Johnny Harris (musician) is confirmed dead at the age of 87.
Johnny was best known as a Scottish composer and arranger.
Death was likely due to lung cancer.
RIP Johnny Harris (musician) @TheTweetOfGod #TragicDeaths 💔💐 #JohnnyHarris(musician) add some flowers to their gra…
Johnny Harris
Birth nameJohn Stanley Livingstone Harris
Born(1932-09-11)September 11, 1932
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died20 March 2020(2020-03-20) (aged 87)
Palm Springs, California, U.S.
GenresPop, rock, jazz, film music
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, producer, conductor, arranger, band leader, musical director
InstrumentsTrumpet, piano, synthesizer
Years active1964–2020
LabelsPye, Decca, United Artists, Warner Bros.
Associated actsTom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck, Petula Clark, Lulu, Richard Harris, Shirley Bassey, Paul Anka, Lynda Carter
John Stanley Livingstone Harris (September 11, 1932 – March 20, 2020) was a Scottish-born composer, producer, arranger, conductor, and musical director. He lived in the United States from 1972 until his death.
1 The British years (1932–1972)
2 The American years (1972–2020)
3 Selected discography
4 Film/television
5 TV commercials
6 Further reading
7 See also
8 References
9 External links
The British years (1932–1972)
Johnny Harris was born in Edinburgh, Scotland to Welsh parents and was a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music in London. He was originally a trumpet player with the Norman Burns band and big bands led by Vic Lewis, Ken Mackintosh, Cyril Stapleton and then a member of the short-lived beat group The Shubdubs with drummer Jimmie Nicol and organist Roger Coulam. In 1964, he recorded a Beatles cover version album and EP called Beatlemania with Jimmie Nicol which resulted in Nicol replacing the ill Ringo Starr on a worldwide Beatles tour.
He joined Pye Records in 1965 as an arranger and conductor for producer Tony Hatch and his then-wife Jackie Trent. Johnny had an un-credited role as conductor on the Nancy Sinatra In London album and worked with many other artists in the sixties as a staff member at Pye. He worked freelance for many other record labels in Great Britain and Europe and was a regular arranger, conductor, and producer for Petula Clark until she left Pye in 1971.
The first official colour programme on BBC 1 was a concert by Petula Clark with the Johnny Harris Orchestra from the Royal Albert Hall, London, broadcast at midnight on 14/15 November 1969. He arranged, conducted and produced the majority of tracks on the Shirley Bassey albums Something, Something Else, I Capricorn, And I Love You So, Never Never Never and All by Myself and many tracks on sixties Decca Records Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdink albums. Johnny was the musical director for the BBC light entertainment show Happening For Lulu in 1968-69 with the Scottish singer Lulu and conducted her Eurovision Song Contest joint-winner Boom Bang-A-Bang in Madrid, 1969 which led to him gaining a solo record deal with Warner Bros. UK. He was the musical director for the BBC/ZDF co-production Pop Go The Sixties broadcast on BBC 1 on 31 December 1969 and had his own BBC Show Of The Week called Up Tight featuring Georgie Fame and Lulu.
His ground-breaking album Movements was recorded with the best London session musicians in the spring of 1970, was performed live at the Royal Albert Hall and was pressed by Warner's three times in the UK (on orange, green and Burbank labels) and finally reissued on CD by Warner Bros. UK in 2002 with remastered sound, bonus tracks and an in-depth interview with Johnny talking about the album and his long career. Movements and All To Bring You Morning were again released in 2015 as limited edition SHMCD's by Warner Bros. Japan for the Japanese only market (this is the first time Movements and All To Bring You Morning has been issued in Japan). Movements was again out-of-print worldwide in 2017 until a vinyl only release made in Australia came out in November.
Singles released from the album were the space age classic Footprints On The Moon (1969) and the moody suspense theme Fragment Of Fear (1970) from the film of the same name starring David Hemmings. Shirley Bassey recorded a vocal version of his arrangement of The Doors Light My Fire from Movements on her 1970 Something album (issued in the US as the Shirley Bassey Is Really "Something" album) which she still performs today.
