WHO WAS MATT MONRO?
The British singer died aged just 54, 29 years ago this February 7th, the newspapers said cancer had so ravaged his body he was barely recognisable. Unable to eat or drink, he had become dangerously thin and frail.
Born in poverty in 1930s London Terry Parsons was the youngest of five children who lost their father Fred, from TB when Terry was three, his mother Alice struggled to clothe, feed and house the children after her husband’s death and after a mental breakdown went into a sanatorium, Terry was then taken to a foster home where he could not settle.
Moved from one school to the next, he hardly ever turned up to lessons, and by the age of 16 he had lived in numerous homes, had no memory of his father and had little contact with his mother, so joined the army at age 17. (1 see small line crossing lifeline )
On leaving the army he became a London bus driver, and he would sing as he drove the bus, complaints began pouring in that
the bus was too full to take any new passengers as the passengers refused get off, and when people began coming to the bus garage to ask for “the singing bus driver “the manager regretfully said they had to let him go.
But this was the making of Terry and under the name Matt Monro he went from strength to strength, and in poll after poll Monro was voted Britain’s best male singer despite performing easy-listening ballads at a time when the charts were full of Beatles Rolling Stones and rock and roll.
Even more remarkable was the fact that he reached such heights despite facing the huge obstacles of hunger and poverty in his early life.
Monro was chosen to sing Britain’s entry in the 1964 Eurovision Song Contest and although he only came second it heightened his profile immenesly. He went on to become one of the decade’s best known performers of hit film theme songs from Born Free to On Days Like These, featured in the Michael Caine comedy, The Italian Job.
Popular in the US, South America and the Far East, he found himself touring constantly, among those often seen at the back of his performances was Frank Sinatra, who said Matt was among the 3 best singers of all time.
His wife Mickie said ” Matt cared immensely for his fans and spending so much time on the road it is not surprising that he suffered from homesickness. He always said that he lived out of suitcases so much that he forgot what it was like to open a drawer,” (2 restlessness and travel lines ) Whenever he was on the road he calmed his boredom and homesickness with alcohol and, as his drinking became heavier, his doctor noticed his liver had become dangerously swollen and wrote that, at a conservative estimate, he was drinking at least half a bottle of scotch a day.
The handprint was taken in the early 70s when Matt was having difficulty handling his fame, his fingers suggest a shy quiet man but a perfectionist.
But less than four years after becoming tee-total he began feeling ill and doctors diagnosed cancer of the liver. ( 3 base to Jupiter finger swollen as in emotional eaters and drinkers ) an attempted transplant was abandoned when it was found the cancer had spread too far and he died on February 7, 1985.
(4 lifeline and fateline stopped in fifties )
His last wish was that people would play his music and indeed the music world mourned the passing of such a great star but some noted that despite topping the charts in other nations, Matt Monro had never enjoyed a UK No1, but in 2005, wife Mickie discovered a recording of him performing what had been in a family garage for nearly 40 years, the film was put on DVD and released as “An Evening With Matt Monro”. It shot to the top of the DVD music charts. Matt Monro had finally achieved the recognition at home the UK No1 he had always craved, Matt may have gone but his music lives on in pubs and clubs all over the London that he loved. ( 5 shows Apollo or sun lines show late life success)
and at 6 we see lack of a family ring round the thumb base, confirming the uncertain early start to the life, and late start to the fate line.
Some of his most loved hits which are all on youtube are , ‘Born Free’, ‘From Russia with love’. ‘Softly as i leave you’, ‘Portrait of my love’ and ‘By my love’.
“He was a man and taken all in all, we shall not look upon his like again” Hamlet Act 1 scene 2.
Life histories read from emailed handprints.