Gary Osborne

Edwin Shaw 

Paddy Dailey

Kathy Kirby

Rod McKuen 

Bobby Crush

Pete Murray

Lita Roza

Lee Stevens

Danny La Rue

Sandra Caron

Anita Harris

Eric Hall

Johnny Tudor

Jon Pertwee

 

 

 

 

 


Gary Osborne

Gary Osborne is the son of the top musical conductor, arranger and composer Tony Osborne who worked with many of the top names of the 50s and 60s including Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey, Eartha Kitt, Buddy Greco and Johnnie Mathis, as well as with Dorothy Squires.  Gary himself has carved a highly successful career as a singer and songwriter, working with Elton John on several best-selling albums, and co-writing such Elton hits as Part-Time Love, Little Jeannie and Blue Eyes.  He also penned the lyric for Kiki Dee’s international hit Amoreuse, and co-wrote and did backing vocals for Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds double-album which has sold more than thirteen million copies around the world, and re-entered the charts in 2006.  Justin Hayward’s Top 10 hit Forever Autumn was also co-written by Gary, who here talks of his memories of Dorothy Squires:

I first met Dorothy as a very young boy.  My parents, Joan and Tony, lived in Bickenhall Mansions in London’s Baker Street and it wasn’t unusual to have famous people dropping by our home at all times of the day.  I’ve never been overawed by people’s stardom, simply because I grew up surrounded by it.  I didn’t know anything else.

Dad worked with many of the top singers and musicians of the day, he was an easy person to get on with, but enjoyed a particular rapport with the female artists with whom he worked.  I guess I was about six or seven years old when I first met Dorothy and her then-husband Roger Moore.  She swore like a trooper and it is from her that I heard the F word for the first time, and also the second, third, fourth and fifth times!  You’ve got to remember that it was an era when there was no swearing on television, and people just didn’t swear in front of the kids.

Dorothy had had a tough upbringing, so I guess that the swearing just came second nature to her, and she was a larger-than-life character so it was easy to forgive her.  She’d say to me, when she’d come out with a few expletives, “Oh you don’t mind, Gary, do you?” (imitating her Welsh accent).  And I didn’t mind really, you couldn’t be upset with her.

Uncle Roger and Auntie Dorothy, as I used to call them, would often stay over at the apartment if they had been in town and enjoyed a few drinks, rather than driving all the way back home to Bexley.  Similarly if Dorothy or Roger had early morning in-town meetings, they’d often stay with us.  Other artists used to stay too including Marion Ryan, who would tuck me into bed – and probably gave me my first stiffie!

In those days Roger was starring as Ivanhoe on television and I’d rush home to watch him sitting on his horse, looking very handsome, wearing his chain-mail armour, holding a lance and always saving the damsel at the end of the day.  One minute he was sat there in our home, and the next I was watching him playing the hero on black and white television!  Roger was a lovely man, and very caring about children, always happy to spend time with them.

Of course, after the break-up between him and Dorothy, he became the anti-Christ.  Talk about a woman scorned … afterwards it was impossible to be a friend of both, so far as Dorothy was concerned.  I don’t think that she ever really recovered from the breakdown of the marriage, which was a great pity.  Many, many years later, in the 80s, I was at a Liza Minnelli concert at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, and I saw Roger sitting a few rows away.  My female companion persuaded me to go over to him, and I think that he initially thought that I was going to ask for an autograph.

I said, ‘Excuse me Mr. Moore, I haven’t come to ask for your autograph, but I wondered if you remember Tony and Joan Osborne?’  He looked at me curiously, and then said: ‘You’re not Gary are you?’  I was thrilled that after 35 years he still remembered my parents and me, and he was even aware of my work with Elton John.

Dad arranged and conducted many recording sessions for Dorothy, including Say It With Flowers in 1961, which was a considerable hit for her.  I remember that there was a launch party around the swimming pool at Dorothy’s Bexley mansion, and people like a very young Cliff Richard were there.  There was also considerable publicity mileage with a press photograph, which showed Dorothy holding the conductor’s baton, my father playing the piano, and Russ at the microphone – a reversal of all their roles on the recording session!

