Matt Monro

A smooth crooner who specialised in singing sentimental standards, Londoner Matt Monro was often described as the UK's answer to great American singers like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. He was working as a bus driver when he got his big break on the BBC programme Show Band and gained a big following singing with pianist Winifred Atwell. He released his first LP of standards, Blue and Sentimental, in 1957 and recorded covers of American hits. It was after teaming up with producer George Martin at EMI, however, that he enjoyed his greatest success, reaching Number 3 in the UK chart with Portrait Of My Life. Hits in the early 1960s included My Kind Of Girl, Softly As I Leave You and the James Bond movie theme tune From Russia With Love. He was runner-up representing Britain in the 1964 Eurovision Song Contest with I Love The Little Things and withstood the advance of the beat era by covering The Beatles' Yesterday and having a massive hit with another movie theme, Born Free, which effectively became his signature tune. He also had American hits with My Kind Of Girl and Walk Away and remained popular until his death from liver cancer in 1985. His relaxed vocal style is often cited as an influence on many artists from Karen Carpenter to Michael Buble.

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