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|Birth name||Anthony Peter Hatch|
|Born||30 June 1939|
|Occupation(s)||Composer, songwriter, pianist, music arranger , producer|
|Associated acts||Jackie Trent|
Early life and early career
Hatch was born in Pinner, Middlesex. Encouraged by his musical abilities, his mother – also a pianist – enrolled him in the London Choir School in Wansunt Road, Bexley, Kent when he was 10. Instead of continuing at the Royal Academy of Music, he left school in 1955 and found a job with Robert Mellin Music in London's Tin Pan Alley.
Not long after working as a tea boy, he was writing songs and making a name for himself within the recording industry, joining The Rank Organisation's new subsidiary Top Rank Records; there he worked for future Decca Records A&R man Dick Rowe. While he served his National Service, he became involved with the Band of the Coldstream Guards.
On his return in 1959, Hatch began producing Top Rank artists such as Bert Weedon, the then unknown Adam Faith ("Ah, Poor Little Baby"), Josh MacRae (together with MacRae's early recordings with Scottish folk trio The Reivers), Jackie Dennis, Carry On comedy actor Kenneth Connor, and The Knightsbridge Strings, and started his own recording career with a cover version of Russ Conway's piano instrumental "Side Saddle".
In 1960, Garry Mills's (trumpeter Nat Gonella's nephew) recording of Hatch's composition "Look for a Star", featured in the film Circus of Horrors, became a Top Ten hit in the UK for Top Rank. Four versions of the song charted simultaneously in the United States, including Mills' original and a version by 'Garry Miles' (a recording alias of future member of The Crickets, Buzz Cason). Top Rank, despite some worldwide success with artists such as Jack Scott and The Fireballs, ultimately failed because of an unusual distribution arrangement with EMI.
A swift succession of events ensued through 1961 that Top Rank was sold to EMI, briefly operated as a subsidiary, with hits by John Leyton, and shuttered, with its artists transferred to other EMI labels. Hatch moved on to a part-time job with Pye Records, where he assisted his new mentor, Alan A. Freeman, with the recording of "Sailor", a number 1 hit for Petula Clark.
Hatch continued to write songs for Pye artists, including the popular "Messing About on the River" for Josh MacRae. In 1963, Philadelphia teen idol Bobby Rydell hit the charts with "Forget Him" written and produced by Hatch, who went on to produce, arrange and write for other American stars such as Chubby Checker, Connie Francis, Pat Boone, Big Dee Irwin and Keely Smith. In 1964 he wrote (under the pseudonym of 'Fred Nightingale') the Searchers' hit "Sugar and Spice".
In November 1965, Hatch performed with David Bowie (then still using the name Davy Jones) in the band the Lower Third, in an unsuccessful audition for the BBC's Talent Selection Group. The band weren't picked up for broadcast, with one member of the judging panel commenting "I don’t think they’ll get better with more rehearsals."
While at Pye, he produced many of their artists: The Searchers, David Bowie, Mark Wynter, The Settlers, the Viscounts, Julie Grant, Gary Miller, Benny Hill, The Overlanders, Roy Budd, The Brook Brothers, Jimmy Justice, The Montanas, Miki & Griff, Emile Ford, Craig Douglas, Bruce Forsyth, Sue Nicholls, The Breakaways, Norman Vaughan, Buddy Greco, Sacha Distel, Anne Shelton, Sweet Sensation, David Parton, and Graduate among others.
His production of The Searchers' entire Pye catalogue was significant in that nearly every song was issued in true stereo. The only other UK chart acts with so much stereo were George Martin producing The Beatles and Ron Richards producing The Hollies (although a handful of early Hollies albums were initially issued only in mono).
Hatch also recorded various lounge style albums with his orchestra; he also made solo piano recordings and some tracks as a vocalist.
