Geoffrey Stephens (1 October 1934 – 24 December 2020) was an English songwriter and record producer, most prolific in the United Kingdom
in the 1960s and 1970s. He wrote a long series of hit records, often in conjunction with other British songwriters including Tony Macaulay
, John Carter
, Roger Greenaway
, Peter Callander
, Barry Mason
, Ken Howard
, Alan Blaikley
, Don Black
, Mitch Murray
, and Les Reed
He also formed The New Vaudeville Band
, and their song "Winchester Cathedral
" won Stephens the 1967 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary (R&R) Recording
Stephens was born in New Southgate
, North London
He began his career in amateur theatricals, when he wrote songs and sketch
es for musical revue
s presented by his own company, the Four Arts Society, while working as a school teacher
, air traffic controller
and silk screen printer.
This led to BBC Radio
accepting some of his satirical sketches for their ''Monday Night at Home'' programme.
Subsequently, becoming involved with music, in 1964 he had his first hit
"Tell Me When", co-written with Les Reed
, a Top 10
hit for The Applejacks
That year he and Peter Eden discovered and managed Donovan
, producing his first hit single and debut album, ''What's Bin Did and What's Bin Hid
In 1964, Stephens wrote "The Crying Game
a Top 5 hit for Dave Berry
(and later the title song of the film and a hit for Boy George
In 1966 he formed The New Vaudeville Band
, writing and recording
songs in a 1920s musical style.
Their debut single "Winchester Cathedral
" was a No. 1 hit in the U.S.
and No. 4 in the UK Singles Chart
by others including Dizzy Gillespie
and Frank Sinatra
. It was followed by further hits for the band, "Peek A Boo", "Finchley Central" and "Green Street Green".
With John Carter
, Stephens wrote "Semi-Detached Suburban Mr. James
" for Manfred Mann
and, with Les Reed
, "There's a Kind of Hush
" for The New Vaudeville Band. A year later, a cover version
of "There's a Kind of Hush" was a hit for Herman's Hermits
, and it was also later a hit for The Carpenters
. Over the next few years he wrote, or co-wrote, hits for The Hollies
"), Ken Dodd
("Tears Won’t Wash Away These Heartaches"), Cliff Richard
("Goodbye Sam, Hello Samantha"), Tom Jones
("Daughter of Darkness"
), Mary Hopkin
("Knock, Knock Who's There?
" - the 1970 UK entry in the Eurovision Song Contest
), Scott Walker
("Lights of Cincinnati
("It's Gonna Be a Cold Cold Christmas"), The Drifters
("Like Sister And Brother"), Crystal Gayle
("It's Like We Never Said Goodbye
"), Hot Chocolate
("I'll Put You Together Again"), Sue and Sunny
and Carol Douglas
") and, most successfully of all, UK number one hits for David Soul
") and The New Seekers
(the Ivor Novello Award-winning
, "You Won't Find Another Fool Like Me
In 1972, his joint composition with Peter Callander
of "Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast
", was recorded by Wayne Newton
. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc
by the R.I.A.A.
in July 1972.
In 1983, Stephens and Don Black
composed the songs for the West End
musical ''Dear Anyone
'', followed a year later by ''The Magic Castle'' with Les Reed. He has also been awarded the Gold Badge of Merit by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors
in 1995, and the Jimmy Kennedy Ivor Novello Award
for Services to British Songwriting in 2000.
This was followed by the 'revuesical' album ''Off the Wall''.
More recently he wrote "To All My Loved Ones", featured as a centrepiece of the Festival of Remembrance
at the Royal Albert Hall
In 2005, Stephens worked with Peter Callander
and David Cosgrove on the musical production of ''Bonnie & Clyde
''. Most recently Stephens has worked with Don Black on a planned stage revival of ''Dear Anyone''.
Stephens was married to Pam, and they had three children, son Paul, and daughters Jenny and Ruth.
He died on 24 December 2020, at the age of 86, from pneumonia, after surviving COVID-19
earlier that year.
‘Winchester Cathedral,’ ‘A Kind of Hush,’ ‘Crying Game’ Songwriter Geoff Stephens Dies
Category:Ivor Novello Award winners
Category:English record producers
Category:People from Southgate, London
Category:Musicians from London
Category:Grammy Award winners
Category:Air traffic controllers
Category:The New Vaudeville Band members