Warner Bros. UK also released his Man in the Wilderness film soundtrack (1971) and the sequel to Movements - All To Bring You Morning (1973) before he left for the US to work with Paul Anka.
He composed the scores for several cult British films including Fragment of Fear (1970), Bloomfield (1971, his score was recorded in 1969 featuring Maurice Gibb of The Bee Gees), Man in the Wilderness (1971) and I Want What I Want (1972).
The American years (1972–2020)
Johnny moved to the United States to record and conduct his orchestra in Las Vegas with Paul Anka where Elvis Presley asked him to lead his Vegas band. In 1973, while back in the UK at Advision Studios, he recorded the album All To Bring You Morning, with progressive rock musicians from the group Yes, Jon Anderson on vocals, Steve Howe on guitars and Alan White on drums who happened to be working in the next studio at Advision and asked to be involved in his follow-up album to Movements.
He recorded a string of hit singles with Paul Anka & Odia Coates and continued to work with Paul Anka until 1977 and after that, he wanted to concentrate on scoring for film and television which led to a long-time gig as the musical director for Lynda Carter after he scored the third season of her television series Wonder Woman in 1979. Johnny was Music Director for all 5 of Lynda Carter's Television Variety Specials and toured the world with her for over a decade appearing at the London Palladium, UK on October 4, 1980 to support her debut single for Motown Records The Last Song.
His 1980 Miami disco hit Odyssey (TK Records) featured prominently on popular video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas playing on Bounce FM funk radio, as well as being in the lowrider challenge mission. The song was also featured in the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode "Space Rockers", he originally wrote the song for that episode and arranged the opening Buck Rogers in the 25th Century theme music composed by Stu Phillips. The first 40 seconds of the Buck Rogers main-title theme is an original Johnny Harris composition before Stu's theme starts.
From 1990 to its close, Johnny was the arranger and conductor for The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies at the historic Plaza Theatre in Palm Springs, California.
Johnny Harris - The Man Who Turned Down Elvis Twice is a biography written by his daughter Julie Pearce-Martin published to celebrate his 80th birthday in November 2012.
On 21 and 28 September 2013, Radio Six International broadcast two hour-long shows titled 'The Johnny Harris Story' written, produced and presented by Darren Stuart.
Johnny's original music is still finding a new audience today with his score to the first season of Buck Rogers In The 25th Century released in 2013 and his contemporary Disco score to the third season of Wonder Woman released in 2017.
Johnny continued to work closely with Engelbert Humperdinck. Several of the biggest moments in Engelbert's current show are Johnny’s arrangements, Including "Crazy" and "On Broadway". In 2017 arranged 6 of the songs on Engelbert Humperdinck's recently released album, including the title song: The Man I Want To Be. This album has been nominated for 4 Grammy Awards!
Johnny continued to score independent feature and short films, and web series. He was working on an original album, in collaboration with Robby Krieger in Robby's studio, which proceeds will be donated to the St. Jude's charity. Several guest artists are performing on the album, including singers/performers, Lynda Carter, Engelbert Humperdinck, Son's Richard Harris and Alexander Cardinale, Vincent Cardinale, Emerson Harris, Adam Phalen, Daughter Katie Harris and Son-in-Law, Tom Brayton. In addition, guest players include, Tom Scott, Paul Leim, Lee Thornburg, Kenny Wilde, Robby Krieger, and several other guest players and performers.
Johnny had been fighting lung cancer for four years when he died in March 2020 at the age of 87.
