Dame Kiri Te Kanawa doesn’t want singing bus drivers
From The Daily Express, 11 June 2013: “I’m always wary of someone who is a bus driver and decides, aged 28, that they want to be a singer…” says Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
Submitted by Sebastian Melmoth.
Matt and I first met in the Philippines in early 1965. He was performing at Clark Air Base, and then going to sing in Manila. I sat stage side and asked him to sign “For Mama”, as my mother had died when I was only 8 years old. I think Sid Feller was his conductor, and Matt sung the song. Years later, when he was opening for Don Rickles in Atlantic City, I was able to get back stage and get to see him in his dressing room as he was “cooling down” with a towel. I believe his wife, Mickey and his manager were attending him. I ask to see him and remind him of his kind act and how he kidded that the reason he was chosen to sing “From Russia with Love” was because of his uncanny resemblance to Sean Connery, which said “tongue in cheek” to a big laugh.
It wasn’t long after I saw him in Atlantic City that I read that Matt was sick, and made me sad. He was such a kind and gentlemanly person.
I am still singing his songs when I entertain, and tell those I sing to, that Matt Monro was the only other singer who had a natural beauty that was as good as Sinatra, at Sinatra’s best. People still love “My Kind of Girl” and “You’ve got Possibilities”.
Finally while looking through UTube this past month, I was lucky to trip on the 8 part special on Matt’s life. It made him alive again to me.
Always a Matt Monro Man,
Best male singer we’ve ever produced, I had the pleasure of seeing Matt in caberet, brill, still play the greatest hits in the car every day! Sinatra thought highly of Matt, he wasn’t wrong!
I had the great pleasure of working with Matt for a week in 1980, I was compere at a club in Queensferry North Wales.
‘Zebadees’ based in the ‘Deeside Leisure Centre’ was the place to be during that time.
Apart from the club the main arena would feature many star names in concert, The Jam, Billy Joel, Tavares plus many more.
In the club Matt would say “I won’t say much, so please sit back and enjoy the music I have for you.” How right he was, you did just that.
I met Michele socially a few days after his death, I had no idea at the time but she was so strong. I have a wonderful picture of us both, which I treasure.
Review – Matt Monro: The Singer’s Singer
Matt Monro tours asks: When did Matt visit (White Wheat Club) in Maesteg Bridgend South Wales?
There is a bet on this, thanks Barbarella.
(It doesn’t say in The Singer’s Singer: The Life and Music of Matt Monro, ed.)
i am only 46. heard matt’s “the music played” and it brought tears to my eyes. I too remember claire, loved her and lost her. i still continously play and think of claire. will find u again one day.
I fondly remember meeting Matt when I was 11/12 yrs old at the BBC television theatre shepherds bush. Matt was a guest on the Crackerjack show, he signed my autograph book he spoke to us all and had a lovely smile.
At that time my parents played matt’s hits on the radiogram, I remember their comments “our own Frank Sinatra “. As the years have passed , I too now have Matts cd’s in my collection.
Taken from us too soon but he lives on, and continues to bring pleasure to many.
I can’t see any reference to the fact terry was born near me in ironmoger row, just near the baths
I have just finished reading the book written by his daughter a must for all fans. THE SINGERS SINGER, THE LIFE & MUSIC OF MATT MONRO by Michelle Monro
I have been a dedicated Terry Parson fan since 1951/2 when I was in Kowloon with the R.A.F.at the same time Terry was in the Army there. He had his own radio show we listened to over Hong Kong Rediffusion. He also gave concerts for the Forces at the Kowloon Y.M.C.A. on some Saturday evenings a real treat for us. On these nights he was accompanied by a Jewish Gentleman on the piano who was also Compere, Comedian and Musical arranger. I remember one evening he had arranged for Terry to sing Pagliachi, a tender rendering of the classic.
Years later my wife and I were listening to The Winifred Atwell show when she introduced Matt Monro, the singing Bus driver. The name meant nothing to me so I wasn’t paying much attention. However, as soon as he started singing I turned to the wife and said “thats Terry Parsons.” I would recognise that wonderful voice anywhere.
