Yorkshire composer Alan Hawkshaw, who went from printing Leeds to writing Grange Hill and countdown-themed music, dies aged 84

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Alan hawkshaw

In a statement, arts agency DNA Music Ltd said Hawkshaw died in the early hours of Saturday morning after being admitted to hospital with pneumonia earlier this week.

He had spent the last few months recovering from a fourth stroke he suffered in July.

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From writing the countdown theme to samples of Jay-Z: Leeds’ incredible music career …

The statement called Hawkshaw “one of the most sampled musicians in the world,” adding: “Alan was behind such incredible theme songs as Grange Hill, Channel 4 News, Countdown, Dave Allen at Large and Arthur C Clarke’s Mysterious World to name a few. a few.

“He has performed over 7,000 music sessions by prominent artists including Olivia Newton-John, Serge Gainsbourg, Tom Jones, Barbara Streisand (and) David Bowie.

“We can guarantee that if you don’t know Alan’s name – you will know his music like no other.”

Hawkshaw’s German wife, Christiane, called his death “heartbreaking”.

She said: “We spent the last few hours looking at each other lovingly, holding hands, no need for words. I told her that he and I were forever, and even though he and I had been unable to speak in the last couple of months he’s pulled off a few ‘forever’ and I knew he was at peace. “

The Leeds-born musician has written the music for “over 35 films and countless TV shows,” according to his website.

Hawkshaw began his career in the 1960s as a member of Emile Ford & The Checkmates, which toured with the Rolling Stones.

In the 1970s he worked as Music Director and Arranger / Pianist for Newton-John, and received an Oscar for Best Arrangement for the song I Honestly Love You.

In 2004, he created the Alan Hawkshaw Foundation in association with the Performing Rights Society.

The scholarship program provides financial support to talented young musicians from Leeds College of Music, now Leeds Conservatory, and the National Film & Television School.

After leaving school he apprenticed at the Leeds Knight & Forster printing press on Water Lane, before leaving in 1959 when a band he played part-time with turned professional and invited him. to tour with them as a pianist.


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