The 1976 BBC. show -Part 2- & Arthur Greenslade

Arthur Greenslade was Shirley Bassey’s musical director for all of her wonderful BBC shows.
Below is a programme cover from 1978 that has been signed by Arthur Greenslade.
Additionally a programme from 1973 that contained a biography of Arthur.

(Special thanks to Audrey)

Arthur Greenslade was Shirley Bassey’s musical director from 1971
until the early eighties and accompanied her around the world in her
seventies heyday. He arranged and conducted Shirley Bassey’s live
albums, Live At Carnegie Hall, Live In Japan 1974 and Live In Japan
1977. He provided arrangements for the And I Love You So, Never,
Never, Never, Good Bad But Beautiful, Love Life and Feelings, You Take
My Heart Away and Yesterdays albums.

He described Shirley Bassey as “The most exciting female singer in the
world” which is quite a tribute from one who really knows them all,
and whose musical life began almost at birth. By four he was playing
the piano and in his early teens he was playing semi-professionally
with a band and moved into fully professional status with Cyril
Stapleton’s Band, and those of Vic Lewis, Carl Barriteau and Oscar
Rabin. With the Rabin Band he did a BBC Radio series, ‘Go Man Go’ for
five years.

He had his own band, ‘Arthur Greenslade and the G-Men,’ on the BBC
Radio ‘Saturday Club’ for several years. Around this time he became
interested in the recording side of the music industry and he entered
into the busiest, and most hectic record production era. He played
piano and/or conducted for such stars as Kathy Kirby, Dusty
Springfield, Engelbert Humperdink, Tom Jones, Diana Ross,
Johnny Mathis and Dionne Warwick.

Wide ranging in his abilities, he moved from playing to arranging and
conducting for records, television and films, again with top stars.
Some of best known records he arranged and conducted include Chris
Farlowe’s ‘Out Of Time,’ The Bachelors’ ‘I Believe,’ and Gainsbourg
and Jane Birkin’s ‘Je t’aime,’ not forgetting his extensive work with
Shirley Bassey.

Before spending ten years with Shirley he was musical director for
Engelbert Humperdink for five years. His work with Rod McKuen included
the film scores for ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,’ ‘Scandalous’ and
‘Joanna.’ He also arranged and conducted for Rock Hudson, Bill Cosby
and Brigitte Bardot. He was musical director for many television shows
including Shirley’s seventies series and shows for Engelbert
Humperdink and Jack Jones among others. He conducted four Royal
Command Performances and conducted for the London Philharmonic
Orchestra. In America he conducted orchestras at Carnegie Hall and the
Hollywood Bowl.

Arthur visited Australia for the first time as musical director for
Rod McKuen and immediately fell in love with the people and the
country, so much so, he made Australia his home. Down under he still
continued working actively with music and had a close association with
Tommy Tycho and old friends Jackie Trent and Tony Hatch. It was in a
hospital in Sydney that he passed away in the early hours of November
27 2003, following a massive heart attack.

Rod McKuen describes Arthur as a “father, brother, collaborator and
most of all my friend” and pays tribute to him in a special article
written on the Rod McKuen website. He talks of how he was forced (much
against his will!) to share the Maestro with Shirley Bassey and
Engelbert Humperdink and describes his lasting legacy as “a rich life
of music making that has delighted his friends and many millions of
people around the world who only came to know him through his music.”

6 thoughts on “The 1976 BBC. show -Part 2- & Arthur Greenslade”

  1. Arthur Greenslade was a great asset to the musical life here in Australia and is sadly missed by all of the musicians who had the opportunity to work with him.

    He was a great musician, arranger and a true gentleman

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  2. Dear Pieter, thank you so much for this series. I actually have this on DVD. But to to friends who not have other access, I thank you. As to Arthur Greenslade, I did not know he was from my home town. What comes around, comes around. Jill

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  3. Hi Pieter.

    Happy 2011.

    Thanks for continually posting some great info on my grandfather!!! I look forward to seeing and reading more. I do still have to send you some other photos!

    -KEN – Gday mate, hope you are well. Im visiting sydney later this year, maybe catch you then!

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  4. ……..Arthur was my godfather, he emigrated to Australia when I was very young but I remember him very well. I often cycle past the house he once owned in Kent and think how amazing one day it would be to buy it……..I can only dream of the magical parties that must have taken place there back in the day.

    He was best friends with my grandad and my best memory of him was when he came back from Australia to visit family and he came into Sainsbury’s (where I worked as a school kid) and came up to me (I was busy stacking shelves so wasn’t really looking – and he had no idea it was his godson) and asked where the vegimite was! I looked up and I think we both had quite a shock but a great memory!

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  5. My Mum was an occasional singer with the band in which Arthur Greenslade (nicknamed “Harpic” I believe!) played when very young. They used to play in a cinema in Gravesend and other local venues. Tony Sunderland was another of the band members at the time. I have a black and white photo postcard of the band, including Arthur on piano and my mum as vocalist. Little is said about this time in his career in any of the on-line biographies I have read and my 87 year old mum has only faded memories of this period in her life. I’d love to find out more!

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