Collaboration with Petula Clark
After "Valentino", the first of Hatch's compositions to be recorded by Petula Clark, he became her regular producer. They collaborated on a series of French-language recordings for Vogue Records. (Clark, whose husband was French and who spoke the language fluently, had a successful career throughout Europe.) Hatch became one of her regular songwriting partners, in addition to supplying English lyrics for songs she had composed with French lyricists.
In 1964 Hatch made his first trip to New York City in search of new material for Clark. The visit inspired him to write "Downtown", originally with The Drifters in mind. When Clark heard the still unfinished tune, she told him that if he could write lyrics to match the quality of the music, she would record the song as her next single. Its release transformed her into a huge international star, topping charts globally early in 1965, and introducing her to the US market. "Downtown" peaked at number two in Britain, stuck behind the Beatles' great hit "I Feel Fine". Clark then charted with three consecutive hits written by Hatch: "I Know a Place", "You'd Better Come Home", and "Round Every Corner", which all charted higher in the US than in the UK. She and Hatch co-wrote "You're The One", which peaked at 22 in Britain but which gave The Vogues a major debut hit in the States. Tony Hatch and Petula Clark became established as the British equivalent of Burt Bacharach and Dionne Warwick. In 1965 Hatch's first album under his own name was released. The Downtown Sound of Tony Hatch, features instrumental versions of some of his best known songs, along with new compositions.
The song "Call Me", written for and recorded by Petula Clark in 1965, was recorded by Chris Montez later in the year. Released in November 1965, Montez's version entered the US Easy Listening Top 40 in Billboard that December, and the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1966, peaking that March on the Easy Listening chart at #2 and on the Hot 100 at #22.
Petula Clark's run of 1966 and 1967 hits include many written by Hatch: "My Love" (a US number one), "A Sign of the Times", "I Couldn't Live Without Your Love", "Who Am I", "Colour My World", "Don't Sleep in the Subway" and "The Other Man's Grass Is Always Greener". He wrote all of these (except "My Love") with his wife Jackie Trent. "A Sign of the Times", "Who Am I" and "Colour My World" were not hits in Britain.
Collaboration with Jackie Trent and later career
In 1964, Hatch was hired to write his first television theme, for the soap opera Crossroads. It would become one of his best-known compositions, and has the distinction of being re-worked by Paul McCartney and Wings. He would continue to write television themes throughout the 1960s, including the themes to Man Alive, the cult series The Champions, the crime anthology series Who-Dun-It, and The Doctors. When asked to write a song to be featured in the Inspector Rose series, It's Dark Outside, he supplied "Where Are You Now?", with lyrics and vocals by a recently acquired Pye artist, Jackie Trent. The song immediately clicked with the public and shot to number 1 in the charts.
Though still married to his first wife, Hatch began an affair with Jackie Trent, who had become a frequent songwriting collaborator. This ongoing affair was the inspiration for the song "I Couldn't Live Without Your Love".
Hatch and Trent were married in 1967. Their duet "The Two Of Us" reached number three in the Australian charts in 1967 and created a demand for concert and cabaret performances earning the duo the nickname of "Mr & Mrs Music". The couple also wrote the song "Joanna", a hit for Scott Walker. One of their more unusual collaborations was the song "We'll Be With You" written for Stoke City Football Club in the club's successful run for the League Cup in 1972. The song featured the team and supporters and was recorded at the supporters club using PYE Records mobile studio. The song is still sung by fans as the team runs out on matchdays.
During the 1970s, Hatch and Trent diversified into musical theatre. Their first project, The Card, based on Arnold Bennett's novel, with book by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall, ran in London's West End with Jim Dale and Millicent Martin in the lead roles. (Coincidentally, Petula Clark had starred in the 1952 film version with Alec Guinness.) An original cast album was released in 1975. A rewritten version of the show, starring Peter Duncan and Hayley Mills, played the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in the 1990s and spawned a new cast album. The second Hatch/Trent musical was Rock Nativity, with book and lyrics by David Wood. Initiated and produced by Cameron Mackintosh, it first played in Newcastle. An updated version of the show toured nationally in 1976 and was broadcast nationally by Scottish TV. A full-length concert version was recorded at the Cork Opera House for the Irish television state broadcaster RTÉ. In 1972, he composed the original theme to Emmerdale Farm, as well as the themes to Hadleigh and Sportsnight. During the 1970s Hatch was also a regular panellist on the talent show New Faces where his blunt style of assessing the contestants has proved to be a forerunner of approaches to come in later, similar series.
