The Lionel Bart Story: Fings Ain't Wot They Used T' Be


Publisher: Omnibus Press
Artist: Lionel Bart
Format: Books | Biography
Lionel Bart was a writer and composer of British pop music and musicals, best known for creating the book, music and lyrics for Oliver!

He also wrote the famous songs Living Doll (Cliff Richard) and From Russia With Love (Matt Munroe).

He was unable to read music.

He was a millionaire aged thirty in the Sixties, bankrupt in the Seventies and died in 1999.

The authors gained exclusive access to Bart's personal archives – his unfinished autobiography, his letters and scrapbooks.

The Lionel Bart Story details how Bart signed away the rights to Oliver! to finance his new musical Twang – based on Robin Hood - which flopped badly in the theatre. It reveals how his heavy drinking led to diabetes and how he died in 1999 aged 69 from liver cancer. The authors have interviewed his personal secretaries, friends, family, counsellors and many of the performers, musicians and producers who worked with him, including Rocky Horror's Richard O’Brien and actors Dudley Sutton and Nigel Planer.


David and Caroline Stafford have written countless dramas, documentaries and comedies for radio and television. Recent credits include Hazelbeach, Birkett and The Year They Invented Sex for BBC Radio 4. David also worked extensively with the comedian Alexei Sayle on stand-up and TV shows.
ISBN: 9781849386616
Published on: 02 November 2011
No of pages: 288
Language: English
Catalogue No: OP53823

    Musicroom Reviews

    This is a biography of the great Lionel Bart, composer of the tunes from OLIVER!, a James Bond theme song, and many successful pop hits. The authors have had access to Bart's private papers, and the freedom to interview the composers's friends and document their candid observations now that Lionel is gone. The writing style is refreshingly blunt (plenty of light profanities) which suits the milieu of the radical '60s. And although Lionel's tale is one of ascent, descent and retribution, the author's tackle it all with great humor and affection. As Lionel was an intensely private man who only publicly acknowledged his sexuality at a late age, the authors attempt some healthy guess work to reveal a more developed character. This is still an overview however, and perhaps we will never get an in-depth study of the man behind the chirpy, Jewish Londoner. He seemed resistant to any public introspection, and was wary of any probing biographies all of his life. Still, if you want a fun read and a glimpse into the lively British show business of the period, then this is a real joy.
    Anonymous - ()
    Very much enjoyed reading this book. A well written and rounded account of Bart.
    Anonymous - ()