Cook and Greenaway

London-based session musician and songwriting duo established themselves as a MOR hit factory from the mid-60s.
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Artist Biography

Roger Cook (b. 19 August 1940, Bristol, Avon, England) and Roger Greenaway (b. 23 August 1938, Bristol, Avon, England) sang with the Kestrels, a close harmony pop group whose easy professionalism guaranteed, if not hit parade placings, then regular employment on mid-60s package tours and variety seasons. Setting themselves up in London as session musicians and songwriters, the pair’s tenacity paid off when ‘You’ve Got Your Troubles’ charted for the Fortunes in 1965. This established them as a middle-of-the-road hit factory (sometimes in collaboration with other writers), with a knack for infectious and hummable melodies with lyrics more impressive in sound than meaning. Their compositions included ‘Softly Whispering I Love You’ (Congregation), ‘Home Lovin’ Man’ (Andy Williams), ‘My Baby Loves Lovin’’ (White Plains) and 1972’s extraordinary success, ‘I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony)’ (the New Seekers).

As David And Jonathan, the two Rogers themselves succeeded twice in 1966’s UK Top 20 with a cover of the Beatles’ ‘Michelle’ and their own ‘Lovers Of The World Unite’ but, with the failure of subsequent discs (including ‘Softly Whispering I Love You’), they ceased public appearances as a duo. They then functioned separately as occasional recording artists - as instanced by Cook’s Study album and Greenaway’s 1970 smash with ‘Gimme Dat Ding’ (as one of the Pipkins) - but this was incidental to the team’s composition and production work for other acts, for the purposes of which Cookaway Music was formed. With no existence beyond recording and television studios, some Cookaway acts (Congregation, Harley Quinne) were created simply to front specific projects. The most enduring of these was Blue Mink, assembled in 1969 with Cook and Madeline Bell as lead vocalists for a four-year chart run, mostly with Cook-Greenaway numbers. During this period, the team illuminated commercial breaks on British television with jingles extolling the virtues of Typhoo Tea, Woodpecker Cider and other products. Nevertheless, Greenaway and Cook, without rancour, were no longer composing together by 1975. The following year, Cook alone supervised sessions for the Chanter Sisters (for whom he and Herbie Flowers wrote ‘Side Show’) and Nana Mouskouri, and ‘7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (Blow Your Whistle)’ by the Rimshots was attributed only to him. Disgruntled with the British tax system and the narrow-minded attitude of some UK radio and television producers, he migrated to Nashville to infiltrate the country market, penning US country number 1’s for artists such as Crystal Gayle (‘Talking In Your Sleep’) and Don Williams (‘I Believe In You’ and ‘Love Is On A Roll’), all published by his own Cook House company.

Greenaway also came up with a country number 1 for Gayle with ‘It’s Like We Never Said Goodbye’ in 1980, but it was business as usual in continuing to compose advertising jingles for such companies as Allied Carpets, Asda and British Gas, and having a creative hand in post-Cook hits such as those of the Drifters, David Dundas, Our Kid, Dana and Claude Francois. In 1983, Greenaway was appointed chairman of Britain’s Performing Right Society and in 1995 he took charge of the European office for ASCAP. In 1992 Cook teamed up with Hugh Cornwell (Stranglers) and guitarist Andy West to release CCW on the UFO label, under the moniker Cornwell, Cook And West.