After completing the music score to the movie Sweeney 2 in 1978, Hatch and Trent moved to Dublin, where they remained for four years, hosting their own TV series, Words And Music and It's A Musical World. Hatch continued to produce hit TV themes for series such as Seagull Island and Airline before moving to Australia in 1982. While there, the couple wrote one of their most famous compositions, the theme for the TV soap opera Neighbours.
Hatch and Trent separated in 1995, and divorced in 2002. Trent died on 21 March 2015 in Menorca after a long illness.
Other recent events
Hatch made a guest appearance on Graham Fellows's radio show, The Shuttleworths in 1994.
In 2003, a disco remix of the original recording of "Downtown" was released in Australia by The OUTpsiDER with the blessing of both Hatch and Clark and became a hit. A souvenir CD box set of six of Hatch's albums (four from the 1960s and two from the 1970s – including one with Jackie Trent), all in replicas of their original covers, was released in 2005.
In 2010, the song "Push a Little Button", written by Hatch and performed by his 15-year-old sister Ninette, and released on the Pye Records label in 1966, was used as the soundtrack for a campaign by UK TV Licensing, promoting the availability of online methods of paying the UK TV licence which funds the BBC. The song appeared in a commercial for American cable company Cox Communications in Autumn 2016. Hatch performed at the Hackney Empire on 9 September 2012, for a Grand Order of Water Rats evening - 'The Golden Years of Variety'. At the piano he played the theme tunes of Emmerdale Farm, Neighbours, and Crossroads and encouraged a sing-along to "Downtown".
More recently Tony has returned to the public eye, performing in October 2016 at the inaugural Variety Hall of Fame Awards, with Petula Clark, launching a new look website at www.tonyhatch.co.uk and hosting "As Heard on TV" on BBC Radio 2 on 1 November 2016.
Hatch has two daughters from his first marriage to Jean, as well as a son and daughter from his marriage to Jackie Trent. He now lives in Menorca, Spain, with his third wife, Maggie.
Film and television
- 1962: Stork Talk (Film)
- 1964: Crossroads (TV)
- 1965: Man Alive (TV)
- 1968: The Champions (TV)
- 1969: Who-Dun-It (TV)
- 1969: The Doctors (TV)
- 1972: Travels with My Aunt (Film)
- 1972: Emmerdale Farm (TV)
- 1972: Mr & Mrs (TV)
- 1973: Hadleigh (TV)
- 1973: Love Story (TV)
- 1973: Sportsnight (TV)
- 1977: Backs to the Land (TV)
- 1978: Sweeney 2 (Film)
- 1981: Seagull Island (TV)
- 1982: Airline (TV)
- 1983: Waterloo Station (TV)
- 1985: Neighbours (TV)
- "Tony Hatch – Discover music, videos, concerts, stats, & pictures at". Last.fm. 11 February 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
- "Tony Hatch Discography at Discogs". Discogs.com. 30 July 1939. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
- "Tony Hatch". Spectropop.com. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
- Snapes, Laura (9 October 2018). "'Devoid of personality': BBC verdict on early Bowie audition unearthed". The Guardian.
- Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 29 - The British Are Coming! The British Are Coming!: The U.S.A. is invaded by a wave of long-haired English rockers. [Part 3]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.
- "Jackie Trent obituary". TheGuardian.com. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
- "TV Licensing presses button on new campaign". Marketing Week. 18 January 2010. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
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