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MUSIC & TV LEGEND MARCEL STELLMAN R.I.P.

MUSIC & TV LEGEND MARCEL STELLMAN R.I.P.

London, May 2021: The death has been announced of Marcel Stellman (96), former record executive with Decca Records and a prolific song lyricist whose hits included "Tulips From Amsterdam". He was also the man who brought "Countdown", the TV game show to Great Britain, screened on Channel 4 since 1982. He was David Stark's boss at Decca Records in the mid '70s, and remained a close friend.>

Marcel Stellman and David Stark
Marcel Stellman and David Stark
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Les Paul and Marcel Stellman in New York
Les Paul and Marcel Stellman in New York
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Mick McDonagh (ex-Decca), Marcel and Jeannie Stellman and David Stark
Mick McDonagh (ex-Decca), Marcel & Jeannie Stellman and David Stark
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The Goons 'Ying Tong Song'
The Goons "Ying Tong Song"
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Marcel Leopold Stellman (born in Belgium, February 15, 1925) was a record producer and international manager at Decca from the mid-1950's up to 1989. He worked with such names as Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck, Vera Lynn, Max Bygraves, the Moody Blues, the Rolling Stones, Gilbert Bécaud, Mantovani and Edmundo Ros, among many other artists. He was also the producer of The Goons' classic"Ying Tong Song", originally released in 1956; and of "Kinky Boots" recorded by Patrick Macnee & Honor Blackman (1964), co-written by his great friend Herbert Kretzmer (d. 2020).

In the UK, Stellman was perhaps best known as the man who brought the French show "Des Chiffres et des Lettres" to the UK, after he had seen the programme in France and acquired the rights for Great Britain, where it was retitled as "Countdown". Stellman appeared on the programme's celebrations for its 2000th episode in 1997; its 3000th episode in 2001; and 5000th episode in 2010. He also presented the trophy at the end of the 30th Birthday Championship.

Having been evacuated from Belgium to Scotland during WW2, Stellman's long association with television began in the 1940s and '50s when he presented schools and children's radio programmes. These included the hit TV series "Pinky and Perky" from 1957, for which he selected the songs the two pig puppets would sing.

As a song lyricist, his most famous hit was "Tulips From Amsterdam" by Max Bygraves, while his other successes included "Johnny (Is The Boy For Me)" by Les Paul & Mary Ford (1953); "Un Garçon des Îles" by Henri Salvador (1962) and "There I Go" by Vikki Carr (1967). Other artists who recorded his lyrics include Vera Lynn, Petula Clark, Kathy Kirby, Françoise Hardy, Charles Aznavour (a close friend), Engelbert Humperdinck, Tony Bennett, Gilbert Bécaud, Nina Simone, Jack Jones, Marianne Faithfull, Noel Harrison, Nana Mouskouri and Caterina Valente.

Stellman was a recipient of a BASCA Gold Badge Award in 1988 and was a member of the Society of Distinguished Songwriters (aka the SODS). He received an Ivor Novello Award as lyricist for "Dance On" by Kathy Kirby in 1963, while his other awards included being a Freeman of the City of London; a Chevalier de L'Ordre et des Lettres (France); one from the Guinness Book of Records for Countdown's long-running success; one from the Variety Club for Countdown's 25th anniversary; and he was also made a Lifetime Honorary Member of The Goons Society.

He lived off Baker Street in London's West End for many years and is succeeded by his wife Jean. Their only two children both died in infancy. David Stark commented, "Marcel was a unique character and my best-ever boss. We remained friends for over 45 years, while he took great pleasure spending time with family and friends and will be missed by many."

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