b. 1910, South Africa, d. September 1975, England. A songwriter, pianist and singer, RobertsGÇÖ early education took place in England. He subsequently attended university in South Africa before joining a law practice. Intent on becoming a songwriter, he returned to the UK where he had some success in the late 30s with songs such as GÇÿAngel Of The Great White WayGÇÖ (written with Elton Box, Desmond Cox and Don Pelosi), and GÇÿHorsey, HorseyGÇÖ (with Box, Cox and Ralph Butler) which became popular for Jack Jackson, Billy Cotton and Henry Hall. During World War II Roberts flew with the RAF, and when peace came he became an airline captain on BOAC Constellations. Subsequently, he returned to songwriting, and during the 50s, had several UK chart hits, including GÇÿThe BookGÇÖ (David Whitfield), GÇÿHeart Of A ManGÇÖ (Frankie Vaughan), GÇÿLay Down Your ArmsGÇÖ (Anne Shelton), GÇÿMeet Me On The CornerGÇÖ (Max Bygraves), GÇÿPickinGÇÖ A ChickenGÇÖ (Eve Boswell); and GÇÿEvermoreGÇÖ, GÇÿSoftly, SoftlyGÇÖ (number 1) and GÇÿYou Are My First LoveGÇÖ (the last three sung by Ruby Murray). The latter song was featured in the British musical film ItGÇÖs Great To Be Young, and Roberts wrote several other movie songs, including GÇÿIn Love For The Very First TimeGÇÖ (for An Alligator Named Daisy, starring Diana Dors) and the title number to The Good Companions. His other 50s compositions included GÇÿJohnny Is The Boy For MeGÇÖ, GÇÿItGÇÖs A BoyGÇÖ, GÇÿThat Dear Old GentlemanGÇÖ, GÇÿSend For MeGÇÖ and GÇÿThe Three Galleons (Las Tres Carabelas)GÇÖ.
Most of the aforementioned songs were written in collaboration with others, such as Hans Gottwald, C.A. Rossi, Geoffrey Parsons, Peggy Cochran, Jack Woodman, Gerry Levine, Ake Gerhard, Leon Land, Peter Hart, Garfield De Mortimer, Derek Bernfield, Augusto Alguego, G. Moreu, and Lester Powell (pseudonym of Ray Martin). However, towards the end of the decade, he was beginning to write unaided more and more frequently, and during the 60s he included several of his own, often wry, witty and sophisticated, numbers in an accomplished cabaret act. Probably the best-known of these is GÇÿThe Ballad Of Bethnal GreenGÇÖ, which enjoyed a good deal of airplay, but there were many others too, including GÇÿThe Belle Of Barking CreekGÇÖ, GÇÿThe Big Dee-JayGÇÖ, GÇÿFollow MeGÇÖ, GÇÿCountry GirlGÇÖ, GÇÿI Love MaryGÇÖ, GÇÿThe Tattooed LadyGÇÖ, GÇÿWhatGÇÖs All This Fuss About Love?GÇÖ, GÇÿThe Lavender CowboyGÇÖ and GÇÿDonGÇÖt Upset The Little KiddywinksGÇÖ. Roberts won several Ivor Novello Awards, and held high office in the Performing Right Society and the Song Writers Guild.
© 2014 Rovi Corporation.