Mr. Moonlight - Frankie Vaughan at 70
One of the highlights of my broadcasting career, to date, is a programme I made forBBC Radio 2. It was called Mr. Moonlight - Frankie Vaughan at 70, and naturally enough, it was transmitted on Sun. 8th February 1998, five days after his 70th birthday.
I had grown up on his music, and my grandmother always referred to him as "the Jewish son she never had". Despite the difference in our ages, he and I became very close, and this programme became a labour of love. We recorded lengthy interviews at his Buckinghamshire home, and many of his show-business friends, also paid their tributes. Too many, in fact. So much excellent material ended up on the cutting room floor, but on the finished programme we heard fromCliff Richard, Jimmy Tarbuck and Tim Rice.
When researching the music for the programme, it occurred to me that Frank's recording career was not properly represented on CD. I approached bothPolygram (who owned his Philips and Decca recordings) and EMI (who owned his HMV and Columbia recordings).
They both commissioned me to compile collections, and to write the accompanying booklet notes.
When Frankie Vaughan died on 18th September 1999, I appeared onBBC News 24, to pay tribute, and on 22nd June 2000 I was able to join his close family to attend the consecration of his headstone.
It was inscribedMr. Moonlight - He Brightened Our Lives.
I was privileged to attend the private Memorial Service for Frankie on Sunday 4th February 2001. It was held at the New West End Synagogue, in Bayswater, London.
His brother-in-law, Rabbi Neville Kesselman, gave the address. Tributes were paid by Michael Harris, Wyn Calvin, and Sir Henry Cooper, whilst Frank's younger son Andrew paid his tribute in song. Finally, Andrew's older brother David, spoke movingly about their Dad.
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