2019)[1] was a South African songwriter whose songs were made famous by a number of artists.

Early life[edit]

Born in England, he moved to South Africa in 1968 and formed two record labels, Storm and MAP.[2] He wrote the song "Daydreamer", which he took to Tokyo Music Festival in 1974 where it was picked up by Artie Wayne and recorded by David Cassidy. This recording spent three weeks at the top of the UK singles chart in October and November 1973.[3]

He also wrote "Love Is a Beautiful Song", performed by Dave Mills, which reached number 1 in South Africa, Canada and Australia[4] as well as "Le Mal Aimé" recorded by Claude François, which reached number 1 in France. Two other songs written by him reached Number 1 in South Africa - "Spider Spider" by Tidal Wave and "Kentucky Blues" sung by Lauren Copley.[2] His song "Move" recorded by Dave Mills won a SARIE award in 1971 for Song of the Year.[5]

He also wrote theme songs for South African TV shows, including Twist Grip, TopSport, DriveTime, as well as the Comrades Marathon and television series' The Power of Persuasion and Wings Over Africa.[4]

In 1988 joined the board of the National Organisation of Rights In Music (later called the Southern African Music Rights Organisation) for a period of three years before being elected as chairman for a further two years.[6]

In 1999 he produced and wrote the film score for the South African feature film Heel Against the Head.[4]

Writing credits[edit]

Some of his writing credits include

Song Performed by
Spider, Spider Tidal Wave[2]
She's a Gypsy Cliff Richard[2]
We grew up on Rock 'n Roll The New Seekers[2]
Smiley Petula Clark[2]
Time after time Engelbert Humperdinck[2]
Dancing heart to heart Roddy[2]
Vicky Lance James[2]
Flower of Life Lauren Copley[2]
Kentucky Blues Lauren Copley
You've got all of me Clout


He was killed when he was struck by the blades of a gyrocopter when it made an emergency landing at the Vaal Marina during a family ash scattering.[7][4]


  1. ^ "Obituary: Terry Dempsey". Prowrite. Retrieved 2019-03-03.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Chivers, G; Jasiukowicz, T (1994). History of Contemporary Music of South Africa Part 1. Toga Publishing. pp. 28–29. ISBN 0-620-18121-4.
  3. ^ "David Cassidy". Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  4. ^ a b c d Otto, Hanti (February 12, 2019). "Dempsey kon nie skroef vryspring". Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  5. ^ "New Faces in SA 1970 SARIE Awards". Billboard Magazine. November 6, 1971. p. 49.
  7. ^ Petersen, Tammy (February 10, 2019). "Elderly man killed by gyrocopter blades during emergency landing". News24. Retrieved February 19, 2019.