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Steve Woof – E.M.I

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Behind the scenes:
putting together "The Ultimate Matt Monro"

After more than 20 years since the last TV advertised Matt Monro album, we thought that it was about time we let the world know once again how good a voice Matt had. 2005 saw the 20th anniversary of Matt's death and we felt it appropriate to release an album in celebration of his life.

I have had the pleasure of working with Mickie and Michele Monro for quite a few years now, the first project that we did together was the mammoth 4 CD set 'The Singers Singer'. We had been talking about putting a new album together for quite some time, so when it came to it, we all had a hat full of songs that we thought should be included. Michele has this incredible index which shows how many times each of Matt's tracks has appeared on LP or CD. So I'd suggest a track and Michele would say "You must be joking, that's been on 16 CDs already!" We were trying to put an album together that not only appealed to the casual buyers but the true Matt Monro fans as well. So we needed to include some of the better known tracks like 'Born Free' and 'From Russia With Love', mixed in with a few more unusual ones, and the icing on the cake was of course the tracks which were previously unreleased.

Once we'd decided on the track listing the rest was a doddle! Next up we needed a cover for the album. We chose the photograph of Matt that we wanted to use and then it was over to the design team to see what they could come up with. To begin with it wasn't going well. Chris Peyton the designer turned out design after design and none, I felt hit the nail on the head. Having put 1000,s of albums together over the years the artwork is one of those things that when you see the right cover it makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck, so far with regard to this album, my hairs were definitely staying firmly flat on my neck!

Tony Christie

I then came across some market research done about a year ago for a Nat King Cole album. In the research members of the public were shown potential album covers and in a forum situation discussed the positives and negatives of each idea. The unanimous verdict from people who would buy a Nat King Cole album (and therefore would probably buy a Matt Monro one as well) was that a nice plain white background with a classy shot of the artist does the job. No fancy text, no special effects just plain and simple. So that's what we did and soon enough those hairs on the neck started to rise.

We needed to clean up the unreleased tracks, as they had been lying dormant on a cassette for 25 years or more. If any one could do this the team at Abbey Road could. And indeed they did, all except one track 'Birth Of The Blues' which we were hoping to include. Sadly this seemed beyond repair but hopefully it will appear on a rarities album in the future.

Once the album had been put to bed it was time to start making the TV advert. I turned to Wayne Allen at Odeon Entertainment for help here. I wanted some good footage of Matt, and as you probably know there's not a lot of it about. Wayne had been given the task of cleaning up the tape, which Mickie and Michele had found in their garage. And what a great job they did, the full concert is now available on a superb DVD, "An Evening With Matt Monro". Once I'd decided on which tracks to include in the advert I needed a studio to match the video with the high quality CD sound. This was easier said than done as no artist I'm sure sings a song 'live' exactly the same as it has been recorded. After many painstaking hours this was done to perfection. Then it was down to another studio with the sound bed to put it all together with the video, audio and effects. In total the 30-second advert took 3 days to make.

A two-week TV campaign was booked to 'test the water'. This soon turned into a three week, then four and finally ending up as a seven week campaign, during which time the sales just exceeded everyone's expectations, culminating in the album reaching number 7 in the charts.

thought that the time was right for a new TV advertised Matt Monro album. Thank you to all those who bought "The Ultimate Matt Monro" and in helping to keep Matt's legacy alive.

Matt Monro signed his first contract on 25th January 1960, by what name was E.M.I trading as then?

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