Paul Rich

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b. 20 August 1921, London, England, d. 23 February 2000. A dance band vocalist/guitarist and music publisher, Rich was the son of Greek parents who emigrated to the UK from Russia. His first job in the…
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b. 20 August 1921, London, England, d. 23 February 2000. A dance band vocalist/guitarist and music publisher, Rich was the son of Greek parents who emigrated to the UK from Russia. His first job in the music business was as a singer and guitarist with the Oscar Rabin band in 1941. Shortly afterwards he joined Lou Preager, just as the band leader was beginning his remarkable 18-year residency at London’s popular Hammersmith Palais. Another vocalist who joined Preager around the same time was Edna Kaye, and she duetted with Rich on the novelty ‘The Quack Quack Song’, which was recorded in June 1944. Rich was also the featured singer with Preager on many other sides, including ‘You’re In Love’, ‘No-One Else Will Do’, ‘Waiting In Sweetheart Valley’, ‘Coming Home’, ‘I’m Beginning To See The Light’, ‘The Cokey Cokey’ (a novelty dance, which became all the rage, and is still a popular party favourite), ‘I’ll Always Be With You’, ‘I’d Rather Be Me’, ‘Lonely Footsteps’, ‘I’ll Close My Eyes’, ‘Let’s Keep It That Way’, ‘Two Can Dream As Cheaply As One’, ‘Carolina’, and ‘Cruising Down The River’, ‘Until’, ‘Don’t Be A Baby’, ‘I Heard You Cried Last Night’ (with Edna Kaye), ‘Hey! Good Lookin’’, and ‘Mairzy Doats’. ‘Cruising Down The River’, which was written by two amateurs, Eily Beadell and Nell Tollerton, won the Palais’ immensely popular songwriting contest Write A Tune For £1000 in 1945. It headed the sheet music bestsellers lists in the UK and USA, and was featured in the Hollywood movie Cruisin’ Down The River, starring Dick Haymes. With the advent of rock ‘n’ roll, Rich left Preager in February 1955 after 13 years to supervise a chain of retail shops. He then took a job as a song plugger, eventually working in various capacities for a number of music publishers, before becoming general manager for Freddy Bienstock’s Carlin Music in 1967. During his time with the company it expanded and prospered, and was the top publisher in the Record Retailer charts for 11 consecutive years. He also prided himself at paying out meagre advances to his artists. He retired in 1989, and devoted much of his time to hobbies such as sailing and photography. He also painted in oils, and has held a joint exhibition with his barrister son Clive. He died in 2000 following a sudden heart attack.