Remembering Matt Monro

When you’ve been blogging for almost four years and the post you’re working on will be your 688th, I guess it’s not surprising if you find yourself thinking; haven’t I written about this guy before?

That thought flitted through my mind as I began to put together a tribute to British singer Matt Monro. After all, crooners are one of my favorite subjects, and Monro certainly qualifies — just ask any of his fans. But had I already covered him?

My Swiss cheese memory wasn’t much help because it seems to grow a few extra holes at the worst possible times. Thankfully, the ‘search’ function on the GMC works pretty well, and it told me that Matt Monro has not been the subject of a previous post.

Born as Terrence Edward Parsons in London, Monro grew up determined to forge a musical career, but he filled a few other jobs first. In fact, that early period helped give him one of his nicknames — ‘the singing bus driver’. But by the mid-Fifties, he’d managed to get some career traction by working his way up from singing TV commercials to appearing as a band singer with Cyril Stapleton and the BBC orchestra.

Before long, Monro had signed a recording contract with Decca and he was on his way. For much of the next three decades he was a favorite of many British fans and also found some success among the American record-buying public. Among his biggest hits were “My Kind Of Girl,” and “Softly As I Leave You,” but he’s also remembered for his recording of the theme song from the James Bond movie, From Russia With Love. (Video below.)

Although a few critics relegated him to the second tier of crooners, most appreciated his warm baritone and intimate singing style. He always had a strong fan base, and enjoyed performing for them right up until his death from cancer in 1985.

5 thoughts on “Remembering Matt Monro

  1. My favorite by him by far was “Softly As I Leave You,” which I just looked up and saw came out in ’62, making me 16. It was a pretty and interesting song, switching keys around as it did, that always stuck with me. Thanks for the memory–and had no idea he’d died so long ago (1985!).

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  2. Thanks for that link. I was surprised at all the death references in the comments–someone leaving a loved one on their death bed in order to avoid saying a final farewell. Never struck me that way…just someone who has fallen out of love after a long time together–a la By the Time I Get To Phoenix….

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  3. I always liked Matt Munro. I thought he probably should have enjoyed more popularity than he did, but because he was not particularly flashy he seemed to languish among the second tier of crooners. It may also have been because he was British and came along at a time before British musicians were the rage. I enjoy your site. We Geezers have to stick together.

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