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HIT SONGWRITER BARRY MASON R.I.P.

HIT SONGWRITER BARRY MASON R.I.P.

Barry Mason MBE
Barry Mason MBE
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Barry Mason and Tom Jones
Barry Mason and Tom Jones
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David Stark and Barry Mason in Australia (1999)
David Stark and Barry Mason in Australia (1999)
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Barry Mason, Susan Black and Steve Glen
Barry Mason, Susan Black and Steve Glen
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Barry Mason and Charley Foskett
Barry Mason and Charley Foskett
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London, April 2021: Top British songwriter / lyricist Barry Mason, whose hit songs included "Delilah", "The Last Waltz" and "Love Grows" amongst many others, passed away at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital at 6.30pm on Friday 16th April after a short illness. Aged 85, his eldest daughter Aimi and his partner, Vanessa Martin, were at his bedside. He is survived by his three children, Aimi Whittingham Nicastro; Maggie Mason Trainer; and Tyler Mason, as well as grandchildren Mia and Sofia Whittingham Mason.

Mason grew up in the village of Coppull, near Wigan in Lancashire. His songwriting credits included three UK Number Ones: "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)", "The Last Waltz", and "I Pretend", while other hits included "Here It Comes Again", "There Goes My First Love", "A Man Without Love", "Love Is All" and "You Just Might See Me Cry".

His songs have been recorded by Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck, Elvis Presley, P. J. Proby, David Essex, The Drifters, Rod Stewart, Petula Clark, Perry Como, The Fortunes, Charles Aznavour, Tony Christie, Connie Francis, Mireille Mathieu, Barbra Streisand, The Dave Clark Five, Cliff Portwood, Malcolm Roberts, Our Kid and Ashley Maclaine among others.

Mason credits his start in songwriting to his first hit in 1960 as a producer. "I met this boy called Tommy Bruce and I spent my last few pounds making a demo of him singing an old Fats Waller song, "Ain't Misbehavin'" - and he had a hit (No.3, UK, 1960). Suddenly, I was his manager, not knowing anything about the business. But the important thing was, I was in the business."

Mason and Les Reed (who died almost exactly two years before Mason in April 2019) co-wrote the mega-hits "Delilah" and "The Last Waltz", while they also wrote "Marching On Together" (aka "Leeds! Leeds! Leeds!"), the anthem of Leeds United F.C. Mason's last chart-topping song was "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes), for session group, Edison Lighthouse, in January 1970. Mason wrote many other people over the years, from Tony Macauley to Michel Legrand, and most recently Charley Foskett with whom he wrote five songs including one pitched to Tom Jones.

Mason was also a former "King Sod" of the SODS - the Society of Distinguished Songwriters; while he won five Ivor Novello Awards and was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2020 Birthday Honours for services to music. He was also a prolific public performer of many solo shows for charity, usually with Don Gould (ex-Applejacks) on piano. He made his last appearance in February 2020 at a charity concert for prostate cancer at the Bull Theatre in Barnet which also starred singer/songwriters Steve Glen and Susan Black. The show was hosted by SongLink editor and good friend of Mason's David Stark, who commented:

"Barry was a great pal for almost thirty years and one of the nicest guys in the music business. A really humble, down to earth chap who I shared many laughs and memorable times with around the world. Together we travelled to judge song contests as far afield as Australia's Gold Coast, Malta, Romania and other places. Wherever Barry went he would love to perform his hits if there was a pianist available, and often when there wasn't! Everyone loved to hear and see him performing "Delilah", "Love Grows", "The Last Waltz" and so many other hits. It's hard to believe he's no longer with us but I'm extremely proud to have hosted his final performance in 2020 just before the first lockdown kicked in."

Current King Sod Gary Osborne wrote, "It tears me apart to have to tell you that the beautiful heart of our much loved Sod Barry Mason stopped beating at around 6.20 on April 16th. He'd been through three months of medical hell and wouldn't have survived even the first of those without the love of his beloved partner Vanessa. Nobody knew better than Barry that "lonely is a man without love". If I start to go on about him now I might not be able to stop, so suffice it to say that I know he loved every one of us every bit as much as we loved him. Barry's heart may have stopped beating but his songs and his spirit will be with us forever, so as far as Barry Mason is concerned...the beat goes on. We shall not see his like again."

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