Burt Rhodes

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b. 17 April 1923, Guiseley, Yorkshire, England, d. 21 June 2003, London, England. As a child Rhodes played piano and organ but it was not until after military service in World War II that he turned to…
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b. 17 April 1923, Guiseley, Yorkshire, England, d. 21 June 2003, London, England. As a child Rhodes played piano and organ but it was not until after military service in World War II that he turned to music as a career. He worked in nightclubs, often as a member of the Men About Town, and he also played in Harry Roy’s society band. In time, he became a band leader, playing often on radio for the BBC in popular programmes such as Workers Playtime, The Arthur Askey Show, The Richard Murdoch Show, I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again and many others, in some instances composing theme tunes. Later, he worked in television on shows such as those starring Paul Daniels, Benny Hill, David Nixon and Beryl Reid.

Rhodes was also active in London’s West End, working as musical director on shows such as Expresso Bongo (1958), The Golden Touch (1960), Stop The World - I Want To Get Off (1961), Blitz! (1962) and Our Man Crichton (1964). He was also deeply involved from 1966 with the musical side of the popular London theatre restaurant, The Talk Of The Town, eventually leading the orchestra there to accompany artists such as Pearl Bailey, Judy Garland, Howard Keel, Johnny Mathis, Cliff Richard, the Supremes and Frankie Vaughan. He also worked as an orchestrator for films, notably on composer Monty Norman’s music for the first James Bond adventure, Dr. No (1962), and was active in administrative and advisory roles for the Musicians Union and the PRS Members Fund. His services to the community were recognized by his being made a Freeman of the City of London.