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Tony Hatch

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Birth name
Anthony Peter Hatch

Tony Hatch

Years active


Composer ·

Tony Hatch httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumb6

Also known as
Fred Nightingale, Mark Anthony

30 June 1939 (age 85) (

Composer, songwriter, pianist, music arranger , producer

Maggie Clough (m. 2005), Jackie Trent (m. 1967–2002)

Side Saddle, Golden Hits, Perry Mason

Tony Hatch - Call Me

Tony Hatch live TV Themes - Crossroads, Emmerdale, Mr & Mrs, Neighbours..

Anthony Peter Hatch (born 30 June 1939), credited as pen name Tony Hatch, Fred Nightingale and Mark Anthony, is an English composer for musical theatre and television. He is also a noted songwriter, pianist, arranger and producer.


Early life and early career

Hatch was born in Pinner, Middlesex. Encouraged by his musical abilities, his mother – also a pianist – enrolled him in the London Choir School in Wansunt Road, Bexley, Kent when he was 10. Instead of continuing at the Royal Academy of Music, he left school in 1955 and found a job with Robert Mellin Music in London's Tin Pan Alley.

Not long after working as a tea boy, he was writing songs and making a name for himself within the recording industry, joining The Rank Organisation's new subsidiary Top Rank Records; there he worked for future Decca Records A&R man Dick Rowe. While he served his National Service, he became involved with the Band of the Coldstream Guards.

On his return in 1959, Hatch began producing Top Rank artists such as Bert Weedon, the then unknown Adam Faith ("Ah, Poor Little Baby"), Josh MacRae (together with MacRae's early recordings with Scottish folk trio The Reivers), Jackie Dennis, Carry On comedy actor Kenneth Connor, and The Knightsbridge Strings, and started his own recording career with a cover version of Russ Conway's piano instrumental "Side Saddle".

In 1960, Garry Mills's (trumpeter Nat Gonella's nephew) recording of Hatch's composition "Look For A Star", featured in the film Circus of Horrors, became a Top Ten hit in the UK for Top Rank. Four versions of the song charted simultaneously in the United States, including Mills' original and a version by 'Garry Miles' (a recording alias of future member of The Crickets, Buzz Cason). Top Rank, despite some worldwide success with artists such as Jack Scott and The Fireballs, ultimately failed because of an unusual distribution arrangement with EMI.

A swift succession of events ensued through 1961 that Top Rank was sold to EMI, briefly operated as a subsidiary, with hits by John Leyton, and shuttered, with its artists transferred to other EMI labels. Hatch moved on to a part-time job with Pye Records, where he assisted his new mentor, Alan A. Freeman, with the recording of "Sailor", a number 1 hit for Petula Clark.

Hatch continued to write songs for Pye artists, sometimes under the pseudonym 'Mark Anthony', including the popular "Messing About on the River" for Josh MacRae. In 1963, Philadelphia teen idol Bobby Rydell hit the charts with "Forget Him" written and produced by Hatch, who went on to produce, arrange and write for other American stars such as Chubby Checker, Connie Francis, Pat Boone, Big Dee Irwin and Keely Smith. In 1964 he wrote (under the pseudonym of 'Fred Nightingale') the Searchers' hit "Sugar and Spice".

While at Pye, he produced many of their artists: the Searchers, David Bowie, Mark Wynter, the Settlers, the Viscounts, Julie Grant, Gary Miller, Benny Hill, The Overlanders, Roy Budd, the Brook Brothers, Jimmy Justice, the Montanas, Miki & Griff, Emile Ford, Craig Douglas, Bruce Forsyth, Sue Nicholls, the Breakaways, Norman Vaughan, Buddy Greco, Sacha Distel, Anne Shelton, Sweet Sensation, David Parton, and Graduate among others.

His production of The Searchers' entire Pye catalog was significant in that nearly every song was issued in true stereo. The only other UK chart acts with so much stereo was George Martin producing The Beatles and Ron Richards producing The Hollies (although a handful of early Hollies albums were initially only issued in mono).

Hatch also recorded various lounge style albums with his orchestra; he also made solo piano recordings and some tracks as a vocalist.

Collaboration with Petula Clark

After "Valentino", the first of Hatch's compositions to be recorded by Petula Clark, he became her regular producer. They collaborated on a series of French language recordings for Vogue Records. (Clark, whose husband was French and who spoke the language fluently, had a successful career throughout Europe.) Hatch became one of her regular songwriting partners, in addition to supplying English lyrics for songs she had composed with French lyricists.

In 1964, Hatch made his first trip to New York City in search of new material for Clark. The visit inspired him to write "Downtown", originally with The Drifters in mind. When Clark heard the still unfinished tune, she told him that if he could write lyrics to match the quality of the music, she would record the song as her next single. Its release transformed her into a huge international star, topping charts globally early in 1965, and introducing her to the US market. The year also yielded the remarkable series of hits "I Know a Place", "You'd Better Come Home", and "Round Every Corner" for Clark. She and Hatch wrote "You're The One", which became a major hit for The Vogues. Tony Hatch and Petula Clark became established as the British equivalent of Burt Bacharach and Dionne Warwick. In 1965 Hatch's first album under his own name was released. The Downtown Sound of Tony Hatch, features instrumental versions of some of his best known songs, along with new compositions.

The song "Call Me", written for and recorded by Petula Clark in 1965, was recorded by Chris Montez later in the year. Released in November 1965, Montez's version entered the US Easy Listening Top 40 in Billboard that December, and the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1966, peaking that March on the Easy Listening chart at #2 and on the Hot 100 at #22.

