Philip Green (19 July 1911 – 6 October 1982), sometimes credited as Harry Philip Green or Phil Green, was a British film and television composer and conductor, and also a pianist and accordion player. He made his name in the 1930s playing in and conducting dance bands, performed with leading classical musicians, went on to score up to 150 films, wrote radio and television theme tunes and library music, and finally turned to church music at the end of his life in Ireland, a song from which proved so popular that it reached No 3 in the Irish charts in 1973.
Green was born on 19 July 1911 in Whitechapel, London. His father was Philip Green, a boot clicker, and his mother was Elizabeth Vogel.He began learning the piano at the age of seven, and went on to study at Trinity College of Music in London, aged just 13. After college he played in various orchestras, and then became conductor at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London. He signed as a recording artist to EMI in 1933 at the age of 21 and continued to record for them throughout his lifetime. Green conducted large orchestras and played piano and accordion in small bands across Europe. One of the small bands, put together for recording purposes, was the Ballyhooigans, using a line up of clarinet, two pianos, guitar, base and drums, which played in a "near-Dixieland" style. Between 1935 and 1939 became well known for his Radio Luxembourg programmes, which were broadcast to Britain.
During the war Green regularly conducted for BBC broadcasts with various orchestras, on programmes such as Salute to Rhythm,and Band Call. In these programmes he first introduced stars such stars as Dorothy Carless (1916-2012), Monte Ray (1900-1982) and Beryl Davis to British listeners. One of his bands during this period featured a remarkable set of players from the classical music world: Green himself on accordion, Arthur Gleghorn (flute), Leon Goossens (oboe), Reginald Kell (clarinet), Victor Watson (double bass), Jack Collings (percussion), and Denis Gomm, piano - all members of the BBC Salon Orchestra at the time. He also became house arranger and conductor for Decca and accompanied many of their vocalists such as Gracie Fields, Donald Peers and Anne Shelton.
Green's first credited film work was on 1943's The Sky's the Limit , but his first notable success came with The Magic Bow (1946), a musical based on the life and loves of the Italian violinist and composer Niccolò Paganini.The 'Romance' from that film, as played by Yehudi Menuhin, and later taken up by Max Jaffa, became a great hit. He was appointed resident musical director of the Rank Organisation.
Green composed more than 150 film scores, including The Yellow Balloon (1952), Carry On Admiral (1957), The Square Peg (1958, together with several other Norman Wisdom films), The League of Gentlemen (1960), the theme song for The Shakedown , (sung by Kathy Kirby), Victim (1961), The Singer Not the Song (1961), and The Intelligence Men (1965). His themes for John and Julie (1954) and The March Hare (1956) both won Ivor Novello Awards.He also composed the themes for the 1960s ATV television crime series Ghost Squad and Sergeant Cork . Green made two cameo appearances in films that he worked on: as a bandleader in It Happened One Sunday (1944); and again as a bandleader in The Dream Maker (1963).
Like many composers of film music, Green also composed and arranged light orchestral concert works and wrote prolifically for production music libraries. As a result, a number of his compositions are familiar through their use in radio and television programmes. They include pieces such as Cuban Suite and Cocktail Hat Suite, and single movement pieces such as Follow Me Around and White Orchids.Shopping Centre was used as the theme for the 1936 BBC television programme Picture Page, and was released commercially by Charles Williams in the 1930s. Horse Feathers was used as the theme tune for the BBC radio series Meet the Huggetts, (1953-1961).
Other pieces were written under pseudonyms, such as Ecstasy by Jose Belmont or Frenesi by Don Felipe.A number of his production music pieces were used in Night of the Living Dead , Looney Tunes theatrical shorts (such as in 1958 when the musicians were on strike, or later added as part of TV prints for Freudy Cat ). His stock music continues to be used in modern shows such as The Ren and Stimpy Show , The World's Greatest Magic and SpongeBob SquarePants .
Philip Scowcroft remembers some stage music, including a children's musical Noddy in Toyland, a revue Fancy Free and an ice show, Wildfire, as well as some songs that achieved popularity in the early 1950s, such as 'Let's Go to the Pictures' and 'Love Is Like An April Shower'.
Green continued to compose and conduct for film and television, including the theme tune for The Golden Shot (1967), and to issue light orchestral music recordings until his retirement in 1966.Along with his wife, he established the Philip and Dorothy Green Music Trust to help young musicians and composers.
While living in Ireland, he became interested in church music, and composed a full-scale St Patrick's Mass, which was recorded by the Trinity Chorale in 1971 with the composer conducting.It was followed a year later by the Mass of St. Francis of Assisi. This was recorded with the Cork Children's Choir and the Scottish tenor/celebrant Canon Sydney MacEwan and released in November 1972. The song "Suffer Little Children" from the Mass was released as a single in 1973 and reached No 3 in the Irish charts, remaining in the charts for five months. It is regularly used as a communion hymn in Catholic churches.
