Spotlight on ……
I’m sure I’m one of many people who never realized how much of Matt’s music I’ve heard over the years. About eight years ago…one day after watching the James Bond film From Russia with Love for about the 10th time…I was listening to the music at the end…and then the question just hit me. Who is that singing? So I watched the closing credits and there was the name Matt Monro. That was the spark that started the fire...I suddenly wanted to hear and learn more.
I find a lot of Matt’s music to be timeless, very classy. Lately I find myself really listening intently to his style and diction. Some of his songs amaze me every time I hear them, his breathing and power...incredible. I really don’t have an absolute favourite, but “I Get Along Without You Very Well” has got to be right near the top.
I know that Matt became known as King of the Movie’s after recording the theme title tracks for such notables as From Russia With Love, the Quiller Memorandum, The Sea Wolves and Tomorrow Never Comes and I really believe the songs added to the films. Matt sets the whole mood for the movie The Italian Job with that song “On Days Like These” – love it! Don’t forget the movie The Sand Pebbles! I believe that Matt should have received an Oscar, like the songwriters Don Black and John Barry did, for the music in the film Born Free. I think that when a song and voice are meant to be together, like Matt and that title song…they are inseparable. It takes both to be a hit.
I think a Matt Monro Christmas album would have been wonderful. He has a very warm sound that lends itself well to holiday music. I knew about “Mary’s Boy Child” and “When a Child is Born” but have only just discovered that he in fact recorded “Christmas Magic”, which has now been remastered and I’d definitely like to hear that. I believe Richard Moore is the audio expert who has spent the last six years restoring all the Estate’s sound tracks and I think he contributes a lot to what we can’t hear – if you know what I mean. As long as the original intent of the music is undisturbed…then I’m okay with that.
I am gutted not to have seen Matt live, if I only had a time machine! Thank goodness for the DVDs in the catalogue, I feel this fills the void that so many fans have regarding Matt, and I am always hoping for more to come to the market. I love the newest release by Odeon The Ultimate Performer and certainly don’t feel the market is being flooded by DVD material - but then again…. I am very biased.
It is great with the advent of modern media that there is a website that connects the fans with everything Matt Monro and it is a brilliant idea that it is updated on a monthly basis, which keeps everything fresh. I am most impressed with Michele…she takes the time to view posts and respond as much as humanly possible. What I like most about the site is the Forum, it’s almost like a family and everyone is so personable, it’s very important and gives us a way of connecting and sharing interests. What good is a website without a forum? I was horrified to learn that it suddenly went off line a year or so ago and nobody knew what had happened.
I have only recently found out about ‘Fans Reunited’, I didn’t know there was such a thing. Unfortunately I am not able to be with you all on 14 September as I live on the other side of the ocean. But if I were to attend somehow…I would like to have a guest speaker or maybe a performer, who could share some first-hand experiences of Matt with his fans. It would also be a thrill to have a viewing of some of Matt’s performances on a big screen…just an idea. Of course if the opportunity arose I would like to see Matt Jnr work. I think he is going about things the right way, carving out his own niche. There is no escaping the connection to his father, and I’m sure that has some drawing power to the older fans like me. He is very charismatic and I applaud him for doing things his way. I very much respect that.
Even though I won’t be at the event to meet her, I am thrilled by the fact that I can chat with Matt’s daughter Michele through emails. She is very down to earth, and so warm and polite too. Another recent thrill was being able to purchase a silk tie that once belonged to Matt at the recent auction. It has now winged over to the States and here I proudly wear it on special occasions. It is something that I will treasure forever.
I do consider myself one of Matt Monro’s staunchest fans – what prompted this love affair? At first I was blown away by the technical perfection and incredible sound of Matt. Then I found myself educating others who didn’t know who Matt was…telling them they are missing out if they don’t give him a listen or two. After reading Michele’s book about Matt, my appreciation only grew deeper. I very much admire how he stayed true to himself, no matter what was going on around him. You can’t help but like a fellow like that! I think he made a big impact on the music business and for the people that didn’t like the latest trends that hit the scene every now and then; Matt gave them something classy to listen to.
I very much enjoyed the book ‘The Singer’s Singer – The Life and Music of Matt Monro’. It was great to learn about the man behind the voice, the person who was Matt Monro. I found myself exhausted just reading about his extensive travels….he worked very hard. I laughed at the many humorous stories, almost feeling like I was there. The book is written in the third person, but Michele’s love for her father does shine through – no way around it. The sheer volume of information is really impressive. It was definitely worth buying and it was just a shame that Michele wasn’t doing a promotional tour over here in America, as I would have liked to have met her and have her sign my book.
I don’t have the largest collection of Matt Monro music I’m sure, but I’m working on it…. the book coincided with Matt’s 25th anniversary and I know that EMI also brought out two albums to celebrate the event “The Singles Collection” and ‘The Greatest”, which I haven’t got yet but as my birthday is around the corner they are on my wish list.
What CD would I pick if I could only take one to a desert island? Now that’s a tough question. I guess it depends on what mood I’m after…. probably “Matt Sings Hoagy Carmichael” or the brand new remastered version ‘Words and Music”. I haven’t got that version yet but I can’t wait as I recently read that it includes all the Hoagy Carmichael sessions as well as the audio of the book.
To finish off, I’ve been asked to describe Matt Monro in three words?
Gift From God