Delilah songwriter Les Reed dies aged 83

The family of PRS for Music member Les Reed have confirmed that the songwriter has died at the age of 83.

His family said in a statement: ‘We are all so immensely proud of everything Les achieved in his incredible lifetime. We know that his name will be remembered for what he did for music and that he will always live through his songs and compositions for the rest of time.’

He was most well-known for co-writing the Tom Jones’ hit singles Delilah and It’s Not Unusual and Engelbert Humperdink’s The Last Waltz.

He also co-wrote the anthem of Leeds United FC, 1972’s Marching Together, as well as penning songs recorded by Bing Crosby, Shirley Bassey and Elvis Presley.

Woking-born Reed began his musical career at an early age learning the piano, accordion and vibraphone before studying at the London College of Music.

Following his studies, he served as a pianist in The John Barry Seven and conducted his own orchestra for over a decade.

Following the announcement of his passing, music industry figures paid tribute to the late songwriter and musician.

Tom Jones posted on Twitter: ‘Sorry to hear the news of the passing of my friend & colleague Les Reed. Les was a gifted songwriter who was instrumental in penning many a hit, incl two important songs for me; It’s Not Unusual & Delilah Les was a lovely man, whose legacy will live through his music. RIP Les.’

Sir Tim Rice wrote: ‘He was [the] composer of countless hits that will live on for years, decades, to come. All his music biz chums will miss him enormously & will never forget his songs, talent & generosity of spirit.’

Connie Francis said: ‘I cannot begin to tell you how saddened I am by the loss of my dear friend, Les Reed.

‘Les gave new meaning to the word “gentleman”. He was an outstanding musician and composer. I loved working with this wonderful man. Recording the Songs of Les Reed was one of the highlights of my life. Godspeed Les, you will always live in my heart.’

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