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Aitken, Laurel [real name Oliver Anthony Stephens] (1925–2005), singer, songwriter, and record producer, was born on 22 April 1925, in Jamaica, one of six children of a Jamaican father and a Cuban mother. His early years were spent in Havana, Cuba, but the family moved to ...

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Besch, Anthony John Elwyn (1924–2002), opera director, was born at 193 Chatsworth Road, Kilburn, London, on 5 February 1924, the son of Roy Cressy Frederick Besch, chartered accountant, and his wife, Annie Gwendolen, née Jones, both of 90 Fordwych Road, West Hampstead. He was educated at ...

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Farnon, Robert Joseph (1917–2005), composer and musical arranger, was born on 24 July 1917 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the second son and third of four children in a musical family: his father, a clothier, played the violin, and his mother played the piano. He himself learned to play the violin, piano, percussion, and trumpet, while still young. He gained experience on radio as a teenager and became, at nineteen, lead trumpet in the ...

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Fletcher, Percy Eastman (1879–1932), composer and musical director, was born on 12 December 1879 in Handel Terrace, Curzon Street, Derby, the son of Alfred William Fletcher, professor of music, and his wife, Elizabeth Eastman. He was privately educated as a violinist, pianist, and organist, and having moved to ...

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Gillett, Charles Thomas [Charlie] (1942–2010), disc jockey and musicologist, was born on 20 February 1942 at 429 Marine Road, Morecambe, Lancashire, the elder son and second of three children of Anthony Walter Gillett (1912–1992), mechanical engineer and managing director of a light engineering firm, and his wife, ...

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Graham, Colin (1931–2007), opera director and librettist, was born on 22 September 1931 at 17 Fourth Avenue, Hove, Sussex, the son of Frederick Eaton Graham-Bonnalie (1897–1979), physician and medical author, and his first wife, Alexandra Diana Vivian (Anore), née Finlay (1909–1988). His parents divorced while he was still young and both subsequently remarried. Educated at ...

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Irving, (Kelville) Ernest (1877–1953), musical director and composer, was born on 6 November 1877 in Pound Hill, Godalming, the eldest child of Ashley Alfred Irving (b. c.1844/5, d. in or before 1898), ironmonger, and his wife, Emma Fenner (b. c...

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Angela Morley (1924–2009) by Dennis Matthews, 1988 © reserved; by kind permission of Christine Parker

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Morley, Angela [formerly Walter Morley Stott or Wally Stott] (1924–2009), composer and musical arranger, was born at 331 Kirkstall Road, Leeds, on 10 March 1924, the elder son of Albert Stott (1894–1933), a watchmaker and jeweller, and his wife, Ethel, née Chappell...

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Most, Mickie [real name Michael Peter Hayes] (1938–2003), singer and record producer, was born on 20 June 1938 at Louise Margaret Hospital, Aldershot, Hampshire, the son of Harold Victor Hayes, a sergeant (later regimental sergeant-major) in the Royal Artillery, and his wife, ...

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Mickie Most (1938–2003) by unknown photographer, 1964 Getty Images

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Newell, Norman (1919–2004), record producer and songwriter, was born at 34 Liddon Road, Plaistow, London, on 25 January 1919, the son of Sydney Edward Newell, boiler stoker and later foreman road builder, and his wife, Mary Louisa, née Burke. His father, who had served as a private in the ...

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Oram, Daphne Blake (1925–2003), composer and sound engineer, was born on 31 December 1925 at Ivy House, Devizes, Wiltshire, the daughter of James Oram, a coal merchant's manager, and his wife, Ida Murton, née Talbot, an amateur artist. At the time of her birth her parents were living at ...

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Ornadel, (Simon) Cyril (1924–2011), conductor, composer, and recording producer, was born in the maternity home at 174 Sutherland Avenue, Paddington, London, on 2 December 1924, the only son and eldest of three children of Samuel Ornadel (1896–1969), wholesale milliner, and his wife, Sarah, ...

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Steven Charles Pimlott (1953–2007) by Clare Park, 2004 © Clare Park

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Pimlott, Steven Charles (1953–2007), opera and theatre director, was born at 332 Wellington Road North, Stockport, Cheshire, on 18 April 1953, the younger child of Arthur Pimlott, a fire insurance assessor, and his wife, Marian, née Whittaker. At the time of his birth registration the family lived at ...

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Dame Ruth Railton (1915–2001) by Walter Bird, 1966 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Railton [married name King], Dame Ruth (1915–2001), founder of the National Youth Orchestra, was born on 14 December 1915 at 16 Millfield, Folkestone, the daughter of David Railton (1884–1955), Church of England clergyman, and his wife, Ruby Marion, née Willson. Her family background had a strong tradition of Christian service. Her grandfather, ...

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Richards, Ron [real name Ronald Richard Pratley] (1929–2009), record producer, was born Ronald Lipscombe on 22 January 1929, the son of Mary Lipscombe, a hotel chambermaid (subsequently a domestic cook) in London's West End. His father was an Irish jockey and a brief liaison between the couple led to the boy's birth. He was adopted by ...

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Ridley, Walter John [Wally] (1913–2007), songwriter and record producer, was born at 23 Medburn Street, St Pancras, London, on 28 February 1913, the eldest of five children of Walter Ernest Ridley, at the time a cloth worker's salesman, later a furniture dealer, and his wife, ...