Spotlight on ……
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
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
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
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
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
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