|Freddie Garrity, Matt Monro, and|
Cafe: Matt Monro obviously enjoyed his only major acting role in George Montgomery's film Satan's Harvest. What other film roles was he offered?
|An adventure film|
co-starring Matt Monro.
Cafe: One of our favorite Matt Monro albums is These Years. But Matt wasn't pleased with most of his hastily-produced U.S. albums with Capitol, was he?
Cafe: Bee Gee Maurice Gibb played a key part in getting your father to enter rehab for alcoholism. You wrote that your father never had another drink. Did he stay in touch with Maurice Gibb?
Michele: My father was extremely strong-minded and once he put his mind to something, that was that. He was lucky that he could apply that same mental process after leaving the rehabilitation clinic. Not only did he never touch alcohol again but he never needed the support of an AA group either. Maurice became dad’s sponsor and was instrumental in getting the singer to face his demons. Their friendship carried on but like all show business friendships, hook-ups were difficult as they were reliant on the performers being in the same city at the same time and that didn’t happen very often. But out of sight didn’t mean out of mind and they spoke to each other often over the years. Indeed, Maurice Gibbs gave this quote: "The inimitable vocal style of Matt Monro will never be forgotten. My memories of Matt will remain with me always. Not only a wonderful voice, but a wonderful man."
Cafe: What was Matt's favorite recording? What's your favorite?
My father always used to sing "My Funny Valentine" when my mum was in the audience. It was their song and it was a tragedy that he never came to record it--or that is what I thought. A chance remark from a fan in Hong Kong led me to contact Mood Media asking if they held any Matt Monro tracks in their archives. A list arrived of thirteen tracks. On that list was "My Funny Valentine." The date the email came was 14 February 2011!
|Draft cover from the upcoming album.|
The one song that does hold a special place in my heart is "Michelle." Dad had arranged for me to go to the studios with him. It was my first time and I was hugely excited. I had no idea what he was recording but at the given time George Martin tapped his baton to gain silence from the orchestra, my dad held my hand and started singing to me. It was actually that rendition that was cut and pressed. Moments like that stay with you throughout your life.
Michele: This book was really a labour of love and was written for my son Max. I suffered a near-fatal car crash a few years ago and it struck me that if anything happened to me, my son wouldn't know anything more about his grandfather other than he was a great singer. It upset me that he wouldn't know his origin or roots or what Matt Monro had contributed to the music business so as soon as I was able I started the process. It took three years to do the research and interview more than 200 people. A further year was spent actually writing the book and a further year with publisher re-writes and edits.
Black & white photo is from The Singer’s Singer: The Life and Music of Matt Monro © 2012 Michele Monro. Titan Books provided a review copy to the Classic Film & TV Cafe.