Spotlight on ……
I first become aware of Matt Monro in the late sixties through his film work and on the radio. His vocals were sublime as were the arrangements. There are so many great tracks but my favourite… well I actually have a friend called Annie Harris, so it would have to be "We're Gonna Change the World", It is very up-beat .
I listen to all of Matt’s albums and don’t have a particular track that I don’t like. I think all his work was engineered and produced to the highest standards. Past analogue recordings had a certain 'sound' to them! The Beatles catalogue is a prime example of that!
Matt became known as King of the Movie’s after recording the theme title tracks for such notables as The Italian Job, From Russia With Love, Born Free, the Quiller Memorandum, The Sea Wolves and Tomorrow Never Comes. As I am a John Barry fan as well, his contribution to these films were paramount to their success!
Barry never won an 'Oscar' for a Bond film but he did win two for 'Born Free’. Matt would have been a worthy winner if singers had also been eligible for the Award as well.
It is unfortunate that Matt Monro never recorded a Christmas album as his voice blends well with this style of music. Maybe, he was so busy his management team couldn’t find time to get him into the studio! Thankfully there are some wonderful other releases and I particularly like ‘The Rare Monro’. His re-issues or rare un-recorded CD's are essential in bringing new fans to his music.
I also have the rare footage of Matt's concert down-under on DVD. It's a wonderful piece of archive and what an amazing find especially as only a few years ago there was thought to be no existing material out there. Any new releases either from EMI or the family is a good thing!
Thank goodness for Richard Moore, who is responsible for remastering all of the Estate’s music in the last six years, as far as I’m concerned he goes straight to the "Top of the class" Pop albums recorded on analogue systems are now getting the same treatment and ‘The Complete Singles Collection’ is outstanding! It was brought out especially for Matt’s anniversary and I actually won it on a radio show in which Michele was interviewed. Several songs that I love were in the collection and the digital re-recordings are wonderful.
Sadly I never saw Matt perform live but through the website, www.mattmonro.com, I feel connected to all the news and new projects. Michele updates the site on the first of every month so it is never stale. I like the Forum the best because it keeps people in touch and there is a great cross-section of age groups on there.
I also missed Matt Jnr in concert a while ago when he was performing in Scotland but I would travel to London if the opportunity were there! A friendly round of golf with him would be wonderful as well!
I was lucky enough to get a ticket for the upcoming ‘Fans Reunited’ gathering in September. I am really looking forward to the chance of meeting Michele and her brother, as well as the people I have been in contact with on the website’s Forum.
Michele’s recent book ‘The Singer’s Singer’ was a true 'Warts and All' account of Matt's short life! It’s a book that I will read, time and time again! I didn’t manage to get to one of the book signings she did around the country and knowing what these events are like the author only has a few moments with the fans. I am going to try and get my book signed at the fans gathering if at all possible.
If it hadn’t been for the website, I might never known about Fans Reunited. We get inside information much earlier than the general public and last September Michele did offer about 20 tickets for the BBC ‘Friday Night is Music Night’, a special concert for matt. The tickets were like gold dust and she gave them out for free. It really is a great area for meeting people and I have just recently joined ‘Friends of Matt Monro’, which is the official Fan Club. My impressions of this area so far are the same as for the forum! I like to talk to fans face to face.
One of the most exciting experiences through the site is actually being able to talk to Michele. Her warmth and delightful manner in her e-mails and correspondence is a fitting tribute to her late parents!
I’d like to think of myself as one of Matt Monro’s staunchest fans – my love affair with the music started because I knew quality when I hear it. Also, his professionalism in his approach to his art is faultless. My friends and family know my devotion to him! If I had to pick only one item to take to a desert island it would be ‘From Russia With Love’ Pure escapism!!
I don’t have a massive collection of his music but select titles on different media, LPs, cassettes and CDs. I've moved so many times some of my collection especially the vinyl have been lost or damaged (warped).
Just because I don’t have every single recording doesn’t lessen how much esteem I have for Matt Monro. His contribution to the British Music Industry is immense. No other singer could touch his catalogue of musical achievements.
All that is missing is a comprehensive programme on his life. With my interest and background, I would like to film a documentary on Matt's career. Maybe a BBC 4 style production, almost like John Barry's 'Omnibus' programme when he produced his last album 'Eternal Echoes'!
Describe Matt Monro in three words? "A True Legend".