There were many parties at Bexley that I can recall going to as a young kid, in fact I still went to some of them almost up to the time of the dreadful fire at the house in which Dorothy almost lost her life in the mid-70s.  The actor John Le Mesurier was often there – he enjoyed his drink and I still recall the stories that he used to regale everybody with.  There were other parties too, including at my parent’s second home in Rustington on the south coast, where everybody would sunbathe on the roof – it wasn’t unusual to see people like Dorothy, Eve Boswell, Marion Ryan and many other artists there, all socialising together

I think that the so-called BBC payola scandal, which broke in 1971, quite harmed Dorothy’s career.  She’d only recently made the big comeback at the London Palladium, but what she did was no worse than what a lot of other people in the business were doing at the time.  Dorothy was accused of bribing a BBC radio producer to play her records on the very popular programme Two Way Family Favourites, by paying for his holiday in Malta, but her records like Till and My Way would have been played on the programme anyway, because they fitted into its musical format. Back then everybody knew everybody in the music business and it wasn’t unusual to offer a little hospitality as a friendly gesture.  It certainly wasn’t meant to be construed as bribery and corruption.  I guess it was a more innocent age though.

Dorothy was very much a part of my growing up and she was a great lady.  This website brings back many happy memories.  I’m glad to report that my Dad, Tony Osborne, is still around and very well, although he has lived in Sydney, Australia, for many years now.  He was 85 years old last birthday and I can tell you that he’s still going strong!


Edwin Shaw, production co-ordinator at Really Useful Theatres, owned by Lord Lloyd-Webber, was the box office manager at the London Palladium for many years, and remembers Dorothy Squires’ comeback show in December 1970.

Edwin Shaw

Edwin recalls:

That was a remarkable occasion.  I remember when the press announced that Dorothy Squires had hired the London Palladium to stage her own show, and within a couple of hours all 2,200 tickets had sold out.  There were people queuing around the block.  Even the press had to buy their own tickets, there were just none to spare.

When Dorothy came to see Ted Gollop of Moss Empires, and said that she wanted to hire the theatre, he thought that she wanted to put another act on!  Dorothy said, No, it’s for me’.  After the contract was signed, Dorothy came to see me about ticketing, and asked what prices she should charge.  I think she was a bit nervous at this point: she knew that if she didn’t get it right, she could end up singing on the vast Palladium stage with just a few fans in the auditorium.  She could have charged rock-bottom prices but in fact they went at the going rate of the time.

She got it just right.  Even the well-known ticket tout Stan Flashman had difficulty getting extra tickets, although he had people planted in the queue from very early on to buy up tickets so that he could re-sell them afterwards.  He probably made more money out of it than Dot!

A lot of people thought that Dorothy was being foolish, and some even went so far as to tell her to ‘get a grip’ on herself, but she stood by her convictions.  On the night itself, Dorothy was absolutely electrifying, from the moment she walked onstage.  She certainly knew how to milk an audience and within a couple of minutes they were like putty in her hands.

She returned to the London Palladium on many more occasions, and was even booked by Moss Empires to do two weeks at the theatre in July 1974, with Russ Conway as her support act.  There were other triumphs too, including the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, and a memorable appearance at the Victoria Palace when Mrs Shufflewick was on the bill.  For anybody who was there though, that 1970 London Palladium comeback concert was totally unforgettable.


Paddy Dailey

I first met Dorothy at the Met, Edgeware Road in 1953 I believe, when I was introduced to her and her new fiancée Roger Moore. A couple of weeks previously all the cast of the show I was in went to see the film "The first time I saw Paris" in which Roger appeared. As an avid cinemagoer I was very impressed by Roger and enthused about what a good looking guy he was.

This gave me a hard time for the next couple of weeks as the cast jokingly teased me about" fancying the film actor".

As a consequence when Dorothy and Roger came to visit the Manager of our show he insisted that I meet Roger in
person. To my embarrassment Eddie Lee introduced me to Roger and told me to tell him what I had been saying about him. I said I thought he was going to be a great Hollywood Star. They both had a good laugh. Dorothy said I think you're right and Roger very humbly thanked me in his inimitable charming way. Twenty years later he reminded me of that meeting.

After that we worked with Dorothy in Variety. The first date we did with her was at The New Theatre, Cardiff. We arrived at the Theatre at 8am in the morning and put our Band Parts down in the "foots" as was the practice.

