Matt Monro

Matt MonroBritain’s answer to Frank Sinatra.  Okay, Matt was no Ol’ Blue Eyes but he carved out a successful career as a romantic ballad singer both in Britain and America in an age dominated by raucous pop singers.  His rise to fame against the Elvis Presley tide was a singular achievement for a small man with no stage background.  He represented Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest, coming second in Copenhagen in 1964 with I Love The Little Things.  He had 15 hits in the UK though he never topped the charts.  His songs included Portrait of My Love, Born Free and From Russia With Love. His career was as romantic as his songs.  He was born in Shoreditch, London as Terry Parsons and brought up in a council flat.  His father wore cor’ blimey trousers but died when Matt was three and his mother, left with four sons and a daughter became a Mrs Mopp to keep the family together.  For a while Matt, the youngest son, was in an orphanage and began work in a tobacco factory later working as a plaster’s labourer and a plumber’s mate before becoming a London bus driver, working the No.27 route from Highgate to Teddington via Kentish Town.  On leaving the Army he found the competition of show businesss tough but he gained his first break in 1956 when he became the resident singer with the BBC Show Band.  The pianist, Winifred Attwell, had helped him make a record and the rest was almost history.  Matt Monro died from cancer in February 1985 aged 54.

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