David Whitaker (composer)

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David Whitaker
Birth nameDavid Sinclair Whitaker
Also known asDavid Whittaker
Born(1931-01-06)6 January 1931
Surrey, England
Died11 January 2012(2012-01-11) (aged 81)
Oxfordshire, England
Occupation(s)Composer, songwriter, arranger, conductor
Years active1968–2011

David Sinclair Whitaker (6 January 1931 – 11 January 2012) [1] was an English composer, songwriter, arranger, and conductor who was most active in the 1960s and 1970s. [2]


Musical works

Whitaker, who was born in Kingston upon Thames, collaborated with many prestigious British and French artists including Air, Etienne Daho, Marianne Faithfull, Claude François, Serge Gainsbourg, France Gall, Johnny Hallyday, The Rolling Stones, Jimmy Page (for the soundtrack to Death Wish II), Saint Etienne, Simply Red and Sylvie Vartan, and other international artists including Lee Hazlewood, Kings of Convenience and Francesco De Gregori. [2]

Whitaker recorded several sessions with the BBC Radio Orchestra at the Maida Vale Studios, London, in the early 1980s, featuring a mixture of his own compositions and arrangements, to high acclaim.

In 1992, David Whitaker (along with Adrian Burch), arranged and produced a recording of the Buddy Holly hit "Heartbeat" with vocals performed by actor/singer Nick Berry. It was to be used as the title theme for popular ITV drama series Heartbeat , which also starred Berry. The single was released in 1992 and reached number 2 on the U.K. chart. It was used on every episode of the series until its cancellation in 2010. David and Adrian also composed incidental music for many episodes, although with an increase in the number of episodes produced per year and the reduction in production time per episode, episodes later began to be heavily scored with sections of 1960s pop songs.

Alongside his other collaborations, David Whitaker recorded many interpretations of songs for albums released by Reader's Digest. They were usually credited to David Whitaker And His Orchestra.

Work with Shel Talmy

Shel Talmy was a major record producer with whom Whitaker collaborated. Talmy used Whitaker as arranger and orchestra leader extensively on his sessions from 1965 through to the 1970s, which included singles released on Talmy's Planet label.

Talmy produced Music To Spy By, the 1966 David Whitaker Orchestra album for CBS, composed of Whitaker originals.

He also produced the albums And A Touch Of Love by Bill Davies, and The Revolutionary Piano of Nicky Hopkins, for which Whitaker did the arrangements.

Whitaker was also the arranger on the Talmy-produced fortieth birthday by Lee Hazlewood, Forty.

Talmy was also involved with several of the film soundtracks that Whitaker composed, and was the musical director on the film, Scream And Scream Again, starring Vincent Price and Christopher Lee.

Selected film scores



  1. The Andrew Oldham Orchestra
    The Last Time
    (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) Westminster Music / ABKCO Music, Inc. (BMI)
    (P) 1967 Immediate Records, lnc
  2. Long Chris
    La Petite fille de l’hiver
    (Éric Demarsan, Long Chris) Ed. Tulsa
    (P) 1967 Philips
  3. OST Run Wild, Run Free
    Philip’s Triumph
    (David Whitaker) Screen Gems-Columbia, BMI
    (P) 1969 SGC
  4. Music To Spy By
    Strange Affair
    (David Whitaker)
    (P) 1965 CBS
  5. Nico
    I‘m Not Saying
    (Gordon Lightfoot) Chelsea Music Publishing
    (P) 1965 Andrew Loog Oldham Production
  6. Music to spy by
    Alive at Last
    (David Whitaker)
    (P) 1965 CBS
  7. OST Run Wild, Run Free
    A Ride on the White Colt
    (David Whitaker) Screen Gems-Columbia, BMI
    (P) 1969 SGC
  8. Lee Hazlewood
    What’s More I Don’t Need Her
    (Lee Hazlewood) Lee Hazlewood Music, Corp
    (P) 1970 Lee Hazlewood Music, Corp
  9. David Whitaker
    (David Whitaker)
    (P) 1974 Reserved rights
  10. David Whitaker
    (David Whitaker)
    (P) 1974 Reserved rights
  11. OST Run Wild, Run Free
    Philip on the Moors
    (David Whitaker) Screen Gems-Columbia, BMI
    (P) 1969 SGC
  12. OST Run Wild, Run Free
    Philip Grows Up
    (David Whitaker) Screen Gems-Columbia, BMI
    (P) 1969 SGC
  13. OST Hammerhead
    Hood Explore The Triton
    (David Whitaker) Screen Gems-Columbia, BMI
    (P) 1968 Colgems Records, lnc
  14. Music To Spy By
    (David Whitaker)
    (P) 1965 SGC
  15. France Gall
    Chanson Indienne (Indian Song)
    (lyrics: Robert Gall; music: David Whitaker) Ed. Sidonie
    (P) 1968 Philips
  16. OST Harry un ami qui vous veut du bien
    L’Autoroute des vacances
    (David Whitaker) Ed. Diaphana / BMG Music Pub.
    (P) 2000 Diaphana / Source
  17. Marianne Faithfull
    Plaisir d'Amour
    (Public domain)
    (P) 1965 Andrew Loog Oldham Production
  18. Music To Spy By
    (David Whitaker)
    (P) 1965 SGC
  19. Music To Spy By
    Mr Mouthpiece
    (David Whitaker)
    (P) 1965 SGC
  20. Air
    Remember (David Whitaker version)
    (Nicolas Godin, Jean-Benoît Dunckel) Ed. Revolvair
    (P) 1998 Source
  21. David Whitaker
    (David Whitaker)
    (P) 1973 Reserved rights



Whitaker died on 11 January 2012. [1]

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  1. 1 2 "David Whitaker". dailytelegraph.co.uk. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  2. 1 2 Conte, Christophe (16 January 2012). "David Whitaker: mort d'un arrangeur de génie" (in French). Les Inrockuptibles. Archived from the original on 19 January 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  3. "Awards: David Whitaker". AMG . Retrieved 7 May 2010.