The band call was 11am and when we went to take our rehearsal, Dorothy's pianist was about to hand out her parts to the Orchestra. I insisted that we were down first and would take the first call. This caused a lot of argument and
threats were made about what Dorothy would do? Now this would seem to be the type of situation where she would blow her top (if you are to believe all the stories you hear about her temper). Instead Dorothy never mentioned it. In fact the day after we opened we got a bad write up in the local paper and Dorothy got on the phone to the Editor and gave him hell , as
only she could.

My partner and I watched "Dot" every performance when we worked with her and we learned many of the tricks of our trade from her. She was always ready to give us pointers on our performance. For our play off tabs we took "It's a Pity to Say Goodnight", which was one of Dot's numbers.

The last time we saw her was just after we arrived back from the States. She was in the audience with Billy Smart Jnr, and when we finished our act to thunderous applause she jumped up and said" **** off back to the States, you're too good for this place". We went to join her for a drink and I said "I'm glad to see you are still your sophisticated self. She laughed and replied "Well what I said is true" and continued to encourage us to return to the U.S.A.

There was a particular occasion in which my attitude was likened to Dorothy's', and that was by Billy Marsh, of The Grade Organisation. Our Manager had refused to sign a contract on our behalf, and I had given my word that we would do the dates. As a consequence I went and
signed the contract myself. Billy Marsh told me that the only other person who acted in this manner was Dot Squires and she always kept her word. I took this a as a great compliment. He went on to tell me that she was a very unusual person. Apparently he had asked her one time to do a tour for him, and when she told him what she wanted, he told her that his budget did not go to that amount. Dot said she did not work for less than she expected but she would do him a favour by doing the tour for nothing with the proviso that he owed her a favour.

Most people who knew Dorothy would describe her as a diamond and that would be a perfect description. Think about it? A diamond takes many years to come to perfection. It is tempered by it's environment and eventually you have a rough stone, hard and durable. It then goes through the process of cutting, polishing and refining until it emerges as a thing of beauty, full of fire,multi facetted,colourful and brilliant That was Dorothy Squires, a lady tempered by her experiences.

She arrived as a rough talent and she became the polished artist that her public adored, full of fire, with many sides to her, certainly colourful and absolutely brilliant. She was truthful to a fault, did not suffer fools gladly and when she was upset she didn't take prisoners. I still listen to Dot's records and wonder at the amazing quality in her voice. In my opinion there was none better than she, and the world is a much sadder place without her in it.


Kathy KirbyKathy Kirby

Kathy Kirby would like to graciously accept the invitation to Dorothy’s party….

When Frank Sinatra recorded My Way and took the disc to number 5 in the charts in 1969 - every top star of the time was eager to record the song too. There have been many female vocal versions, but no one seems to have quite matched Dorothy’s interpretation (as proved by her chart success with the disc) except maybe, Shirley Bassey and Kathy Kirby.

When Kathy was appearing at the ‘Theatre Royal’, Brighton in 1970, Dorothy went along to see the show with showbiz friend, Lita Roza. Who wouldn’t like to have been in earshot to Dorothy’s comment at that particular performance - when Kathy launched into the opening bars of My Way … ?! (Enough said!)

Today, Kathy, like Dorothy, has a loyal and devoted fan following. 

Kathy recalls ‘Dorothy had a reputation as a wonderful hostess within the showbiz circle. I was never a party person - I much preferred to go out for a quiet dinner with Bert (Ambrose) or with close friends to an after-show supper club. When party invitations arrived I often had to decline anyway, as I always seemed to be working. But on one occasion, I did manage to accept an invite to one of Dorothy’s parties at her spectacular home. For the party, I distinctly remember I wore tight white jeans and purple shoes – the height of fashion in the 1970s! During the party, for some reason Dorothy became upset. Her sister was there too and caressed and calmed her down – I thought it was very sweet, she seemed so close to her sister - and was very sweet to me too’.

Visit Kathy’s authorised tribute site – www.kathykirby.org.uk


Rod McKuenRod McKuen

The American songwriter and performer Rod McKuen writes about Dorothy on his own website (www.mckuen.com). Responding to an e-mail sent by someone with the initials TWC, Rod writes:

Dorothy was indeed fabulous, in every sense of the word.  On stage she was a showstopper who gave every song she sang a new perspective.  And what a voice!  There must be something in the Welsh water to have produced Dorothy, Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones, to name but a few of the great vocalists that hail from South Wales.

