Paul Rich

Paul RichSinger, musician and music publisher. Born 20 August 1921, London the son of Russian immigrants. Although the family were poor his mother had a great passion for music and, despite the family’s limited means, Paul’s elder brothers Boris and Joe were given classical music lessons and became professional classical musicians. Paul was originally earmarked to follow in his father’s footsteps as a tailor, but possessed a fine singing voice and a yearning to be an entertainer. He studied guitar under Ivor Mairants and went on to play in the bands of Harry Leader, Eddie Carroll, Ronnie Munro and Oscar Rabin before finally joining Lou Preager. By now he was just as likely to be singing as playing guitar and provided the vocal on over fifty of the band’s recordings on Regal Zonophone, Parlophone and Columbia Records.

In 1942 he began his long association with the Lou Preager Band at London’s Hammersmith Palais. He became Lou's longest serving singer staying with the band over thirteen years.

On many occasions, after all the dancers at the Palais had gone home, Paul would head back into town to perform his guitar-vocal solo act in West End nightspots. He also appeared in two films: 1) In the 1950 thriller Pool of London, for which the Preager band supplied the music and Paul was in a pub scene and 2) in Counter Spy a few years later where he sang a specially written song (by Eric Spear) Slightly Mad in Mexico in a music hall scene, accompanying himself on guitar.

One of the records he made was Cruising Down the River, recorded in 1946. The fast waltz was written by two elderly ladies, Nellie Tollerton and Eily Beadell as part of a ‘Write a Song and Win 1000' competition sponsored by the BBC. Paul was contracted to sing the winning entry and it became the country’s second biggest sheet music seller ever (second only to Doing the Lambeth Walk).

Paul married Marion White at Bayswater Synagogue on 24 June 1952 one son, Clive.

 


He left the Preager band in 1955 because he needed more time to run his private business venture. He had built up a small chain of sweet and tobacco shops and he felt the time had come to give them his full attention.
However, within a year he was back performing his solo act around London's clubs and coffee bars and even formed a group, The Fortune Airs. Back on record too, in May 1957 he began a long list of 63 singles on Woolworth's Embassy label, becoming one of their most popular artistes staying with them until the label folded in 1965. His last record was called Keep Searchin' backed with Marie in June 1965.


By the 1960s Paul had moved into music publishing, joining Franklyn Boyd, Al Leslie and Cyril Baker in running a string of companies from an office in Saville Row. At Carlin, where he became vice-president, Paul forged his reputation as publisher with a rare gift for nurturing young song writing talent, spotting hits and placing the right songs with the right singer. During the years 1966 to 1976 Carlin received the UK’s Top Publisher Award from Music Week for ten years out of eleven. The success of the company was based on song writing deals with the likes of Bacharach and David and Lieber and Stoller, together with publishing deals with the best of UK talent, such as Cliff Richard, The Shadows, Eric Burdon and The Animals, The Kinks, Roy Wood, ELO, The Sweet, Genesis, Van der Graef Generator and Nazareth.

The company also had an enviable reputation as a successful sub-publisher of US artistes and catalogues. It represented Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, Dolly Parton and the Osmonds and the entire Tamla Motown catalogue during Motown’s most successful years in which it produced hits by Four Tops, Diana Ross and The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and many more.

After several decades in the music publishing business Paul ended up running the Music Publishers Association. He retired in 1996 after 54 years in the business.

Paul Rich was initiated into Chelsea Lodge in January, 1960. He was WM on two occasions - 1979 and 1999. He attained LGR. He died 23 February 2000, aged 78 years. The BRIT school’s ‘Paul Rich Award for Musical Composition’ is dedicated to his memory.

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