Leslie Bricusse is an internationally recognised songwriter who has received two Oscars (with an additional eight nominations), a Grammy Award (out of a total of nine nominations), four Tony Award nominations and eight prestigious Ivor Novello awards. His career spans over 50 years and is still thriving today. It was Edward Kassner who gave Bricusse his first break, however, in 1955 with a deal which brought the 1956 film Charley Moon and Bricusse’s earliest musical to achieve a West End run, 1958’s Lady At The Wheel, to the Kassner Music catalogue.
Although not huge successes in themselves, both Charley Moon and Lady at the Wheel featured songs that, through the endeavours of the Kassner Music team, would go on to better things. Taken from Charley Moon, the song “Out of Town” became a U.K. Top 20 hit for Max Bygraves and earned Bricusse his first Ivor Novello Award. It later became the theme tune for the ITV programme of the same name, which would run throughout the 1960s and 70s. “Love Is”, “Siesta” and “Wish I Knew”, all from Lady At The Wheel, enjoyed recordings by a number of British artists of the era ranging from the likes of Alma Cogan and Dickie Valentine to The Beverley Sisters and Spike Milligan.
Soon after these initial achievements, Bricusse began a writing partnership with Anthony Newley on the stage show Stop The World I Want To Get Off, the success of which took his profile to new levels. Bricusse has been an established composer for stage and film ever since. Career highlights include themes for the James Bond classics Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice and each of the works that brought him Academy Awards, the song “Talk to the Animals” from the film Dr Dolittle in 1967 and the score for the film Victor/Victoria in 1982.
AMERICAN SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME
When Leslie Bricusse was inducted into the American Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1989, he was only the fourth Englishman – behind Noel Coward, John Lennon and Paul McCartney – to be so honoured. Later that year he was also presented with a Kennedy Award for consistent excellence in British songwriting by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. These honours are due recognition for one of Britain’s most decorated songwriters.
Stop the World – I Want to Get Off (1961)
Doctor Dolittle (1967)
Sweet November (1968)
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Peter Pan (1976)
Sherlock Holmes: The Musical (1989)
Jekyll & Hyde (1990)