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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.

Early life

Stephens was born in New Southgate, North London.

Career

He began his career in amateur theatricals, when he wrote songs and sketches for musical revues 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, and covered 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 ("Sorry Suzanne"), 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"), Dana ("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 ("Doctor's Orders") and, most successfully of all, UK number one hits for David Soul ("Silver Lady") 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''.

Personal life

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
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References



External links


Official websiteDiscography
{{DEFAULTSORT:Stephens, Geoff Category:1934 births Category:2020 deaths Category:Ivor Novello Award winners Category:English songwriters 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