Events in her personal life often made the front pages of the world press; Billy Reid wrote love songs like The Gypsy and A Tree In The Meadow for her, and her stormy marriage to, and even stormier divorce from, actor Roger Moore kept news reporters happy.

She was more than marvelous, up for anything and up to nearly everything.  Even an early dinner with Dottie usually wasn’t over until dawn.  No one ever complained because she was such delightful company and a great lady in the bargain.  I remember once after a lengthy and boozy dinner, and a bit of pub crawling, we were walking along the Thames and as the sun began to rise she looked at me and said, ‘Where shall we have breakfast?’

I loved her version of Solitude’s My Home, no one has ever performed it better.  I wish her CD Live At The Dominion was available here in the States.  Unfortunately it has been some time since any of her recordings have been released in my country.  I have Mother’s Day, With All My Heart and the 1970 and 1971 Palladium CDs, but that’s about it.  Producer Wade Alexander and I always wanted to record Dorothy for Stanyan but we never got around to it.

Dorothy recorded Rod’s song Solitude’s My Home and it was released as a single in 1973.  She also performed the song at her1972 London Palladium concert, and it was subsequently featured on the live album that followed in 1973.  Unfortunately, to date, it has never been released on CD.  Rod of course has been responsible for writing many hit numbers including If You Go Away (which he translated from Jacques Brel’s original Ne Me Quitte Pas) and Love’s Been Good To Me, performed by Frank Sinatra.  In fact Sinatra recorded a whole album of Rod’s songs, called A Man Alone.
 

Bobby CrushBobby Crush

I guess I’ve been aware of Dorothy Squires ever since she had a hit back in 1969 with her recording of For Once In My Life.  My tastes in music were always quite eclectic and this mystified a lot of my pals at school!

We had a ‘Music Club’ at lunchtimes, where we were encouraged to bring in selections from our record collections to share with our schoolmates.  Whilst most of my friends brought in albums by The Rolling Stones, the Mothers of Invention and Captain Beefheart, I offered up Lena Horne, Dusty Springfield, Barbra Streisand, Dorothy Squires etc … needless to say, in the face of such competition, my albums nearly always ended up at the bottom of the pile!

But there was something rather magical to me about performers like Dot Squires … artists who never gave less than one hundred percent, no matter what traumas were happening in their lives.

I first met Dot in 1969 when she was promoting For Once In My Life.  In Leyton, East London, where I grew up, the DJ Alan Freeman had a record shop and Dot appeared at the opening of the store. I’ll always remember how she breezed into that shop, big fur hat, dark glasses, looking every inch a star … I was totally in awe!  She signed my copy of the single and made a big fuss of the fact that I, a 15-year-old teenager, was buying her version in favour of Stevie Wonder’s!

Two years later I saw Dot perform at the London Palladium in her second sell-out concert there (I couldn’t get tickets for the 1970 show as it sold out within 24 hours!).  She was magnificent … singing her heart out in that powerhouse fashion of hers for two hours and the audience just went crazy at the end … it was like a football crowd!

From that moment, I was hooked.  I went out and bought every Dorothy Squires recording I could find and, oh boy, there were a lot of them … she’d been recording since the 40s.  From these albums, I learned all the Billy Reid songs which I wove into my weekend appearances as a pub pianist in a couple of venues in Essex (working for £1 an hour – three hours on a Saturday, and two and a half hours on a Sunday!).

In 1972 I got my big TV break on Opportunity Knocks! and subsequently found myself recording for Philips Records with Dot’s friend and record producer, Norman Newell.  I got to meet Dot a few times through Norman and found her to be lively company… I’d never before heard such language from a woman but my goodness, what a hoot!

I also appeared on a TV chat show with her called Take Two, where they had a different subject every week … the theme of our particular show was Showbusiness.  They had all these different examples on the programme … Windsor Davies who had taken 30 years to become a household name, myself who had taken a relatively short time in comparison, the actress Adrienne Corri who didn’t really like show business, and Dot who loved it … it was a really interesting mix.