Petula Clark's run of hits continued with "My Love", "A Sign of the Times", "Who Am I?", "Colour My World", and "I Couldn't Live Without Your Love". Hatch also wrote Clark's 1967 hits "Don't Sleep in the Subway" and "The Other Man's Grass Is Always Greener" all written with his wife and co-writer Jackie Trent.

Collaboration with Jackie Trent and later career

In 1964, Hatch was hired to write his first television theme, for the soap opera Crossroads. It would become one of his best-known compositions, and has the distinction of being re-worked by Paul McCartney and Wings. He would continue to write television themes throughout the 60s, including the themes to Man Alive, the cult series The Champions, the crime anthology series Who-Dun-It, and The Doctors. When asked to write a song to be featured in the Inspector Rose series, It's Dark Outside, he supplied "Where Are You Now??", with lyrics and vocals by a recently acquired Pye artist, Jackie Trent. The song immediately clicked with the public and shot to number 1 in the charts.

Though still married to his first wife, Hatch began an affair with Jackie Trent, who had become a frequent songwriting collaborator. This ongoing affair was the inspiration for the song "I Couldn't Live Without Your Love".

Hatch and Trent were married in 1966. Their duet "The Two Of Us" topped the Australian charts and created a demand for concert and cabaret performances earning the duo the nickname of "Mr & Mrs Music". The couple also wrote the song "Joanna", a hit for Scott Walker. One of their more unusual collaborations was the song "We'll Be With You" written for Stoke City Football Club in the club's successful run for the League Cup in 1972. The song featured the team and supporters and was recorded at the supporters club using PYE Records mobile studio. The song is still sung by fans as the team runs out on matchdays.

During the 1970s, Hatch and Trent diversified into musical theatre. Their first project, The Card, based on Arnold Bennett's novel, with book by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall, ran in London's West End with Jim Dale and Millicent Martin in the lead roles. (Coincidentally, Petula Clark had starred in the 1952 film version with Alec Guinness.) An original cast album was released in 1975. A rewritten version of the show, starring Peter Duncan and Hayley Mills, played the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in the 1990s and spawned a new cast album. The second Hatch/Trent musical was Rock Nativity, with book and lyrics by David Wood. Initiated and produced by Cameron Mackintosh, it first played in Newcastle. An updated version of the show toured nationally in 1976 and was broadcast nationally by Scottish TV. A full-length concert version was recorded at the Cork Opera House for the Irish television state broadcaster RTÉ. In 1972, he composed the original theme to Emmerdale Farm, as well as the themes to Hadleigh and Sportsnight. During the 1970s Hatch was also a regular panellist on the talent show New Faces where his blunt style of assessing the contestants has proved to be a forerunner of approaches to come in later, similar series.

After completing the music score to the movie Sweeney 2 in 1978, Hatch and Trent moved to Dublin, where they remained for four years, hosting their own TV series, Words And Music and It's A Musical World. Hatch continued to produce hit TV themes for series such as Seagull Island and Airline before moving to Australia in 1982. While there, the couple wrote one of their most famous compositions, the theme for the TV soap opera Neighbours. They separated in 1995, and divorced in 2002. Trent died on 21 March 2015 in Menorca after a long illness.

Other recent events

Hatch made a guest appearance on Graham Fellows's radio show, The Shuttleworths in 1994.

In 2003, a disco remix of the original recording of "Downtown" was released in Australia by The OUTpsiDER with the blessing of both Hatch and Clark and became a hit. A souvenir CD box set of six of Hatch's albums (four from the 1960s and two from the 1970s – including one with Jackie Trent), all in replicas of their original covers, was released in 2005.

In 2010, the song "Push a Little Button", written by Hatch and performed by his 15-year-old sister Ninette, and released on the Pye Records label in 1966, was used as the soundtrack for a campaign by UK TV Licensing, promoting the availability of online methods of paying the UK TV licence which funds the BBC. Hatch performed at the Hackney Empire on 9 September 2012, for a Grand Order of Water Rats evening - 'The Golden Years of Variety'. At the piano he played the theme tunes of Emmerdale Farm, Neighbours, and Crossroads and encouraged a sing-along to "Downtown".

On 13 June 2013, Hatch was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, at a ceremony held at the New York Marriott Marquis. He was accompanied by his wife, Maggie.

More recently Tony has returned to the public eye, performing in October 2016 at the inaugural Variety Hall of Fame Awards, with Petula Clark, launching a new look website at and hosting "As Heard on TV" on BBC Radio 2 on 1st November 2016.

Family life

Hatch has two daughters from his first marriage to Jean, as well as a son and daughter from his marriage to Jackie Trent. He now lives in Menorca, Spain, with his third wife, Maggie.

Film and television

  • 1962: Stork Talk (Film)
  • 1964: Crossroads (TV)
  • 1965: Man Alive (TV)
  • 1968: The Champions (TV)
  • 1969: Who-Dun-It (TV)
  • 1969: The Doctors (TV)
  • 1972: Travels with My Aunt (Film)
  • 1972: Emmerdale Farm (TV)
  • 1972: Mr & Mrs (TV)
  • 1973: Hadleigh (TV)
  • 1973: Love Story (TV)
  • 1973: Sportsnight (TV)
  • 1977: Backs to the Land (TV)
  • 1978: Sweeney 2 (Film)
  • 1981: Seagull Island (TV)
  • 1982: Airline (TV)
  • 1983: Waterloo Station (TV)
  • 1985: Neighbours (TV)
  • References

    Tony Hatch Wikipedia

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