Tony Hatch started notching up successes as a songwriter in the early ’60s, including Garry Mills’ “Look for a Star.” His most significant role in straight British rock music was as producer during the Searchers’ 1963-66 commercial prime, a span which saw them ring up all of their big hits. The Searchers’ records boasted well-balanced vocal harmonies and melodic guitars, sometimes played on 12-string models, that at their most progressive anticipated the jangle that would become a prime feature of folk-rock. Tony wrote their second British hit single, “Sugar and Spice,” under the pseudonym Fred Nightingale.
Tony left his biggest imprint, however, on the big international hits by Petula Clark in the mid ’60s. These had enough mod swing to sell to a rock audience, but also enough showbizzy horns and theatrical-type piano to bring in older listeners. The arrangements had a grand sweep that recalled stage musicals. In addition to producing, Tony was vital to Petula as a songwriter, supplying, either as sole author or co-writer (sometimes with Clark herself), much of her best material: “Downtown,” “My Love,” “I Know a Place,” “Call Me,” and “A Sign of the Times,” to name just the most celebrated examples, are all his compositions.
Tony had a fair amount of success with a singer-songwriter who somewhat recalled Petula Clark, but who was even more in the mainstream pop realm. Jackie Trent and Tony began writing together, getting a #1 British hit with “Where Are You Now (My Love)” in 1965. The Hatch-Trent songwriting team couldn’t come up with other big British hits for Jackie but did pen some hits for Petula Clark such as “Colour My World” and “Don’t Sleep in the Subway.”
Moody balladeer Scott Walker had a British hit with Hatch-Trent’s “Joanna.” Tony also recorded some duets with Jackie and made some instrumental recordings under his own name, which gathered some belated hipness when they were included on some CD compilations geared toward the lounge revival crowd.
Tony had a small part in David Bowie’s early career, producing three singles in 1966. This was a time at which the young Bowie still in his teens, was still groping for a style, and mixing Tony’s orchestral predilections with whatever Bowie was coming up with was a bit of a mismatch. Tony’s stamp is particularly audible from the best track from Bowie’s brief stay with Pye Records, “Can’t Help Thinking About Me,” which has a piano sound straight out of Petula Clark’s “Downtown.”
A new artist “The OUTpsiDER” who is with Blue Pie has remixed this track which was released through 2003 and 2004 and did very well. In recent times the delightful ” Emma Bunton “ one of the Spice Girls has recorded a super smash cover of Downtown that took the song to the top of the charts again. A remarkable achievment and a great version. You can download these songs from all major retailers.
It was the teaming of Tony and Petula Clark at Pye, however, that really made the magic happen when, in 1964, Tony wrote, arranged and produced the international classic “Downtown” which sold over three million records world wide! Australia’s “The OUTpsiDER” has also completed a new version of the song. Tony deserves a good deal of credit for putting Petula Clark in the international spotlight to begin with. In 1964, Petula was on the verge of giving up on maintaining her stardom in England, in favor of focusing her efforts on France (where she was very big, and often recorded in the French language). Petula came to France to play her some songs to consider recording for the English speaking market. Tony wasn’t able to come up with anything she liked until, out of desperation, he played a composition influenced by American soul, although he didn’t think Clark was a suitable artist for it. This was, of course, “Downtown; ” Clark loved it, recorded it, and her career revived in England, the single also becoming her first American hit reaching No 2 on the Billboard charts at the time.
· Call me
· I know a place
· My love
· You’re the one (written with Petula)
· Where are you now (with co-writer Jackie Trent) This went No #1 in the UK for Jackie in 1965)
· I couldn’t’ live without your love
· Don’t sleep in the subway
· The two of us, (duet with Jackie and #1 in Australia in the late 60’s)
· The other man’s grass is always greener
· Who am I
· A sign of the times
· Colour my world
· Joanna (for Scott Walker)
In the 70’s Tony earned himself the reputation as the on the long running UK version of Australia’s ‘new faces’. (He told it like it is!).
· The Champions
· Travels with my Aunt
· The Sweeney 2
· Neighbours – The Australian TV soap that has never left the airwaves and broadcast in over 40 countries.
Tony’s songs have been featured in over 100 films, countless television productions and have been performed or recorded by such luminaries as, , , , , , , and .
· Rock Nativity (1976)
· The Card , London 1973 and 1994
(whilst living in Sydney) Tony was producer and musical director of Australia’s largest annual live televised festival of Christmas music ‘Carols in the Domain’. Tony has been guest conductor in popular music concerts with the BBC Radio Orchestra, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and major Australian symphony orchestras.
Tony’sinstrumental theme provided the inspiration and original samples for the Pepe deluxe record which became the theme music for the Levi’s jeans commercial and a top twenty hit in 2002.
He is currently recording a new instrumental album and also about to launch a one-man show, featuring his many songs, some new ones and just ‘telling it like it is’. Retired? No way!
Tony has been associated with the, the “Children’s Charity”, since 1982 and was chief barker (president) of the Variety Club of Australia from 1987 – 1990 during which time he produced the 1989 Variety Clubs International convention in Sydney. He has also served as International President and as chief barker of Tent 36, the Variety club of Great Britain.
Tony has lived and worked in the UK, Eire & Australia he now lives in Menorca (Spain) with his wife, Maggie, and commutes regularly to the UK. Tony Hatch has been a valuable loyal supporter of Blue Pie for many years, and we are always grateful for the help. As such, we’re excited to announce that his new fan site is looking fantastic, and is ready to browse! It features news, a shop, a discography, and much much more! If you’re a fan, you owe it to yourself to check it out.
Check out Tony Hatch: www.tonyhatch.net
And The OUTpsiDER: www.outpsider.com