Adrienne Corri and Dot ended up having a flaming row on the show and, because it was live television, everything went out unedited!  Here were two opinionated and fiery women having a right go at each other … it certainly made for riveting reality television viewing!

I met Dorothy on quite a few occasions after that … always going to her London shows and being welcomed like a long-lost son.  She really was quite an extraordinary performer…. she had great charisma and there was always a sense of danger about her shows.  Would she make that last note?  Would she get through the song without losing the lyric?  Would she keep her cool and not have a go at the musicians?  This all went to make for a unique theatrical experience.

I’ll always remember Dot for being a consummate performer, and a formidable and highly entertaining woman.  Quite simply, there will never be another Dorothy Squires.

  • Bobby Crush has recently completed a West End season playing the lead role in Liberace’s Suit, for which he received some brilliant notices.  He’s currently completing his autobiography, Not The Boy Next Door, due to be published in 2005.

Read more on Bobby Crush »


Pete Murray

Sheer guts, tremendous charisma, and showmanship.  There has never been anybody before or since to touch Dorothy Squires.


Lita Roza Remembers Dorothy

Lita Roza (Burtey Fen Collection)From her London home, Lita shares her memories of Dorothy. As two of this country’s leading female vocalists they met frequently at showbiz events and ‘offstage’ also became good friends. The two stars also share a strong and loyal gay following.

‘What can I say – most of it’s wicked!’ Lita laughs, when we asked her to comment for the Official Dorothy Squires Website. ‘You’ll have to censor it!’ she adds!

I first became aware of Dorothy around 1940. I was about 14 at the time and working in a florist shop opposite the Pavilion Theatre in Liverpool. The owner, Mr Jennings, asked me one day what I’d like to do when I grew up. I replied I that I wanted to be a singer. He said I’d be OK if I could be even half as good as that girl at the theatre over the road.  I looked up and saw that Dorothy Squires was appearing there with Billy Reid and his accordion band.

I can’t really recall when I first met Dorothy. We often used to bump into each other in publishers offices in Denmark Street and exchange pleasantries. Then I remember accompanying Dot to court for one of her first big lawsuits in the late 50s. It was to gain royalties and PRS for the songs Billy Reid had written for her back in the 40s.He had been claiming all the royalties after he’d returned to his wife when Dot married Roger. We were both with the Pye-Nixa label at the time and she had just re-recorded those Reid compositions for the album Dorothy Squires sings Billy Reid. Lita Roza

Her house parties in Bexley became regular get-togethers for the show business crowd. Everyone would be there from Shirley Bassey, Russ Conway and Marion Ryan to record producers and music publishers. She was an excellent hostess. Dorothy had a white piano in the living room and a spotlight fixed to the spot where her guests would have to perform! The main attraction though was Dorothy of course …the rest of us were simply her supporting acts!!

Dorothy did frighten people, because she had such a strong personality - but we always got along just fine. She was a larger than life character – a one off – but thoroughly professional.  I loved her company - she was beautifully outrageous! There’ll never be another Dot Squires!

Lita Roza November 20th 2004

visit Lita Roza's Official Website»
 


Lee Stevens with Dorothy SquiresLee Stevens, LBC/Southern Counties Radio Broadcaster

I first met Dorothy back in the early 50s when we were both appearing in variety – Dot was headlining at Leeds Empire and I was doing my act at the City Varieties.  It was the beginning of a long friendship that endured until the end of her life.

Dorothy was a huge star back then but she always made the time to talk to people and make them feel comfortable.  I was always a great fan of her singing style and, after that first meeting in Leeds, we became firm friends.  I often used to go to her house in Bexley, even staying at Christmas, and Dorothy was always the most wonderful and generous hostess to anyone who was staying at her home.  She was a genuinely caring woman.

As a stage performer, Dorothy was second to none in my opinion … she was one of the last of the great variety artists, and had risen through its ranks to become a big star.  When traditional variety died, she turned to the concert stage and continued to have great success.  Not many people realise that she was the first British artist to headline at the Talk of the Town theatre restaurant in London’s West End, back in 1961, and she was the first popular entertainment performer to take the stage at the Barbican Concert Hall.  She was also one of the first light entertainment artists to appear at the Royal Albert Hall, which previously had always been a venue for classical music concerts.