Green died in Dublin in 1982 after a long illness, from cerebral metastasis.
Ronald Binge was a British composer and arranger of light music. He arranged many of Mantovani's most famous pieces before composing his own music, which included Elizabethan Serenade and Sailing By.
Ronald Alfred Goodwin was an English composer and conductor known for his film music. He scored over 70 films in a career lasting over fifty years. His most famous works included Where Eagles Dare, Battle of Britain, 633 Squadron, Margaret Rutherford's Miss Marple films, and Frenzy.
Angela Morley was an English composer and conductor who became a familiar household name to BBC Radio listeners in the 1950s. She attributed her entry into composing and arranging largely to the influence and encouragement of the Canadian light music composer Robert Farnon. Morley transitioned in 1972 and thereafter lived openly as a transgender woman. Later in life, she lived in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Morton Gould was an American composer, conductor, arranger, and pianist.
Norman William Paramor, known professionally as Norrie Paramor, was a British record producer, composer, arranger, pianist, bandleader, and orchestral conductor. He is best known for his work with Cliff Richard and the Shadows, both together and separately, steering their early careers and producing and arranging most of their material from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. Paramor was a composer of studio albums, theatrical productions, and film scores.
Robert Joseph FarnonCM was a Canadian-born composer, conductor, musical arranger and trumpet player. As well as being a composer of original works, he was commissioned by film and television producers for theme and incidental music. In later life he composed a number of more serious orchestral works, including three symphonies, and was recognised with four Ivor Novello awards and the Order of Canada.
Thomas Rundle Reilly MBE was a Canadian-born harmonica player, predominantly based in England. He began studying violin at eight and began playing harmonica at aged eleven as a member of his father's band. In the 1940s, he began parallel careers as a concert soloist and recitalist, a popular radio and TV performer, and a studio musician-composer.
Neil Grant Richardson was an English composer and conductor.
Trevor Duncan was an English composer, particularly noted for his light music compositions. Born in London, and largely self-taught, he originally composed as a sideline while working for the BBC. In the UK, he is well known for pieces such as The Girl From Corsica, High Heels and the March from A Little Suite, all of which gained fame as television and radio themes.
Light music is a less-serious form of Western classical music, which originated in the 18th and 19th centuries and continues today. Its heyday was in the mid‑20th century. The style is through-composed, usually shorter orchestral pieces and suites designed to appeal to a wider context and audience than more sophisticated forms such as the concerto, the symphony and the opera.
Stanley Black OBE was an English bandleader, composer, conductor, arranger and pianist. He wrote and arranged many film scores, recording prolifically for the Decca label. Beginning with jazz collaborations with American musicians such as Coleman Hawkins and Benny Carter during the 1930s, he moved into arranging and recording in the Latin American music style and also won awards for his classical conducting.
Charles Williams was a British composer and conductor, contributing music to over 50 films. While his career ran from 1934 through 1968, much of his work came to the big screen as stock music and was therefore uncredited.
Laurence Reginald Ward Johnson, is an English composer and bandleader who has written scores for dozens of film and television series and has been one of the most highly regarded arrangers of instrumental pop and swing music since the 1950s with works often serving as stock production music.
Sidney Torch MBE was a British pianist, cinema organist, conductor, orchestral arranger and a composer of light music.
Brian Michael Fahey was a British musical director, composer and arranger, best known for composing "At the Sign of the Swingin' Cymbal", the signature tune to BBC Radio's long running programme Pick of the Pops. From 1972 he was principal conductor of the BBC Scottish Radio Orchestra, until it was disbanded in 1981.
Leighton Lucas was an English composer and conductor. Born into a musical family, he began his career as a dancer for Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes (1918–21). He became a ballet conductor at 19, and in 1941 became musical director of the Ballet Guild, a wartime company for which he formed first a quintet, later an orchestra. He also worked as an arranger for Jack Hylton's orchestra between c.1926 and 1930.
Robert Sharples, known as Bob Sharples, was a British musical conductor, composer and bandleader, whose work encompassed films and well-known British television programmes in the 1960s and 1970s.
Samuel Alexander "Sandy" Faris was a Northern Irish composer, conductor and writer, known for his television theme tunes, including the theme music for the 1970s TV series Upstairs, Downstairs. He composed and recorded many operas and musicals, and also composed film scores and orchestral works. As a conductor, he was especially known for his revivals of Jacques Offenbach and Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.
Dave Lee is an English jazz pianist, and a former orchestra leader, music arranger, songwriter and film composer.
Dennis Farnon was a Canadian musical arranger, composer and orchestra conductor.