LES Reed, the Woking-born songwriter who composed hits for Elvis Presley, Tom Jones and The Carpenters, always considered Woking his home and was close to his family in the town, according to his sister.
Celia Lewis was speaking to the News & Mail after a blue plaque honouring her brother was unveiled at the Moorfield Community Centre, which was previously his school.
Celia said her brother, who died in April this year, often visited their parents at his childhood home in Granville Road in his Rolls Royce and later bought them a bungalow in Westfield Avenue. The house was named Belsize, after his haunting Les Bicyclettes de Belsize, the theme song to the 1968 film The Girl on a Motorcycle, starring Marianne Faithfull and Alain Delon.
Celia said that despite writing some of the best-known songs of the 20th century, including It’s Not Unusual, Delilah, The Last Waltz and There’s A Kind of Hush, Les considered himself “a background boy” and not a celebrity.
She said music was Les’s life, “He wasn’t just a songwriter but an arranger and composer. He conducted state orchestras all around the world.”
Celia added that Les arranged the version of Green, Green Grass of Home sung by Tom Jones and that Elvis Presley often said that he wanted music “to be played like Les”.
The blue plaque was unveiled last week by the Mayor of Woking, Cllr Beryl Hunwicks, followed by a tea dance celebrating Les’s many songs for members of Moorcroft Community Centre and specially invited guests, including Celia, her husband Dave, Les’s daughter Donna and his grandsons Dominic and Alex.
Cllr Hunwicks said: “It’s a privilege to recognise Les, a local boy who grew up to become one of our most accomplished songwriters.
“Many of his hit songs bring back so many happy memories from my youth. It was a real pleasure meeting Donna and reliving Les’s greatest hits.”
For the full story get the 14 November edition of the News & Mail