“If I had to choose three of the finest male vocalists in the singing business, Matt would be one of them. His pitch was right on the nose; his word enunciations letter perfect; his understanding of a song thorough.”Frank Sinatra
On 1st December we celebrated what would have been beloved British vocalist Matt Monro’s 90th birthday and commemorated his estimable legacy. Having sold over 150 million records during his 30-year career, Monro was one of the most popular entertainers on the international music scene.
Monro recorded theme songs for several blockbusters including the James Bond film From Russia With Love, British comedy The Italian Job and 1966 drama Born Free. Described as the “king of British easy-listening music” and “the most perfect baritone in the business”, Monro’s appeal is still as prevalent today as it was the 60s, with the recent double CD release ‘Stranger in Paradise – The Lost New York Sessions’ having reached No.8 in the UK Album Charts.
This month also marks the 60th anniversary of one of Monro’s most popular hits, “Portrait of My Love”, written by Cyril Ornadel and David West. The ballad was released on 21st December 1960 and was the singer’s first single, paving the way for Monro to be dubbed as “The Man with the Golden Voice”. Peaking at No.3 in the UK charts following a 16-week run, the song went onto achieve an Ivor Novello award for ‘Outstanding Song of 1960’ and in 1999 it was honoured at the BMI Awards for 2 million radio plays. Kassner Music is proud to represent such an enduring classic.
On behalf of Edizioni Curci Music Publishing, Kassner Music also represents Monro’s UK top 10 version of “Softly as I Leave You” (1962), originally entitled “Piano” and released by Italian singer Mina in 1960. The hit was written by Giorgio Calabrese and Antonio De Vita and caught the attention of British songwriter Hal Shaper who translated the song into English. Since then, it has been covered numerous times by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Doris Day and Shirley Bassey.