b. 25 April 1919, Margate, Kent, England. Fahey’s father, a professional musician, taught him to play the piano and cello when he was a youngster. During World War II he served in the Royal Artillery and was captured during the retreat to Dunkirk, and spent the next five years in prisoner-of-war camps. He survived the ‘forgotten massacre’ at Wormhoudt Concentration Camp, and organized prisoners’ entertainments. On his return to the UK he played piano for Rudi Sarita’s Band, where he met his future wife, vocalist Audrey Laurie. He then worked as an arranger for top UK dance bands, Ken Mackintosh, Geraldo and Harry Roy, and in the early 50s was a staff arranger with Chappells Music Publishing Company. Fahey made his first broadcast with his own orchestra in 1960 and from 1966-72 he was musical director for Shirley Bassey, and conductor of the Scottish Radio Orchestra from 1972 until it disbanded in 1981. Later, he appeared on radio and in concerts with his own outfits, such as the Brian Fahey Big Band, Little Band, Concert Orchestra, and Little String Orchestra. His best-known compositions include ‘Fanfare Boogie’, written with Max Kaye, for which he received an Ivor Novello Award in 1955; and ‘At The Sign Of The Swinging Cymbal’, around which UK disc jockey Alan Freeman revamped BBC Radio’s Top Of The Pops in the late 50s, and later made it his life-long theme tune prefacing his opening ‘Hi there pop pickers’. Fahey also collaborated with his ex-boss, Ken Mackintosh and Gordon Langthorne on ‘The Creep’, which was a UK Top 10 chart entry for the Mackintosh Orchestra in 1954. His movie scores include Curse Of The Simba, Where The Spies Are (1965, starring David Niven), and two comedies, Rhubarb and The Plank (1967), which featured Eric Sykes, Harry Secombe and Jimmy Edwards.
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