Cliff Adams

b. 21 August 1923, Southwark, London, England, d. 22 October 2001, England. As a boy, Adams was a chorister at St. Mary-le-Bow in east London, but yearned to become involved in popular music. After studying the piano and organ, he played in dance bands before joining the Royal Air Force in World War II, spending three years in Africa. In the late 40s he arranged for several name bands, including Stanley Black and Ted Heath, and in 1949 formed the Stargazers. They became one of the top UK vocal groups of the 50s on radio and records, their hits including the novelties, ‘Close The Door (They’re Coming In The Window)’ and ‘Twenty Tiny Fingers’, plus two UK chart-toppers, ‘Broken Wings’ and ‘I See The Moon’. In 1954 Adams formed the Show Band Singers group for Cyril Stapleton’s BBC Show Band, which backed vocalists including Frank Sinatra, Eartha Kitt and Frankie Laine. This led to Sing Something Simple, a half-hour programme of ‘songs simply sung for lovers’, featuring the Singers, piano accordionist Jack Emblow’s Quartet, and a piano solo by Adams. It made its debut as a ‘six-week stand-in’ on the BBC Light Programme on 3 July 1959, and celebrated its 35th Anniversary with a special programme on BBC Radio 2 in August 1994. Four years later, Adams received a Gold Badge Award from BASCA (British Academy of Songwriters Composers and Authors) his ‘special or lasting contribution’ to Britain’s entertainment industry. Adams also composed music, and his work for television commercials included Murraymints (‘Too-good-to-hurry mints’), Smash (‘For Mash - Get Smash’) and Fry’s Turkish Delight. He had a UK Top 40 hit in 1960 with his ‘Lonely Man Theme’, which was used in the memorable ‘You’re never alone with a Strand’ cigarette commercial. In 1976 he composed the music for the West End musical Liza Of Lambeth, an adaptation of Somerset Maugham’s novel, which featured a book and lyrics by William Rushton and Bernie Stringler.

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