A customer called Alan, a doctor from the UK who also enjoys music told me a great story as we got talking about backing tracks and famous singers…
I will tell you a true story. Two young men were in the Army, both good singers and best of friends. They were in Hong Kong together and went to all the singing competitions on the base and in city. One or the other always won.
Eventually they got banned from all the local competitions as no one else got a look in! Their names were Terry Parsons and Neddy Sparkes.
Terry had the chance to sign on for 21 years but said to Ned he was going on extended leave to make his mind up. He drove lorries, then London buses for a while and then got an audition at Abbey Road. He changed his name to Matt Monroe…and the rest they say is history.
He kept telling Ned to join him but Ned never took the chance. Last time Ned saw Matt, Matt was in a London hospital. He showed his best friend Ned a telegramme he had just received. It said from one ol’ crooner to another – get well soon Matt, from Frank Sinatra. Matt was very proud of that.
Unfortunately Matt didn’t get better and died. Ned carried on in the Army and is now long retired – he lives in Nottingham. He phones me about once a month.
If you ever watch the Matt Monroe story on BBC television you will see a part where Matt Monroe is in Hong Hong…the other guy on stage with him is my uncle Neddy.
Best wishes. Keep the music alive!
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What a great story!
I’m a big fan of Matt Monroe (and yes I have seen the Matt Monroe story on TV).
I personanly believe that Matt Monroe and Bobby Darin were both better than Sinatra. Don’t get me wrong, I like Sinatra, I just feel that both Bobby Darin could “swing” better than Sinatra and that Matt Monro had a better feel for a song (and a richer voice) than Sinatra.
I actually sing a Matt Monro medley in my act (If I never sing another song – Born free – Portrait of my love – Walk away – and back in to If I never sing another song to finish). I usually introduce it by saying “I’m going to sing a medley of songs by a man who was better than Sinatra – Matt Monro”.
You’d be amazed how many of the audience agree…