Arthur Greenslade

The Blog team wishes everybody a wonderful 2019!

Our first item this year is about Arthur Greenslade who was Shirley Bassey’s  musical director for all of her wonderful BBC shows and musical director from 1971 until the early eighties.
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.”

make the world a llittle younger - centre

6 thoughts on “Arthur Greenslade”

  1. This is a very interesting article and a justified homage to an eventful, very creative and friendly personality! In the past I have visited a number of Shirley’s concerts where Arthur was the conductor and so much more, the great man behind Shirley! Thank you Pieter that through this blog you have put this great man in the spotlight!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Arthur Greenslade cherished Shirley’s talent. During their working period he adored her artistry. I was privileged to have not only watched Shirley perform on stage several times but also have seen her rehearse with Mr Greenslade. I witnessed then such a quiet, relaxed man. He was always ever so nice to her, put her at ease: Yes dahling, wonderful dahling, yes Shirl, love ya, Shirl!
    She however could be very intimidating and even rude towards him during rehearsals. When she went too far she often blew him a kiss to say sorry.
    Once upon a star….

    Liked by 3 people

    1. THAT IS Shirley, she is not what people see on stage, many of her past staff, will relate similar stories, if asked. She changes mood, for no apparent reason, Sergio Novak once relayed, but onstage, completely professional! Saying that, she was always lovely to me, everytime that I met her, but then again, I am a fan and not staff, or a friend!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I Cannot understand why my comment I sent at roughly 4AM on the 3rd
    January does not seem to be here , I have had this PROBLEM Before
    My best wishes to everyone for the NEW YEAR 2019,

    Dennis [ Jersey C.I ]

    Liked by 3 people

  4. So true, GG!
    She truly is a pro and that is a great virtue in her trade!
    Like all real stars she is supposed to be moody and difficult. You cannot expect one to be a normal person in life when the thing you hear 24/7 is how wonderful and fantastic you are. You come to believe that too.
    I was always fascinated to see how sure Shirley became once on stage. And how shy and insecure when off.
    To have seen so obvious such a change was always a thrill to experience.
    In later years I believe she became more controlled and relaxed.
    But to work with her was always a big challenge to start with. A pity it was that her self-made temperament travelled so much further ahead before her own personality.

    Liked by 1 person

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