Black Beauty composer performs song for Suffolk
PUBLISHED: 11:57 25 April 2020 | UPDATED: 12:54 28 April 2020
Optimistic People is the title of composer Denis King’s song recorded to cheer us all up during lockdown
There’s no denying it, these are strange and scary times. But at Suffolk Magazine we welcome optimists - you know them, those people who keep smiling and lift our spirits no matter what.
One of them is composer and musician Denis King, who lives in Walberswick on the Suffolk coast. Denis wrote the theme for the Black Beauty TV series, and has composed for and performed with some of the greatest names in showbusiness. Now Denis has decided to cheer us all up with a performance of a song called ‘Optimistic People’, which he wrote with comedy writer, lyricist and actor Dick Vosburgh. Thanks Denis!
Denis King was born in Hornchurch, Essex, and began his musical career at the age of six as a banjolele-playing singer at children’s matinees. As teenagers, he and his brothers Mike and Tony formed the King Brothers with Denis on piano, Mike on guitar, and Tony on double bass. It was one of the most successful pop groups of the 1950s and 1960s and is considered by many to be Britain’s first boy band.
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The King Brothers toured around the country in Twice-Nightly Variety, performing two shows a night in one town before moving on to the next the following week. Denis kept up his education and for two years attended a different school in a different town almost every week. The King Brothers did summer shows, television appearances, played the famous Windmill Theatre and, in 1956, became the youngest variety act to play the London Palladium. They appeared with celebrities such as Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, Frankie Vaughan, Roy Castle, Shirley Bassey, Ronnie Corbett, Bruce Forsyth,, Morecambe and Wise, as well as American stars Bobby Darin, Howard Keel, Sammy Davis Jr, Judy Garland, Lena Horne, Sarah Vaughan, Sophie Tucker and Frank Sinatra.
The group disbanded in 1970 and Denis went on to study at the Guildhall School of Music in London. He got his first break in television writing the music for The Adventures of Black Beauty, the much loved theme ‘Galloping Home’, which won the Ivor Novello Award. He has created themes and incidental music for over 200 TV series including Within These Walls, Dick Turpin, Two’s Company, Lovejoy, We’ll Meet Again and Hannay. He has also worked on films, and has performed with Dame Edna Everage, Albert Finney, Benny Green, with Maureen Lipman in her successful stage show Re: Joyce, and with Dick Vosburgh in the comic revues Beauty and the Beards and Sing Something Silly, as well as on the BBC Radio radio comedy series Hello, Cheeky! from 1973 to 1979.
Denis has also composed for the theatre, including the original 1977 Royal Shakespeare Theatre production of Privates On Parade, which won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Musical. He has collaborated extensively with Alan Ayckbourn creating the musicals Whenever, Orvin - Champion Of Champions, and Awaking Beauty, which premiered in December 2008 in Scarborough.
You can listen to Denis performing Optimistic People, click herefor the full version.
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