Sun, 08 Sep | London Marriott Hotel Regents Park

Les Reed OBE Luncheon

Celebrating the life of one of the UK's most talented songwriters. Les Reed OBE rose to fame as the songwriter of legendary hits for major stars including Sir Tom Jones, Dame Shirley Bassey and Engelbert Humperdinck.
Registration is Closed

Time & Location

08 Sep 2019, 12:00
London Marriott Hotel Regents Park, 128 King Henry's Rd, London NW3 3ST, UK

About the Event

You are invited to join a luncheon to celebrate the life of one of Britain's greatest song writers, who sadly passed away on 15th April, 2019 aged 83.

You could join one of the many celebrities already planning to attend – including Rick Wakeman, Jess Conrad OBE, Anita Harris, Pattie Boulaye OBE, PJ Proby, Cheryl Baker, Duncan Norvelle, Su Pollard, Francoise Pascal as well as Les’ fellow songwriter, Barry Mason.

Arrive for 12 noon for a champagne reception. Lunch is then served at 1pm and comprises a four course meal with half a bottle of wine per person.

During the lunch, there will be clips of Les’ TV appearances and interviews. Some of the celebrities that knew Les will give a brief presentation on their personal experiences with him.

Donna, his daughter, will complete the presentations with a short speech.

This will be followed by an auction of donated prizes and a raffle. The afternoon will be concluded by the performance of Renee and the Big River Band who will be performing some of Les’ songs assisted by some of the celebrity singers in attendance.

The Forget-Me-Not Society is a charitable organisation of volunteers whose purpose is to host lunches and dinners in memory of departed celebrities, sportsman and famous people who have made significant contributions to their respective professions. These events will be sponsored by The Patriot Group and all profits generated from these events will be donated to the 2025 MCF Festival fund.

Leslie David Reed, songwriter and musician, born 24 July 1935

In the 1960s, the pianist, songwriter and arranger, Les Reed was given a simple dictum by the music manager Gordon Mills: “Romantic songs for Engelbert Humperdinck, sexy ones for Tom Jones.” With the lyricist Barry Mason, Les wrote The Last Waltz (1967) and Winter World of Love (1969) for Humperdinck and I’m Coming Home (1966) and Delilah (1968) for Jones. Les Reed also wrote the arrangement for another of Jones’ biggest hits, Green, Green Grass of Home (1967).

“I got to know what Tom liked,” said Les. “He loved good lyrics and he liked melodies with a little blues touch and once you’ve got that, you’re home.” Les was involved in John Barry’s hit records Walk – Don’t Run and Hit and Miss, and he was the second pianist on Russ Conway’s Pepe (1961). The John Barry Seven recorded and toured with the pop star Adam Faith, who was best man at Les’ wedding to June Williams in 1960.

In 1962, Les left Barry and joined Piccadilly Records, a new subsidiary of Pye. He arranged hit records for Joe Brown and Emile Ford and almost had a hit himself in 1963 by rocking up Mozart in Minuet Mash by the Les Reed Combo.

His first successful composition was the chirpy Tell Me When, written with Geoff Stephens for the beat group the Applejacks, on Decca in 1964. Mills, a singer and songwriter in the musical trio, The Viscounts, had then recently signed Tom Jones to a management contract, having heard him sing in a working men’s club in Wales. He asked Les to complete and arrange a song he had begun writing, It’s Not Unusual. It became Jones’s first No 1, in 1965.

Les arranged You’ve Got Your Troubles for the Fortunes, a No 2 in 1965, and wrote his first hit with Mason with the follow-up, Here It Comes Again. He added polish to arrangements for the Dave Clark Five, and with Mason wrote Everybody Knows, a No 2 hit for them in 1967.

Les got the idea for another hit when he was talking to a friend, Tony Phillips, about how his (not very busy) acting career was going. Phillips told him, “There’s a kind of hush all over the world.” “Can I use that?” asked Reed and Phillips replied, “Be my guest.” There’s a Kind of Hush was a hit for Herman’s Hermits in 1967 and an international success for the Carpenters in 1976. Les could simply have lived off the royalties from The Last Waltz, a No 1 for Humperdinck, but he was passionate about music. He enjoyed conducting a Beatles medley for the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1967 so much that he undertook many further orchestral concerts. He conducted for international song festivals and wrote several songs for these events, notably Love Is All, sung by Malcolm Roberts at the 1969 Rio de Janeiro song festival. He hosted a TV series, The International Pop Proms, for Granada in 1976. He was appointed OBE in 1998.

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