Lynsey de Paul - Getting a Drag
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Lynsey de Paul (born Lynsey Monckton Rubin, on 11 June 1950 in London, UK – died 1 October 2014) is an English singer-songwriter. Renowned for her keyboard skills, ability to write catchy songs and sultry looks, de Paul first hit the UK charts in 1972, initially as the writer of the Fortunes hit, "Storm in a Teacup". A few months later she was propelled into the limelight as the performer of her very own song hit song "Sugar Me", which rapidly found it's way into the Top Ten of the UK Singles Chart as well as the top of the singles charts in Holland and Belgium.
She was the first woman to be awarded an Ivor Novello Award for her ballad, "Won't Somebody Dance With Me", another UK Top 20 hit. The BBC Radio 1 disc jockey Ed Stewart spoke the words "May I Have The Pleasure Of This Dance" near the end of the record (he often played the record on his Junior Choice programme on Saturday mornings) although Tony Blackburn said it when she appeared on BBC Television's Top of the Pops. De Paul recorded the female lyric to Mott The Hoople's hit, "Roll Away the Stone", but did not perform the song with the band when they were promoting the single. In 1973, when Mick Ralphs left Mott the Hoople, his replacement Luther Grosvenor was contractually obliged to change his name - de Paul suggested Ariel Bender. After appointing Don Arden, her new manager, de Paul released "Ooh I Do", which hit the charts in the UK, Netherlands and Japan.
A second Ivor Novello award followed a year later for "No Honestly", which was also the theme tune to a hit ITV comedy of the same name, and provided her with another UK Top 10 hit, peaking at #7.[The TV series No Honestly was followed by Yes Honestly, and although Georgie Fame wrote and performed the theme tune to the first series of Yes Honestly, an instrumental version of de Paul's "No Honestly" was chosen as the theme for the second series. De Paul continued to release a number of singles through the 1970s and early 1980s.
A prolific songwriter, de Paul also continued to write songs for a wide range of recording artists as well as composing the theme music to the 1970s documentary television programme Pilger (John Pilger) for ATV. In a five year period (1972–77) she wrote a total of fourteen UK Singles Chart hits most notably "Dancin' (on a Saturday Night)" which was a hit for co-writer Barry Blue as well as Flash Cadillac and bond. De Paul's songs have reached the charts in many territories, including the U.S., Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Canada and Australia. She also has performed producing and arranging duties on many of these recordings. In 1976 she was the recipient of the 'Woman Of The Year Award For Music' from the Variety Club of Great Britain]
"Rock Bottom", which she wrote with Mike Moran, was the UK entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1977. Although it came second in the Eurovision Song Contest, it went on to become a Top 20 hit in many European countries including France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, where it reached the top of their singles chart. De Paul and Moran went on to write a number of songs, such as "Let Your Body Go Downtown" (1977), a #38 UK hit for the Martyn Ford Orchestra and the follow-up "Going to a Disco", as well as "Without You", and "Now and Then", which appeared on the albums Tigers and Fireflies and Just a Little Time, respectively. De Paul also wrote and performed the theme music for the 1977 revival by London Weekend Television of the sitcom, The Rag Trade.The same year she composed "Hi Summer", the title of another ITV variety show, performed by Carl Wayne. Later TV credits included the theme to the BBC's Hearts Of Gold. In addition to serving as the themes of nine prime time UK television series, de Paul's songs have been featured in such films as The Big Sleep, Anita & Me, Side by Side, and Aces Go Places.
After a three year period of being based in California in the late 1970s and early 1980s with her partner at the time, the actor James Coburn, de Paul returned to England. During this period, she co-wrote with Terry Britten "A Little TLC", which was covered by Sam Hui and awarded an RTHK top 10 gold award in Hong Kong in 1986. Other versions of this song were recorded by Menudo, sung by their lead singer Ricky Martin, and also featured in the U.S. children's TV show, Kidd Video. Whilst still writing songs for Shirley Bassey, Heatwave and The Real Thing, de Paul also branched out into record production, acting in musicals and plays, interviewing and TV presentation, drawing cartoons and also self defence. On the latter subject, in 1992 she released a self defence video for women called Taking Control, and presented a documentary about women's self defence, called Eve Fights Back, which won a Royal Television Society award.
De Paul has orchestrated, played, and produced two classical records of compositions by Handel and Bach for Deutsche Grammophon. Her work for the Channel Tunnel Group included writing and producing an album of children's songs with accompanying song colouring book for Eurotunnel's mascot, entitled Marcus The Mole. She has written film music for and acted in the children's film, Gabrielle and the Doodleman and has composed jingles for radio stations including Capital Radio. In 1983 she appeared at the Conservative Party conference, where she sang a song she had composed specially for the occasion - "Vote Tory, Tory, Tory/For election glory". In 1985 she was awarded the Rear of the Year title. De Paul has hosted television shows such as Club Vegetarian, Shopper's Heaven, Eat Drink & Be Healthy, Women of Substance, The Vinyl Frontier and 15 episodes of Living Room Legends, which featured home videos.
Music she composed with Barry Blue formed the soundtrack to the 2002 film, Anita and Me and also American Swing. She received a Gold Badge Award for contribution to the music industry in 2005 and, on 30 June 2006, she became a director on the board of the Performing Rights Society. Now renamed PRS for Music, in 2009 de Paul was re-elected for a second three year term.
In 2006, de Paul released a DVD of Taking Control, representing her self-defence training programme. The programme showed the importance of self-defence for women, and she has approached schools and universities to include the DVD in the curriculum.
In 2007 she played Sheila Larsen in the first episode of Kingdom, the Stephen Fry drama series. On 10 April 2008, de Paul participated in a celebrity version of the Channel 4 show Come Dine With Me along with fellow celebrities Tamara Beckwith, MC Harvey and Jonathan Ansell. De Paul came in last place. She also was featured on a celebrity version of Cash in the Attic in March 2009.
She wrote the foreword for the book Medium Rare by Billy Roberts, Liam Scott (Apex Publishing, ISBN 978-1-906358-49-5) published in April 2009. The book is about the spiritual medium, Liam Scott. She has also written travel articles for the Daily Mail on Mauritius (February 2008) and Australia's East Coast (April 2009).
Although never married, at various times De Paul has been romantically linked with Ringo Starr, Roy Wood, James Coburn, George Best, Sean Connery, Dodi Fayed, Bill Kenwright, Bernie Taupin, Chas Chandler and Dudley Moore. Known for her sharp sense of humour, de Paul was labelled "Looney de Small" by Spike Milligan. She is a patron of the Spike Milligan Statue Memorial Fund.
De Paul suffered a brain haemorrhage in the morning of 1 October 2014 and died in a London hospital.
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