Peter Callander Multi Award Winning Songwriter Passes On

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Peter Callander was an English songwriter and record producer. Active from the 1960’s, Callander has written or co-written songs that have been performed by recording artists such as Cilla Black, Tom Jones, Cliff Richard, Vanity Fair, Shirley Bassey, and The Tremeloes amongst many others. Callander was also a founding member of the Society of Distinguished Songwriters (SODS), a director of PRS for Music, and had formed a publishing company, Callander Family Music Ltd.

Callander had often worked in conjunction with Mitch Murray, with Murray writing the music and Callander the lyrics. The two also teamed together to produce recording artists such as Paper Lace, Tony Christie, and The Brothers. Their joint compositions included "Even the Bad Times are Good" (The Tremeloes), "The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde" (Georgie Fame), "Goodbye Sam, Hello Samantha" (Cliff Richard), "Ragamuffin Man" (Manfred Mann), "Hitchin' a Ride" (Vanity Fare), "Turn On The Sun" (Nana Mouskouri) plus "Avenues and Alleyways", "Las Vegas", and "I Did What I Did for Maria" for Tony Christie.

While Callander was especially prolific during the 1960s and 1970s, his songs continue to be performed and recorded today. In 2005, Tony Christie spent seven weeks at number one on the UK Singles Chart with the Murray and Callander produced tune, "Is This the Way to Amarillo". In an interview in The Times in which he described another Murray-Callander penned tune, "Las Vegas", Christie noted that the two "were the star songwriters of the day".

Also in 2005, Swedish pop singer Agnetha Fältskog recorded the tune, "A Fool Am I", which had been a hit in the UK for Cilla Black in 1966, for Fältskog's successful comeback album, My Colouring Book, a collection of covers of classic 1960s pop tunes. Callandar provided the English language lyrics to what had originally been an Italian language song.

Peter was a director of both the Performing Right Society (PRS) and the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) for over 20 years and served as Deputy Chairman Writer of PRS for six years.  He made an invaluable contribution to the many committees he chaired and sat on.  Peter stepped down from his role on thePRS board in 2010 but continued his work as an author trustee of the Members Benevolent Fund, which he joined in 1991. Peter had been a prominent and much respected participant in music industry affairs throughout his long career, working with many organizations including BASCA and the Society of Distinguished Songwriters.  He was a champion of music copyright – promoting it with a passion and campaigning for its protection.

Two Million in SalesTwo Million in SalesIn 1972, his joint composition with Geoff Stephens of "Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast", was recorded by Wayne Newton and Elvis Presley. Newton’s version sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in July 1972.  After the massive success with Wayne Newton in the USA with “Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast” (No 4 in Billboard co-written with Geoff Stevens) Peter developed a love of country music which was to stay with him until the end of his life.  A frequent visitor to Nashville, he worked with many local writers and enjoyed many successes. Peter’s final song was completed with Geoff Stevens just two days before his death.

Songwriter Credits:
"A Fool Am I"; originally written by F. Carraresi (music) and A. Testa (lyrics); English lyrics by Peter Callander; recorded by Cilla Black and Agnetha Fältskog
"Give Me Time"; originally written by Alberto Morina, Amedeo Tommasi & Pietro Melfa; English lyrics by Peter Callander; recorded by Dusty Springfield and P. J. Proby
"The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde" (1968); written by Mitch Murray and Peter Callander; recorded by Georgie Fame
"The Night Chicago Died" (1974); written by Mitch Murray and Peter Callander; recorded by Paper Lace
"Billy, Don't Be a Hero" (1974); written by Mitch Murray and Peter Callander; recorded by both Paper Lace and Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods
"Beautiful" (1977); written by Mitch Murray and Peter Callander; recorded by The Brothers
"Monsieur Dupont" (1969); originally written by Christian Bruhn; English lyrics by Peter Callander; recorded by Sandie Shaw

At the BMI Awards dinner on October 9th 2012 Peter received an award for 3 million performances in America of his song "Hitching A Ride".

Peter Callandar passed away on the 25 February, leaving behind his devoted wife, Connie, their son, Jason and so many of us who were lucky enough to know and love his songs.