Selected discography
1964 : Beatlemania, The Beatles, pop beat, Top Six Records TSL 1
1966 : The Heart of Bart, Lionel Bart, pop, United Artists Records SULP 1152
1966 : A Handful Of Songs, pop beat, United Artists Records UAS 6607
1966 : The Guitar Workshop - Pop Go The Classics, pop classical, Pye Records NSPL 18165
1970 : Movements, jazz funk, Warner Bros Records WS 3002
1972 : Man In The Wilderness, film score, Warner Bros Records K 46126
1973 : Bloomfield, film score, Pye Records NSPL 18376
1973 : All To Bring You Morning, jazz rock, Warner Bros Records K 46187
2013 : Buck Rogers In The 25th Century - Season One, television score, Intrada Records 255
2017 : Wonder Woman - Season Three, television score, La-La Land Records
2017 : Fragment Of Fear, film score, Orchard Strike Records
1965 : "Mynahg Hop" / "Here Comes the Boot", Mercury Records MF 949
1969 : "Footprints On The Moon" / "Lulu's Theme", Warner Bros Records WB 8000
1970 : "Fragment of Fear" / "Stepping Stones", Warner Bros Records WB 8016
1971 : "Footprints On The Moon" / "Sacha's song" , Lyons Ready Brek Free Record SFI 83
1972 : "Ballad To An Unborn Child" / "Captain Henry's Theme", Warner Bros Records 7541
1973 : "Jubilation" / "Tip Top Theme" arranged & produced by Johnny Harris, w/Bob Skaff, in assoc w/ Paul Anka Prod., United Artists Records
1980 : "Odyssey" (Pt 1) / "Odyssey" (Pt 2), Sunshine Sound Records SSD 4216
1997 : "Stepping Stones Edit" / "Full Circle Mix" / "Try & Touch Mix", EMI Records CDLIC 108
2016 : "Wonder Woman Main Title Season One" / "Wonder Woman Main Title Season Three", La-La Land Records LLLLP 2002
Celebrity Recordings of Harris songs:
1968 : "Why Can'I Cry" / Recorded by Tom Jones, Petula Clark, Ginette Reno, Flora Purim and more.
1973 : "Jubilation" / Recorded by Barbra Streisand, The "Butterfly" Album, October 1, 1974, Columbia Records
1973 : "I'm Not Anyone" / Recorded by Sammy Davis Jr., MGM Records 1973, & The Millennium Collection, The Best Of Sammy Davis Jr., 20th Century Masters
Albums (arranger/producer/musical director)
1966 : Jackie Trent - The Magic Of Jackie Trent, Pye Records NPL 18125
1966 : Petula Clark - My Love, Pye Records NPL 18141
1966 : Petula Clark - I Couldn't Live Without Your Love, Pye Records NPL 18148
1967 : Roy Budd - …is The Sound Of Music, Pye Records NPL 18195
1967 : Paul and Barry Ryan - Two Of A Kind, Decca Records LK 4878
1967 : Tom Jones - Live at The Talk of the Town, Decca Records SKL 4874
1967 : Engelbert Humperdinck - Twelve Great Songs Plus "Release Me", Decca Records SKL 4868
1968 : Engelbert Humperdinck - A Man Without Love, Decca Records SKL 4939
1968 : Tom Jones - Help Yourself, Decca Records SKL 4982
1968 : Tom Jones - Delilah, Decca Records SKL 4946
1969 : Lulu - Lulu's Album, EMI Columbia Records SCX 6365
1969 : Ginette Reno - "Everything That I Am", Decca Records SKL-R 5027
1970 : Shirley Bassey - Something, United Artists Records UAS 29100
1971 : Paul Anka - Jubilation, Buddah Records BDS 5114
1971 : Michael Allen - For The Love Of Mike, Decca Records PS 564
1971 : Shirley Bassey -Something Else, United Artists Records UAS 29149
1971 : Michael Allen - Something Special, MGM Records SE 4762
1971 : Richard Harris - My Boy, Probe Records SPBA 6263
1971 : Petula Clark - Petula '71, Pye Records NSPL 18370
1971 : Udo Jurgens - Udo '71, Ariola Records 80 888 1U
1972 : Richard Harris – "Slides", Probe Records SPBA 6269
1972 : Shirley Bassey - I Capricorn, United Artists Records UAS 29246
1972 : Shirley Bassey -And I Love You So, United Artists Records UAS 29385
1972 : Petula Clark - Live at the Royal Albert Hall, Pye Records NSPL 18391
1973 : Shirley Bassey -Never Never Never, United Artists Records UAS 29471
1974 : Paul Anka - Anka, United Artists Records UA-LA314
1975 : Odia Coates - Odia Coates, United Artists Records UA-LA228-G
1977 : Tom Jones - What A Night, EMI Records EMC 3221
1982 : Shirley Bassey -All by Myself, Applause Records APP 1005
2000 : Shirley Bassey -Shirley Bassey, The Remix Album...Diamonds Are Forever, EMI Records, Ltd.