One song Terry used to sing out in Hong Kong which was very popular the words of which were “You are too beautiful for one man alone and I am a fool for beauty”. It would appear from his extensive list of recordings that he never used that song. I was shattered when he left us so young but he left us a legacy of wonderful songs on record so he will always be with us in spirit.
hello there was watching tv this week and saw matts daughter on tv and remined me of when matt played at the fiesta night club in sheffield
when he had finished on stage used to have a drink in the bar with him what a gentle man got pally with him and he used to go withus to the best curry restaurant in sheffield which was on ecclesal rd at the time
i am 65 now and was only young at the time but still play his music now what a gent and great singer he was
REGARDS ROGER OBRIEN
We went to see Matt on the Wookey Hollow, somewhere in the 70’s. Our table was on the end of the stage, and we were all eating chicken in the basket and suddenly after 10 minutes he stopped, put his hands on his hips, walked over to our table, the big spotlight came on us, and he said, ‘I’ve been singing for 10 minutes and you are still eating.’ He was laughing so much, he couldn’t start to sing again. He was wonderful.
In 1963/64 My ship was in Singapore and one evening I attended a concert starring Shirley Bassey and Matt Monro. It turned out to be a memorable evening.
Apart from the wonderful singing from both of them, it was the banter when they were on stage together that I remember best. They were almost a comedy double act. Shirley Bassey at one point almost tucking Matt under her arm. The audience were in ‘stitches’.
I loved the mellowness of Matt’s voice, the way he sang seemed so effortless. As a serviceman myself I could understand the way he was. As Frank Sinatra said, he was a great singer who should have had more recognition in America than he actually got. He is sadly missed.
Sir, in the very early eighties, myself and a lady friend were visiting Jersey (channel Islands). Matt was appearing at the ‘Watersplash’ venue, and of course being a great fan of Matt, we attended one evening. It was of course a great show and Matt as usual was very ‘one to one’ with his audience. I asked him if he would perform, ‘If I never sing another song’, which he did.
We didnt know whether or not it was in his repetoire for that evening, but he sang as though he was singing just to us. In the show that evening was also an irish comedian, we had seen before, but very funny indeed. We were talking to him after the show at the bar, and said how much we had enjoyed him but also our great favourite Matt Monro.
We were so surprised when he said would you like to go to his dressing room and meet him, we jumped at the chance. We were welcomed in by his lovely wife Micky, and she introduced Matt to us. We thanked him for singing one of our favourites, and spoke to him for a few moments, in which time he autographed our programme. It was a wonderful experience never to be forgotten!!!!
Thank you Micky, heres to the memory of the greatest singers of modern day, and a gentleman, and so down to earth guy, may his recordings and video’s never be forgotten.
Mr C T Griffiths
My memories go back to the early fifties I was serving on board HMS Belfast during the Korean war at times we used have a break and visit Hong Kong I was once having a night out in one of the services clubs and radio Hong Kong were holding a talent contest which I entered the winner was a soldier named Terry Parsons.
At that time he was just an unknown soldier and it wasnt until later in life I was told by an oppo of mine who was in the RAF stationed in Hong Kong that I was on the same show as Matt Monro.
I am 77 now but that story has been my claim to fame for a long time now. And I am a big fan of his music even though he did beat me.
In the early 80s I was just demobbed from the Army and back from abroad, Cyprus. I was staying in a hotel in the East of England, Norwich I think, during the night the fire alarm whent off and we all had to go out on the car park.
A gentle man standing next to me in his dressing gown said, ” Been some where hot” I had for 3 years so had a really good tan, I told him I was just leaving the Army and we had a good chat about mine and his experiences, It was of course Matt Monro,
It was a false alarm and we were offered free hot drinks my the manager, I had a cuppa and he signed the back of a photo of my 2 children, I still have it.
I was delighted to get a reply from someone who gave me this link to Matt Monro. My husband’s Uncle was in the army with Matt M or Terry Parsons as he was known back then. They were in Hong Kong together, and used to win lots of singing competitions (for cigarettes etc).
Uncle Bob Sparkes (known as Neddy Sparkes) was a good friend of Matt’s and they spent a lot of time together. We saw a doc on the TV a year or two ago, but couldn’t get in touch with Neddy to let him know about it, but now I and my husband can watch it on U Tube, which is wonderful.
Matt M came to Norfolk many years ago, and called on My husband’s Grandmother but she was not too friendly to him. She thought that he might encourage her son to embark on a showbiz career which to her mind was not a safe route. When Neddy found out about this he was very cross indeed, of course. Granny had no idea who Matt Monro was or would become!
