Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Tony Macauley (Anthony Gordon Instone)

Tony was born in 1944, in Fulham, London. His father played piano and his mother was a writer and he grew up to appreciate music. Whilst at college Tony played bass and wrote songs but was never able to make it as a performer. He enjoyed American music and in particular the melodic works of Bacharach and Hal David and the rhythms of Holland.Dozier and Holland at Motown.

When he left college his first start job in 1965, was in the music business as a song plugger for Essex Publishing. It was not a job he particularly enjoyed but in the couple of years promoting other's music he took the opportunity to get to know the key people within the industry. Tony had a good ear for pop-soul and he would beg and borrowing favours to make demonstration records but they did nothing. When he moved to Pye Records as a record producer, he already knew personally radio and record producers, and disc jockeys which gave him a great advantage. He continued to write songs, often in collaboration with John MacLeod and with The Foundations they discovered perfect British soul outfit. Their first commercial success was "Baby Now That I've Found You", which topped the UK Singles Chart in 1967.

Tony Macauley carefully wrote songs which were full of modulations and wonderful chord sequences and this pleased the public. To his critics he turned British pop into something akin to commercial jingles but the hits kept on coming.

In 1968, Mike D'Abo (Manfred Mann) and Tony McCauley penned "Build Me Up Buttercup" for the Foundations'. The single became an international hit. John McLeod and Tony got together with Marmalade’s chart success with "Baby Make it Soon" (1969), the Paper Dolls' "Something in My Heart (Keeps A-Telling Me No)." (1969).

In 1969, Tony Macaulay and Geoff Stephens wrote Scott Walker's "The Lights of Cincinnati" which became a hit. In the same year the song writers penned the Hollies' "Sorry Suzanne." It was the group's first song to feature Terry Sylvester in the place of Graham Nash and reached #3 on the UK singles chart.

He was back in the charts again in 1970, with Pickettywitch's "That Same Old Feeling."

In 1970, Tony signed with Bell Records for 1 million (dollars) and had plenty musicians but in the absence of named groups and artists, he preferred to work with session singers. He recognised the financial benefit of owning the rights to a band’s name, and like Phil Spector, employed session musicians and singers to record material which was put out by the label as the work of the band. Tony Barrows was a young versatile singer and took the lead and working with back-up singers, Sue Glover and Sunny Leslie. (Sue and Sunny sang with Joe Cocker on "A Little Bit Of Help From My Friends"), Tony mixed their vocals with sessions musicians. He had written "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)"with Barry Mason and Sylvan Whittingham and because he owned the rights to the name Edison Lighthouse, released the single under their name. When the song became a hit, he had to quickly assemble a group to appear on Top of the Pops (BBC). Sylvan Whittingham found a group called 'Greenfields' and brought them to the auditions a week before their appearance on Top of the Pops. Once chosen and rehearsed, they appeared on the show as 'Edison Lighthouse' to mime to the fastest climbing number 1 hit record in history. Tony Burrows and Sue and Sunny initially mimed, then sang the song on the programme with three different groups in their three separate appearances . Later when Tony Burrows left the band, other musicians were brought in to replace him.

In the 70s Tony began collaborations with song writing team of Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway. Andy Williams reached No 7 in the UK charts with "Home Lovin' Man." In the same year they penned "Blame It On The Pony Express" which charted for Johnny Johnson and the Bandwagon. The following year he was back in the charts with “Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again,” by The Fortunes.

Tony Macauley was asked to write a song for Elvis Presley for his 1971 album Elvis sings The Wonderful World of Christmas. He came up with " I'll Be Home on Christmas Day" which has been played every Christmas in Times Square to kick off the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Even more hits followed with The 5th Dimension "(Last Night) I Didn't Get to Sleep At All" in 1972. His own composition, he had initially offered it to The Carpenters but they refused to record it because in the lyrics there was reference to taking sleeping tablets. The instrumental backing on "(Last Night) I Didn't Get to Sleep At All" was from the Wrecking Crew and the song reached #8 on the Billboardchart. In 1973, Tony wrote the theme tune for New Faces (ATV) which was recorded by Carl Wayne (The Move). The New Seekers took "You Won't Find Another Fool Like Me," which was written by Tony Macaulay and Geoff Stephens into the charts in the same year.

During this time Tony Macauley had his attention diverted by a protracted legal dispute with his publishers. In a landmark decision he won his case on appeal in 1974, which made him one of the most powerful composers in the British music industry and encouraged other artists to challenge the terms of their contracts. He continued in pop industry and had Top Ten hits with Marmalade "Falling Apart at the Seams," (1976); David Soul's "Don't Give Up on Us" (1976), and Donna Summer's "Can't We Just Sit Down (And Talk It Over)" (1977).

Thirty-eight made the Top 20 in the UK, eight, the number position. Sixteen of his songs were hits in the US, three made number one. He also composed scores to the films, The Beast in the Cellar (1970) and Percy's Progress (1974), and was the music coordinator for the film Never Too Young to Rock (1975).

At the height of his pop success, he switched to composing musical theatre. He started with a collaboration with playwright, Ken Hill on “Is Your Doctor Really Necessary?” (1973), and later on “Gentlemen Prefer Anything” (1974). In 1982, he wrote the music for a musical adaption of Windy City, a musical in two acts based on The Front Page by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. When Tony Macaulay felt he was too old to write pop songs he embarked on a new career as a successful author of thrillers (Sayonara and Enemy of the State). He also taught writing thriller fiction to post-graduate students at University of Brighton.

Tony Macauley is one of the most successful UK song writers of the 60s and is a nine time Ivor Novello Awards winning songwriter. In 1986 he was invited to write the music to commemorate the Queen’s 60th birthday and it was performed by a choir of 600 children and the Grenadier Guards outside Buckingham Palace. In 2007, he became the only British person to win the Edwin Forrest Award for outstanding contribution to the American theatre.

No comments: