Born: 1940, Leytonstone, London (United Kingdom)
Charles Blackwell taught himself to play the piano and to write arrangements. He started working as an arranger with Decca at the age of twenty and became one of the most prolific studio arrangers and record producers of the 1960s and 1970s, with a string of hit records to his credit, including ‘Johnny remember me’ by Johnny Leyton, ‘What’s new pussycat’ and ‘Green, green grass of home’ by Tom Jones, and ‘Release me’ and ‘A man without love’ by Engelbert Humperdinck. He composed songs for Humperdinck as well as Sandie Shaw. Blackwell also regularly arranged and conducted studio recordings for francophone artists, including Art Sullivan, Michel Polnareff (‘Love me please love me’), and Françoise Hardy. He wrote several film scores. In 2005, he was the arranger and musical director of the African dance stage show ‘Sun dance’ and more recently, he was commissioned by the European Parliament to orchestrate and conduct the European Anthem (‘Ode to joy’ by Beethoven) with a 70 man orchestra for a new recording that is played at every parliamentary sitting.
In 1974, Blackwell was asked to arrange and conduct that year’s Luxembourg entry, ‘Bye bye I love you’, performed by English vocalist Ireen Sheer; it was the first of many Eurovision entries by Ralph Siegel and it finished fourth. It was to remain the only participation of Blackwell to the Eurovision Song Contest, although he wrote the arrangement to the demo of the 1979 Belgian entry, ‘Hey nana’. When singer Micha Marah refused to record her last-place-entry, composer Charles Dumolin released his own version with Blackwell’s backing track as a 7” single.
In due course, a more extensive biography of Charles Blackwell will be published on this website
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