Tony Waddington (songwriter)

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Tony Waddington
Birth name Anthony Brandon Waddington
Born 1 January 1943, Liverpool, England
Occupation(s) Film producer, record producer, songwriter, orchestral arranger, composer, screenplay writer
Years active 1960s–present

Anthony Brandon "Tony" Waddington (born 1 January 1943)[1][2] is an English film producer, songwriter, screenplay writer, record producer, and creative media executive. He became well known, with Wayne Bickerton, as writer and producer of a series of UK chart hits in the 1970s for The Rubettes. He also received an Ivor Novello Award as 'Songwriter of the Year'.

Life and career[edit]

He was born on 1 January 1943 in Liverpool,[3][4] and studied classical guitar and music theory. His first job was working at a solicitor's office in Liverpool, but he played with several local bands including Lee Curtis and the All-Stars and the Pete Best Four (later the Pete Best Combo), at the same time as his childhood friend Wayne Bickerton was the band's lead vocalist.[5][6] As well as sharing most of the singing, Bickerton and Waddington became songwriters for the group, which toured mainly in Germany and the US, before they left in 1966. Then Waddington spent time in the United States and on his return to the UK joined Decca Records as a songwriter and record producer.[5] He also studied orchestral writing under the tutelage of Henry Zajaczkowski.[4]

He and Bickerton continued writing songs together. One of the most successful was "Nothing but a Heartache", recorded by American girl singing group The Flirtations, which reached No. 34 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1969,[7] and is now regarded as a Northern soul classic. It was recorded 36 years later by Southside Johnny in 2005.[8]

During this period, he and Bickerton also came up with the idea for a rock and roll musical.[3] They co-wrote and produced a demonstration recording of a song, "Sugar Baby Love", originally intending to submit it for the Eurovision Song Contest but instead offering it to Showaddywaddy, who turned it down.[5] Bickerton and Waddington then offered it to the demo musicians, provided that they would become an actual group. The musicians agreed, were named The Rubettes, and "Sugar Baby Love" became a UK number one hit in 1974,[9] also reaching number 37 in the US chart. They wrote and produced all of the Rubettes' subsequent UK hits – nine Top 50 hits in all between 1974 and 1977 – winning an Ivor Novello Award as Songwriters of the Year, and also reached the UK Top 10 with "Sugar Candy Kisses" by Mac and Katie Kissoon.[3][5][10][11]

They set up their own record label, State Records, which diversified in 1979 into owning Odyssey Studios and a new office building at Marble Arch in central London, later sold to the radio station Jazz FM.[4]

Waddington has also co-written songs for Petula Clark,[12] Tom Jones,[13] and Brotherhood of Man.[14] More recently, Waddington has orchestrated scores for television productions. His music has been used in several films including Muriel's Wedding (1994), Resurrection Man (1998) and Breakfast on Pluto (2005).[4][15]

Presently Waddington is a director of Park Lane Media.[4]


  1. ^ "Tony Waddington Discography at Discogs". discogs. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "England & Wales Birth Index". Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "The Songwriters". The Rubettes Featuring Bill Hurd. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Tony Waddington". Tony Waddington. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d Eder, Bruce. "Wayne Bickerton – Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "". Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  7. ^ Joel Whitburn, Top Pop Singles 1955–2002, ISBN 0-89820-155-1
  8. ^ Deming, Mark. "Into the Harbour – Southside Johnny : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  9. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 473. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  10. ^ "Wayne Bickerton". Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "Tony Waddington • Top Songs as Writer ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  12. ^ "C'est Ca, Ma Chanson – Petula Clark : Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. 3 February 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "Can't Stop Loving You – Tom Jones : Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  14. ^ "Brotherhood of Man – United We Stand (CD) at Discogs". discogs. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  15. ^ "Tony Waddington". IMDb. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 

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