2000 : Shirley Bassey -Greatest Hits Capital Records,Inc. EMI Records Ltd.
2009 : Lynda Carter - At Last, Potomac Records 4001
2009 : Engelbert Humperdinck - Legacy Of Love, EH Productions, Inc.
2017 : Engelbert Humperdinck - The Man I Want To Be, OK! Good Records OK 90154-2
2016 Exiled Out East (TV series)
2015 Play Date (Short film)
2015 S&M Sally
2015 Come Simi
2005 The Entertainer (TV series)
2004 Star Search (TV series)
2003 Miss America Pageant (TV special)
2003 Dance Fever (TV series)
2001/2002 Next Big Star (TV series)
1997 Still Kicking: The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies (Short film)
1996 Raven Hawk (TV movie)
1996 Frequent Flyer (TV movie)
1994 Guinevere (TV movie)
1994 Thicker Than Blood: The Larry McLinden Story (TV movie)
1994 I Spy Returns (TV movie)
1993 Family Pictures (TV movie)
1993 Lies and Lullabies (TV movie)
1992 Maid for Each Other (TV movie)
1991 Not of This World (TV movie)
1989 Exploring Psychic Powers... Live (TV Special)
1989 Women of the 21st Century (TV Special)
1988 Necessity (TV movie)
1986/1987 Downtown (TV series)
1987 A Different Affair (TV movie)
1986 Funny (TV special)
1986 Can You Feel Me Dancing? (TV movie)
1984 Partners in Crime (TV series)
1984 Salute to Lady Liberty (TV Special)
1984 Courage
1984 Lynda Carter – Body And Soul (TV special)
1982/1983 The Powers of Matthew Star (TV series)
1982 Lynda Carter – Street Life (TV special)
1982 Hotline (TV movie)
1981 Born to Be Sold (TV movie)
1981 Diana Ross – Diana (TV special)
1981 Lynda Carter – Celebration (TV special)
1980 The Last Song (TV movie)
1980 Lynda Carter – Encore! (TV special)
1979/1980 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (TV series)
1979 Hello Berlin (TV Special with Liza Minnelli)
1980 Lynda Carter – Lynda Carter Special (TV special)
1980 Goldie and Liza Together (TV special)
1979 The Lisa Hartman Show (TV special)
1978/1979 Wonder Woman (TV series)
1978 The Evil
1978 The Initiation of Sarah (TV movie)
1977 Shirley MacLaine - Royal Gala Performance, Her Majesty the Queen Silver Jubilee at the London Palladium (TV special)
1977 Paul Anka... Music My Way (TV Special)
1972 I Want What I Want
1971 Petula...and Friends (BBC TV Special)
1971 Man in the Wilderness
1971 Bloomfield
1970 Fragment of Fear
1970 An Evening with Petula – Petula Clark in concert from the Royal Albert Hall Part 2 (BBC TV Special)
1969 Pop Go the Sixties! (BBC TV special)
1969 An Evening with Petula – Petula Clark in concert from the Royal Albert Hall (BBC TV Special)
1969 The Eurovision Song Contest (TV special)
1969 Der Kerl liebt mich - und das soll ich glauben?
1968/1969 Happening for Lulu (BBC TV series)
1968 Lulu's Back in Town (BBC TV series)
1968 BBC Show of the Week – Up Tight! Johnny Harris (BBC TV special)
1964 The System
TV commercials
Levi’s (1997/2000)
Michelob (1985)
Maybelline (1980)
Kodak (1976)
Texaco (1970)
Coca-Cola (1965)
Further reading
Pearce-Martin, Julie (2012). Johnny Harris - The Man Who Turned Down Elvis Twice. Fastprint Publishing.
See also
List of music arrangers
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