Spotlight on ……

Sandra Tindall


It was inevitable that I would eventually come across the superb voice of Matt Monro. My Dad was in the army based at Portland in Dorset and my Mum was a Weymouth girl. He also played the trumpet and sang in the army band at the popular ‘tea dances’ of the time. My Mum loved dancing to this music, and could be found spending every spare moment there. This didn’t stop after I was born as apparently from a few months of age I was passed from sailor to sailor when the ‘fleet was in’ while Mum continued dancing and Dad playing! So when the war ended and they moved to Dad’s hometown of Lincoln the music continued. Dad joined a local dance band playing and singing and home tutoring people on the trumpet. Mum was still dancing me round the room to the strains of Sinatra, Doris Day and the Big Bands of the time. As I became a teenager I thought I was fed up of the music I had heard all of my life and began to enjoy the British rock’n’roll music of Billy Fury, Marty Wilde, Cliff etc. Then one day I heard a song on the radio sung by someone called Matt Monro. The song was Love Walked In, which I had heard being played in our house over the years. That was it, I was hooked by the voice and it went on from there.

If I had to describe Matt’s voice I would say it is an absolute flawless quality from beginning to end, whatever he sings. My favourite single song would have to be One Day a song of love and hope. An album has to be Matt sings Hoagy Carmichael, timeless songs beautifully sung. I have never been keen of Exodus; I much prefer it as an instrumental. With reference to his film themes, my very favourite is The Precious Moments from the film The Sea Wolves closely followed by On Days Like These and Wednesdays Child.


I think that Matt’s singing on these films added to the whole experience of the film itself, as you couldn’t help but pay attention as that marvellous voice rang out on the soundtrack. He should have received an Oscar as well as the songwriters because his interpretation of their winning songs were a major factor to their success.

We were very fortunate to see Matt ‘live’ twice. In 1978 we saw him in Newark. The most memorable part of that evening was listening to him sing If I Never Sing Another Song because the words, ’in my heyday young girls wrote to me’ brought memories flooding back of myself being one of those young girls! I think I was always writing to him as I had a real ‘crush’! Imagine my delight to receive a handwritten letter thanking me for writing. And then a reply to another letter I had written saying that my husband John and I were coming to Blackpool for our ‘honeymoon’. Matt was appearing in summer season at the North Pier and I asked if it would be possible to meet him after the show. The typewritten reply signed by him said yes!


And so, on August 17th 1963 after watching the show in front row seats we were taken to meet him. I don’t have to tell you how super he was to us; you wouldn’t expect me to say anything else would you? He soon put us at our ease, although what we talked about I haven’t a clue, I was too much in shock. I know that John and he had a cigarette, and that we all had a drop of whisky. He was happy to pose for a photo, and then to top it off Morecambe and Wise came into the dressing room too and had a few words.
We floated on air for the rest of the week, even getting tickets to see the same show again the next night. A never forgotten memory.

 

I personally would like to have seen more ‘swing’ numbers on his past albums, as I am a huge fan of big band music. It’s great to see more of these songs appearing now as in The Rare Monro. Having only just ‘discovered’ the website I wasn’t aware of ‘Fans Reunited’. I am certainly enjoying reading and occasionally ‘chipping in’ with everyone’s banter to each other and it would probably be nice to meet everyone ‘in the flesh’. I didn’t know anything about ‘Friends of Matt Monro’ either so will probably join.


www.mattmonro.com seems to be unique, I don’t know of any other site where there is such up to the minute information on relevant or irrelevant topics on a near daily basis. Everyone seems so friendly and to know that Michele is always there too must make it particularly unique. As for the Forum I know nothing about its history, it is definitely worth fighting for. I can understand how people come to reply on it so it must have been a big shock to find it missing one day. But it is up to all of us to make sure it is well used.

 

A follow up to The Rare Monro would be the icing on the cake. OF COURSE it was worth the five years hard work for us as Matt’s fans. To listen to such tracks as New York, New York, Birth Of the Blues and The Wrong Time was great for us, but the cost must have been tremendous. And then of course Matt Sings Nelson Swings -it certainly does!

If Matt had done a seasonal album it would have been up there with such greats as Sinatra, Cole and Williams but I never connected him with one until I was asked. If money wasn’t an object I would give blanket advertising in every newspaper and magazine when a new CD/DVD came out. I would also hire a theatre and do something on similar grounds to what we saw at the Palladium a few years ago. It was a tribute to Sinatra with actual footage of him on a big screen behind dancers in front, interpreting his songs as they were played. It was very impressive and superbly done. The recent release of DVDs is an unbelievable bonus, who would have thought that such material would come to light? I don’t think they could ever ‘flood the market’ with Matt’s material – the more the better and I can’t wait for Matt at the BBC.

Richard Moore’s input must be absolutely invaluable. The quality of the latest materials and how he answers even the hardest questions put to him on the Forum, the man must be a genius!

 

It was a most exciting experience being contacted by Michele after I asked a question on the ‘other unofficial site’ after finding some old reel-to-reel tapes in my attic. After playing them I found that they included some Jules Styne numbers and I wondered if Matt had actually ever recorded these songs. At Michele’s request I sent these tapes off to Richard in the hope that he can find something of use to him.

 

We went to see Matt Jnr at Nottingham Concert Hall and enjoyed the show. We spoke to him afterwards too and told him our story. The hardest part for him is balancing the material of his Dads, which obviously people want to hear, while making the show enjoyable in his own right. I have to say I wasn’t aware that he had released a solo album after ‘Monro sings Monro’ which worked very well.

What prompted my ‘love affair’ with Matt? It was the voice, the voice, the voice! I started putting cuttings in a scrapbook in about 1962 as more and more stuff was written about Matt. It was also a period in my life where through circumstances I was at home all day and playing his songs helped me through that time. I carried on from there really. I also worked in a record shop for a while, so was able to keep up to date with poster material etc. The result is two tatty scrapbooks full of clippings rather amateurishly done!


Matt proved that you didn’t have to be American to be a superstar. He was a world-class singer ranking high in the list of singers throughout the world, putting the British Music Industry to the fore.
From what I have read about Matt over the years, the things I have heard people say about him in interviews and the type of person I get the impression Michele is, I am really looking forward to the book that is coming out next year in line with Matt’s 25th anniversary. I would be surprised if she wasn’t objective and I am sure it will be a jolly good read.

 

The CD I would take on a desert island has to be The Singers Singer as I would get 4 CD’s for the price of one! I have only just found out that it has been deleted so it makes it extra special knowing I have one of only 2000 printed.

SIMPLY THE BEST in huge capital letters would be my three words to describe Matt.

To see some of Sandra's Matt Monro Memorabilia click here



PREVIOUS SPOTLIGHT GUESTS

Bobby Darin

John Higton

Adam Faith

Kenny Rogers

Steve Woof

Glen Campbell

Richard Moore - Interview

Dame Shirley Bassey

Al Martino

Ella Fitzgerald

Jo Stafford

Lena Horne

June Christy

Nancy Wilson

Johnny Dankworth

Anthony Newley

Andy Williams

Vikki Carr

Missing Matt 2

Michael Ball

Petula Clark

Michele Monro

Lena Horne

Missing Media

George Martin

Dusty Springfield

Richard Moore

Tommy Bruce

Alma Cogan

Kathy Kirby

Tony Bennet

Johnny Mathis

Joe Longthorne

Frank Sinatra

Sammy Davis Jr.

Dean Martin

Nelson Riddle

Tony Christie

Nat King Cole

Steve Woof

Matt Monro Jnr.

Roy Leslie

Ken Dodd

Julie London

Sid Feller