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About Wally Stott
This British arranger, composer, conductor, and orchestra leader was nothing if not a class act. He designed musical backgrounds for vocalists who were simply dripping with personality, including the wonderful German vocalist and actress Marlene Dietrich and the brassy Dusty Springfield. Stott was also a mainstay of the British Broadcasting Corporation, leading in the early '50s to a new comedy radio program which after a few fumbling attempts at titling settled on the name of The Goon Show. While many comedy and variety programs have incorporated music, the combination of madcap comedy created by main Goons Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, and Sir Harry Secombe and musical interludes was really something special, a fact made clear by the devoted and steadily growing audience for the show since the last new episodes were created in the early '60s. Secombe, a talented orchestrator and composer as well as actor, was not the only member of the show's staff to wear several hats. Stott oversaw a revolving roulette wheel of creativity in which the talented Dutch harmonica player Max Geldray and the fine drummer, bandleader, and vocalist Ray Ellington played roles in skits as well as created music which provided a much needed respite from gut-wrenching laughter. Such a great collaboration could have represented the pinnacle of many careers, but Stott remained a creative force on the British music scene, eventually working on the highly regarded recordings of singer and songwriter Scott Walker.
Stott undertook his early studies at the Mexboro Academy, where he began collaborating regularly with the talented singer Tony Mercer. During this period, Mercer sang and played the piano and accordion, while Stott concentrated on the saxophone. Following the completion of their studies, both worked in bands such as Archie's Juveniles and Oscar Rabin's band. By 1944, Stott was leading the latter group's saxophone section on alto and had become the band's sole arranger. He then moved on to work in the band of the performer Geraldo, with whom he stayed until late 1948 at which point he left to devote his attention to arranging and film music work. In the early '50s, he became a main arranger for the Philips label along with talents such as Peter Knight and Ivor Raymonde. He arranged and conducted for many popular British artists over the next two decades, including Frankie Vaughan, Anne Shelton, Secombe, the Beverley Sisters, Roy Castle, Ronnie Carroll, Shirley Bassey, and many more. He also cut several of his own instrumental albums, sometimes utilizing a vocal chorus.
Stott began composing his own music early in his career as well, establishing himself with the BBC following the success of his theme for Hancock's Half Hour in 1954. He wrote a great number of popular mood music pieces, including "Mock Turtles," "Flight by Jet," "Focus on Fashion," and "Skylight." In the late '60s and early '70s, his career in films really took off. Stott wrote the music for The Looking Class War, Captain Nemo and the Underwater City, and When Eight Bells Toll, and also scored a series of television productions. Having undergone a sex-change operation, credits under the new name of Angela Morley began appearing during the '70s, including two Academy Awards for her arrangements of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's score for The Little Prince and Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman's score for The Slipper and the Rose. Since the mid-'70s, the sexually refurbished Morley has been living in the United States. ~ Eugene Chadbourne