What a good job Matt Monro went into show business as he became a world class singer. Neddy is getting on now, 82, and lives in Notts and hasn’t been too well, but he still sings in the Karaoke at his local, and wins !
Mrs Jo Sparkes.
I was born in 1957 Florida, USA. My father shared his music throughout my childhood and later years. Artists like Frank Sinatra, Matt Monro, Jerry Vale etc. My memories of Matts music are very vivid as I am now my father’s age when he was listening to it. What a voice!!! His music like alfie, walk away and yesterday are great. This has caused me to search out his cd’s to share with my brothers and others. Thanks to Matt for the memories!!!!!!!!! Go to Pandora.com and listen to his hits!!!! It’s magnificent!!!!!!! Thanks Again
Matt Monro being interviewed by Australian TV presenter Burt Newton in 1984 or just before Matt passed away in 1985! I have the video recording!
When i was about 18 (early eighties) i went to our local social club with my mam and watched matt perform while his son played keyboards. It was an exellent performance, and matt even took the time to speak to me and my mam during and after the show. A true proffesional and gentleman.
In the 1950s when i was about 16/17 i was a member of a Skiffle group called the All Star Skiffle Group based in Manchester, one night we had our only booking at a sporting club in a ex cinema called the Cintra i can’t remember where it was but when we were shown to the dressing room we other people who were on the bill a comedian called Johnny “Goon Tweed and a singer called Matt Monro i think he was billed as the singing bus driver, he was a gent no edge about him and when we finished our spot we knew we were rubbish but he said “Well done Lads” I will remember that night for ever, whenever i hear his voice i say to myself i was on the same bill as him. Happy Day.
Tony (Spud) Cox was Matt’s touring bass player in the 1960’s. Spud is now bass player in my band Quartz where a page is devoted to Spud which has a link back to your website. Spud still has a signed photo of Matt in his toilet(!)
I just wanted to say that Matt was my favourite ballad singer, he had such a smooth voice, and I always enjoyed his music. I regularly listened to him on radio Hong Kong when I was based there during my national service in 1951/52. Sadly missed.
in the 70s i called into jolles nightclub in stoke to book tickets for someone i now can`t remember but as i was standing in the reception matt came and stood beside me and with great regret i couldn`t find the courage to speak to him, maybe i was shy or just starstruck or a mixture of both but i really regret the missed opportunity to have soken to the great man, wonderfull voice and sadly missed.
Hi everyone, I am a great fan of Matt Monro and although I never got to see him I love his songs, his unique vocal array.
I did meet his son Matt Jnr at a concert in London a few years ago.
Although I sing Sinatra songs I have recentley started to do some of Matt’s classics, Portrait of my love, Softly as I leave you, From Russia with Love.
I sang at a charity concert recentley and dedicated a song to Matt which someone filmed in the audience and placed on you tube/google video. Here’s the link if you fancy a look:
Regards to you all, and Matt’s family.
In the early seventies I worked as a lighting assistant at the Broadway Club, Failsworth GT Manchester. I was sent to prompt him onto the stage as he was headlighning the show.
Never having met him before but knowing of his reputation I was quite nervous after all this man was at that time a big star. He immediently made me welcome and invited me in to meet his wife who was accompanying him on this trip.
He showed me that not only was he a man with a sense of humour but was also very human as well. After a short conversation posssibly no more than a couple of minutes although it felt longer he kindly signed a photo of himself for my mother which she still has, He also told me that during his tour he was doing a spot with Bernard Manning on a tv special.
I told him that Bernard was not my cup of tea and then tongue in cheek he said to me had i ever considered that in wasn’t Bernards favourite person as well.
The warmth of this man and the fact that he treated me as someone special despite the fact that i was only a stage hand stayed with me through my life.
Mr. James Dunn writes: “Yesterday I went to the funeral of my Uncle Jimmy. He was James Galvin aged 83 of Kensington Liverpool. Jimmy absolutley loved Matt and being a well known Club singer sang most of Matts songs. I think he was his biggest fan. When he was at Allerton Crematoriam as we left they played ‘Softly as I leave you’. It really reduced all to tears.Such a wonderfull singer and such an appropriate choice at the time. I shall carry on being a fan of Matt till I leave softly.”
James writes to us: “in Colombia the radio still plays some Matt Monro’s songs. He is still in the memory of people.” Thanks for the lyrics James, and all others who have submitted.