Ken Bruce will host a special edition of Friday Night is Music Night wishing a very happy 80th birthday to one of the country’s greatest songwriters, Tony Hatch.

Tony Hatch was a judge on ITV’s New Faces talent show of the 1970s.

The BBC Concert Orchestra and Capital Voices, conducted by Richard Balcombe, are joined by special guests Claire Sweeney, Jenna Russell, Michael Dore and Oliver Tompsett to pay tribute to the man whose music-making career spans an incredible 70 years and whose songs provided a soundtrack of the sixties.

Near the BBC’s Broadcasting House stands All Souls church, and it was here that the young Tony Hatch first made his treble voice heard as head chorister. Tony left school when he was just 15 and started his career as a tea boy in London’s Tin Pan Alley on Denmark Street. He’d brew the tea and tidy the filing but he was sometimes asked to play piano for visiting artists.

He once played at an audition for the BBC’s Talent Selection Group for a new band called The Lower Third. A member of the audition panel wrote: “I don’t think they’ll get better with more rehearsals,” but their lead singer did – his name was David Bowie.

Petula Clark has several hits thanks to Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent.

Tony gave Morecambe and Wise some Positive Thinking.

Tony produced a number of early tracks by Bowie for Pye Records before the Starman singer left Pye for Philips and released Space Oddity. Tony meanwhile went on to become a top producer and songwriter.

He’s worked with the likes of Chubby Checker, Pat Boone, The Searchers, Adam Faith, Sasha Distel, Matt Monro, Bruce Forsyth, Frank Sinatra and of course, Petula Clark. For Petula he wrote Downtown and then with the song writing partnership of Jackie Trent they wrote Don’t Sleep In The Subway, Colour My World, I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love, The Other Man’s Grass Is Always Greener, Where Are You Now? and Who Am I?. For Scott Walker he wrote Joanna and for Morecambe and Wise, Positive Thinking.

Tony Hatch’s first major TV theme was for serial Crossroads.

The 1970s saw Tony provide the theme to Emmerdale Farm.

Tony’s compositions are not confined to radio, switch on the TV and it’s likely a Tony Hatch signature tune can be heard. He is responsible for some of the best loved television themes including Crossroads, Emmerdale, Sports Night, Mr And Mrs, and Neighbours.

Tony’s 80th birthday falls on 30th June 2019 with BBC Radio 2 celebrating his songs and themes in a Friday Night is Music Night concert recorded at the Alexandra Palace Theatre, a venue steeped in television history, listeners will be treated to, as well as the music, some archive clips from his long career.

The two-hour programme will broadcast at 8pm this coming Friday, May 17th, on BBC Radio 2.

Tony wrote many of his hits with then wife Jackie Trent.
Sue Nicholls had a top twenty hit thanks to Crossroads and Tony, with Where Will You Be?
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