David Mackay

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David Mackay formed his first group at the age of 11 called “The Toppers” and they were signed to Rex Records thru Festival and their first single was “The Three Bells”. The group toured with Col Joye and the Joye Boys and Johnny O’Keefe and at weekends, whilst still at school, they would fly to Melbourne to appear on IMT with Graham Kennedy and Bert Newton, to Adelaide to do the Ernie Sigley Show plus other shows in Perth or Brisbane. In Sydney they would appear on Brian Henderson’s Bandstand and were resident guests on Col Joye’s TV Show plus a series with the Olympic swimmer John Konrad.  At the age of 15 David landed a lead role in the stage show “Bye Bye Birdie” along side Ian Turpie which toured Australia for a year and upon returning to Sydney got a job with the Australian Opera, working back stage, and in addition was enrolled into the Conservatorium of Music to study theory, harmony and composition along with piano and clarinet.

 

David left the Opera scene to join AWA and was employed to work at Radio 2CH and after a while was moved into their recording studio engineering department working as music recording engineer on many RCA recordings where Johnny Devlin was the Producer. Here they produced albums by Digger Revell, The Tollmen, Julian Lee, Winifred Atwell and Eartha Kitt plus classical and symphonic alums.  

 

In 19673 David joined EMI Music Australia as a recoding engineer at the famous 301 Studies in working on commercials, dramas and records for artists such as Billy Thorpe, The Easybeats, Slim Dusty, Chad Morgan Brian Davies and Little Patti. One day he was asked to “engineer and produce” a new group just signed to the label from Melbourne called “The Twilights” and David’s first production was “Bad Boy” which became his first hit record. In 1966 David was appointed as “Head of Australian A&R” and went on to produce over 30 Hit records in Australia for EMI including the classic “Sadie the Cleaning Lady” for Johnny Franham, Needle in a Haystack for the Twilights along with so many hit productions for artists including The Vibrants, The Groove, Bev Harrell, Peter Nelson and the Castaways, Cheryl Gray, The Vigil Brothers, Zoot (Daryl Cotton),  Jade Hurley,  Bobbie Thomas, Mike Brady, Dinah Lee, Brian Davies and others.

 

Recognizing his talent and abilities EMI Music International in 1969 offered him a transfer from Sydney to London to work their head office in Manchester Square in A&R man and to produce at the world famous studios Abbey Road. His first record production was “Daydream” which he co wrote and produced for the Belgian group Wallace Collection and it was a hit in the UK and 30 years later has just been a hit again for “I Monster” and is the featured track on several “Chill Out” CD’s . Recently David and the Wallace Collection were elected to the Hall of Fame in Belgium.

 

David left EMI to go independent and formed June Productions Ltd, which he still runs today. His first independent production was “Look what they’ve done to my song, Ma!” for the New Seekers which went to No 4 on the American charts. It was followed by numerous other hits including the legendary “I’d like to teach the world to sing” which he also arranged and produced as an award winning television advert for Coca-Cola. David returned briefly to Australia to produce “The Pushbike Song” for the Mixtures which became a worldwide hit along with “Cinderella Rockefeller” for  Johnnie & Anne Hawker,  with tracks for Liv Mason , Mike Brady and   Hans Poulsen   all produced for Ron Tudor’s Fable Records label.

 

David built his own studio in Woldingham and his first production there was “It’s A Heartache” for Bonnie Tyler. EMI Music then had retained him produce albums for two of their high profile artists namely Cliff Richard and Cilla Black. During this period David also produced, arranged and conducted for Cliff on his Eurovision appearances.

 

Many other productions followed, hit singles and albums for Bonnie Tyler,  Frankie Millers’ “Darlin”  single and album for Chrysalis Records” which became a smash around the world, an album with Billie Ocean followed by two singles for the late Dusty Springfield, “Baby Blue” written by  Trevor Horn and “Your Love Still Brings Me To My Knees”. He co-produced with Barry Gibb for Island records, The Bunburries which included the track “We’re The Bunburries” and “Seasons” all recorded at his Woldingham studios by the Bee Gees and Eric Clapton.  David produced legendary session group Blue Mink which featured singer/writer Roger Cook, Madeline Bell and  Ray Cooper. David produced one of his personal favourite albums for his long time Aussie friend Digby Richards but sadly Digby died before the wealth of his songs were released.

 

Turning his hand to television he wrote and scored a number of hit TV series including “Auf Wiedersehen Pet!” for which he won the Ivor Novello Award and a BAFTA nomination for the hit single “That’s Livin Alright” (sung by Joe Fagin). Then came the Carla Lane series “Bread”, the still running evergreen “As Time Goes By” and a further BAFTA and Ivor Novello nomination for his writing and score of “Blott on the Landscape”. David also wrote and scored the music for Bob Geldorf’s movie “No 1” and re-recorded and mixed three tracks for the show album “Starlight Express”.  He supervised the writing and recording of TWO Superbowl Half Time  Productions in America, and co-composed and produced the theme for America’s Masterpiece Theatre.

 

 

Other artists he has recorded include legendary French rock star Johnny Hallyday, with  whom he had 3 hit singles and a No 1 album, Greece’s Demis Roussos, John Parr, the legendary Jimmy Webb and the late “genius” Harry Nilsson , American  superstar Gene Pitney , British vocal group Wall Street Crash,  Alvin Stardust, and Starsky and Hutch’s David Soul.

 

In 2003 David was appointed as the Musical Supervisor for the new musical 125th Streetwhich opened in London’s West End at the Shaftesbury Theatre. This was followed by “Jailhouse Rockwhich again saw David as Musical Supervisor, opening in Plymouth February 2004, moving to Manchester and then opening at “The Piccadilly Theatre” in the West End APRIL 19th 2004 where it stayed for about a year and a half. October 2003 saw the first performances in Australia of the contemporary opera PARIS which David co-wrote with fellow Aussie Jon English. A concert performance on Broadway in 2005 has led to a proposed American staging and negotiations are now in progress to start workshops over there.

 

2007 is the 400th anniversary of the first permanent British settlement on American soil. From 2006 to May 2007 there were concerts, touring shows, historical recreations culminating in huge concert on the actual anniversary. The event was called “America 2007” and David was supervising and producing the musical content for this celebration which was attended by the Queen and the American President.

 

To coincide with the current world tour David has produced new albums for Barry Humphries as “Dame Edna Everage” and “Sir Les Patterson”. He has also renewed his association with Eve Graham from the New Seekers producing a new CD for her and an instrumental album with guitarist Bob Huff, whose 18 year old daughter was the youngest girl soldier to die in Iraq and this album is a tribute to her and is creating alot of interest in the States.

 

This year David has also directed and scored a new show called “The Elvis Years” which is currently touring the UK and is set to open in Europe in 2010  in addition to co-writing a new musical with Jeff Turner called “The General – A Lifetime Affair” which will open in Zurich next year.