Hackney Gazette

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Hackney Gazette

Post by Administrator » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:48 pm

A candid biography about Shoreditch crooner Matt Monro - hailed by Frank Sinatra as one of the best ever male vocalists - has been written by his daughter.

The Singer's Singer: The Life and Music of Matt Monro, celebrates the life of the vocalist who rubbed shoulders with some of the most famous names in show business, recorded the very first James Bond song, represented his country in the Eurovision Song Contest and made a string of global hits including Born Free, Walk Away, From Russia With Love and Softly As I Leave Her.

The book is a four-year labour of love written by his devoted daughter Michele Monro, who wanted to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his death.

Michele traces the life of her father, from an impoverished Shoreditch upbringing as Terry Parsons, to a job as a London bus driver and eventual superstardom as singer Matt Monro.

Michele was inspired to write the book after a near-fatal car crash three years ago: "I had a head-on collision and it was only because I was stationary that I survived.

"It does actually flash through your head - a cheesy comment, but true - my god my son will never know his grandfather."

Michele whose son Max is now 17, decided she was the person best suited to reveal his never-been-told-before story.

She has recorded the highs and lows that shaped his life, delving into her father's long battle with alcoholism, his struggle to come to terms with his past and how he even accidentally killed a man.

Michele was just 25 when she lost her dad aged 54 to liver cancer: "I felt robbed as I think any child would, we were incredibly close, I'm still very cross and I miss him very badly, I do.

"When he first died I wouldn't listen to his songs, but I got into a lift one day and his music was playing and I got such a shock, it was like hearing a ghost," said the 50-year old who lives in Harrow.

"Now of course it's a great comfort and you can't take that away -what I have is immortalised, and I'm passionate about his music and his legacy."

Monro was born and bred in Lever Street, which was in the metropolitan borough of Shoreditch, until borough boundaries were moved in 1965.

The book recounts his impoverished childhood, when as one of five children, Matt's dad died when he was three, and his mother had a break down trying to support the family.

"He had a hard struggle and a lot of heartache in life - he did like a drink, it was his prop-up," said Michele.

In the book she draws on more than two hundred interviews with celebrities including singers Paul McCartney, Shirley Bassey and celebrity friend Jimmy Tarbuck: "Not one person had anything derogatory to say - I was brimming with pride," said Michele.

"It was his talent they were in awe of. Even Michael Jackson, who I knew, loved his voice - the biggest singers all loved daddy.

By Emma Bartholomew
http://www.hackneygazette.co.uk/content ... 3A11%3A050

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Re: Hackney Gazette

Post by Marian » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:58 pm

Good review :D

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Re: Hackney Gazette

Post by lori » Wed May 26, 2010 4:47 am

Wonderful review... I have read the book twice... and now just turn to a page randomly... Did I like the book ? Most impressive book I have ever read.... I was so ready to hear about the life of Matt Monro

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