1925 - 2000
Chart career 1957-1962
Russ Conway was born on 2nd September 1925, and learned to play piano as a child, in the 1930s. He joined the navy as a teenager during World War II, and won a Distinguished Service Medal. He decided to stay in the services after the war, and continued developing his naval career until 1955.
When he left the navy, he decided to make piano playing his profession, and soon found employment in various London night-clubs, and as a rehearsal pianist for the stars. He subsequently became a pianist for top artists like Dennis Lotis, Gracie Fields and Joan Regan. This brought him into contact with record companies, and in 1957 he signed with EMI, and recorded a medley of old sing-along tunes in a honky-tonk style (Party Pops), which was a hit at Christmas that year.
He started to appear on tv at this time, in particular, the Billy Cotton Band Show, one of the top tv shows of the time. As a result, he became immensely popular with his toe-tapping piano style and his charming boyish grin. He even had his own tv series.
Big time stardom came for Russ in 1959 when five of his own compositions made the Top 10 - the first two of the year going all the way to No 1. The earlier of those two, Side Saddle, stayed at the top spot for four weeks, and Russ was the top-selling UK artist in 1959. On the sheet music chart, three of his own compositions were at number one, in total, for over six consecutive months in 1959.
In addition to pop package tours, he starred at the London Palladium several times. He continued producing hit singles between 1960 and 1962, but only one, Toy Balloons, made the Top 10 in that period.
He recorded a vast number of albums which always contained some slower tracks which demonstrated his true musical talents. In 1960, he made the Top 20 with a slow piece, Passing Breeze.
In the late sixties he suffered a nervous breakdown and a mild stroke, which prevented him from performing. By the late 1970's, however, he was back at his piano performing to his legions of loyal fans both at home and abroad.
His health began to fail in the late 1990s, but he still performed a final concert during the spring of 2000 in his home town of Eastbourne, Sussex. He was suffering from cancer at that time, and died on 16th November 2000.
There is a RUSS CONWAY APPRECIATION SOCIETY and details can be received by sending an A5 SAE to:
47 Laurel Road, Blaby, Leicester LE8 4DL
See also the following web
Birth details: born 2nd September 1925, Bristol, England.
Real Name: Trevor Stanford
|This web page was
created : 16 Feb 2000
(updated 30 November 2004)
|60 Years of British No 1 Hits|