Date of Birth: 1920/6/19
Place of Birth: London, England, UK
Date of Death: 2003/4/20
Johnny Douglas started piano lessons when he was 4. He won a government scholarship to St. Olaves & St. Saviours, a grammar school in Tooley Street, Bermondsey and at 13 formed a band, mainly of school friends, which won several dance band contests. He made his first professional appearance in 1939 as pianist with the Neville Hughes Sextet and soon afterwards was called up for war service in the Royal Air Force. After the war he sent a copy of one arrangement to all the bandleaders of the day. George Elrick replied and engaged him as staff arranger. He began arranging for many famous bands including Bert Ambrose, Ted Heath and Edmundo Ros then became pianist/arranger with the Cyril Stapleton Band and pianist with broadcasting outfits of all kinds and at society balls. In 1948, he joined a music publisher as staff arranger and there began to write for orchestras rather than dance bands. He started scoring and conducting vocal backings for Decca in 1952 and his first hit was Tex Ritter's "High Noon", released on Capitol. During the next three years he recorded over 500 titles for Decca, backing many famous names including Al Martino, and was Musical Director on many hits. In 1958 he was asked to score Living Strings Play Music of the Sea for RCA. It was recorded at the Kingsway Hall, London, with an orchestra of 61 musicians. This began his long association with RCA, New York, where it was his good fortune to work with A & R producer, Ethel Gabriel. During the next twenty-five years he scored and conducted 80 albums for RCA Living Strings alone and received a gold disc for the RCA album entitled Feelings. In 1955 he began broadcasting with the BBC, with his own programme entitled In the Still of the Night, and there have been countless broadcasts since. From 1960 onwards his work increased tremendously. He began composing and scoring for films, had his own programme, again on BBC radio, entitled Swing Song, which ran for two years, and was arranging for TV shows for such international stars as Shirley Jones, Howard Keel, Vera Lynn and Shirley Bassey. He was also arranging for numerous other recording artists. He had to his credit over 100 albums and 36 feature films, the most well known of the latter being "The Railway Children", for which he received a British Academy Film & TV Arts BAFTA Nomination, and "Dulcima", for which he conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He also wrote the theme to the long-running cinema featurette series "The Scales of Justice". He composed and arranged the music for the American TV children's series "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends", "Dungeons & Dragons" and "The Incredible Hulk" and "Pandamonium". He was also composer of the incidental music and arranger of all the music for "The Transformers" and "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero". In 1983 Douglas started his own record label, Dulcima Records, producing top quality digitally recorded easy listening albums with different artists and with his own orchestra. At the end of 1999 he completed his first classical composition - a symphonic poem. It is a light classical work with three movements, entitled "The Conquest". He wrote another symphonic poem entitled "The Aftermath", as well as a descriptive composition for solo flute entitled "The Blue Damsel-fly". These compositions are available on an album of new classical works entitled Johnny Douglas in Concert, with the Dulcima Symphony Orchestra.
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