Lionel Bart (Composer)
Born: 1st August 1930, Stepney, UK
Died: 3rd April 1999, Hammersmith Hospital, London
Lionel Bart was a British writer and composer of pop music and musicals. He wrote Tommy Steele's "Rock with the Caveman" and was the sole creator of the musical Oliver! (1960). With Oliver! and his work alongside theatre director Joan Littlewood at Theatre Royal, Stratford East, he played an instrumental role in the 1960s birth of the British musical theatre scene after an era when American musicals had dominated the West End.
Best known for creating the book, music and lyrics for Oliver!, Bart was described by Andrew Lloyd Webber as "the father of the modern British musical". In 1963 he won the Tony Award for Best Original Score for Oliver!, and the 1968 film version of the musical won a total of 6 Academy Awards including the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Some of his other compositions include the theme song to the James Bond film From Russia with Love, and the songs "Living Doll" by Cliff Richard, "Far Away" by Shirley Bassey, "Do You Mind?" (recorded by both Anthony Newley and Andy Williams), "Big Time" (a 1961 cover by Jack Jones of his "Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be" show tune), "Easy Going Me" by Adam Faith, "Always You And Me" by Russ Conway, and several songs recorded by Tommy Steele ("A Handful of Songs", "Butterfingers" and "Little White Bull"). By the mid 1960s he was as well known for his outlandish lifestyle, his celebrity friends, his excesses, and his parties as he was for his work.