Apart from knowing Dorothy as a friend, I was the promoter for several of her concerts back in the 70s.  I remember that I booked her to do a show at Croydon’s Fairfield Hall during a week of variety that included other shows by Morecambe & Wise, Bob Monkhouse and Diana Dors.  Dorothy did the best business of the week – it was a complete sell-out.  I also booked several TV shows for her including TV-AM when she performed I Am What I Am.  She had an opportunity to sing the song on the Sunday night show Live From Her Majesty’s but she refused because someone else had top billing.  “No one goes on after Squires,” she said.

But that was Dot for you.  She was a very feisty woman, and could be very stubborn, but she was also very loveable and extremely loyal to her friends and fans.  I have so many memories of her … I remember breaking the news to her that she had sold out the London Palladium in just a matter of hours, and she could hardly believe it!  I tried to get a ticket myself but couldn’t.  Fortunately, Dorothy had held some back for her friends so I did get to see that legendary show. 

Then there was the time she came round to my flat with the initial white label album pressings of the show.  I’d just got a new dog, a West Highlander, but hadn’t yet named her.  Dorothy loved animals and was all over her.  She asked her name and I said I hadn’t thought of one yet.  Dorothy put her fingers in the champagne that she was drinking, and sprinkled some of it over the dog, saying ‘I name you Dot’!  And so Dot she became!

Dorothy is still one of the most requested artists on the various radio programmes that I do, and I will always ensure that listeners hear her music.  She was a magnificent performer, whether appearing in variety, on the concert stage or in cabaret.  There’s rarely a day goes by in fact when I don’t think of her and I still miss her music, personality and friendship.”

Read more on Lee Stevens »

Danny La RueDanny La Rue

I knew Dorothy for well over forty years, and I often did an impersonation of her in my stage shows, which she absolutely loved.  I remember ‘doing’ her one year in front of the Queen Mother at the Royal Variety Performance and it brought the house down!

I was with Shirley Bassey earlier this year, at a party to celebrate her 50th anniversary in the business, and we were talking about Dot.  Shirley said: ‘Dot showed the way for belting singers’, and it’s quite true.  Before Dorothy, female vocalists tended to be rather restrained in their vocal delivery.  Dorothy just blasted them out.  I particularly loved her music during the Billy Reid period – that was probably when she was at her most mellow.

I saw many of Dot’s concert performances over the years, and they were always great occasions.  She always had the audience in the palm of her hand.  In my opinion she was one of our greatest singers – she showed other performers the way to do it.  She was also a talented songwriter, something that is overlooked.  One of her biggest hits was Say It With Flowers, which she wrote, and when I was recording an album called To Mother With Love I decided to include the song.  It was typical of Dorothy that she insisted on writing a special new lyric for me to sing – she was like that, always a very generous person, and very warm hearted.

Quite simply, Dorothy was wonderful – both as a performer and as a person.  She’s missed by a lot of people and it’s amazing how often her name still comes up in conversation.  When she died in 1998, she left behind a huge gap that will never be filled.

Sandra CaronSandra Caron (actress sister of Alma Cogan)

Although their singing styles were really very different, I know that Alma was a great admirer of Dorothy as a singer, and I think that Dorothy felt the same about Alma.  They shared the same record label - EMI’s Columbia - for several years, and even had the same recording manager, Norman Newell, so were always bumping into each other, either in the Abbey Road recording studio, at social gatherings, or attending parties. 

When Alma opened in cabaret at The Talk Of The Town theatre restaurant in 1964 Dorothy was out there in the audience with Norman, and they were both shouting out song requests to her!  Similarly, Alma and Alan Freeman were there for one of Dorothy’s opening nights in the West End, and led the standing ovation at the end of the show.

Alma was renowned for her sometimes rather wicked impersonations of her fellow professionals – she would send up performers like Shirley Bassey, Eartha Kitt and Vera Lynn, but always in a very affectionate way.  On one of her ITV Startime programmes Russ Conway was the support guest and he had recently had a Top 30 hit single with Dorothy on Say It With Flowers.  Alma did a wonderful impersonation of Dorothy singing the song, as a way of introducing Russ.  Apparently, Dorothy loved it!

Dorothy and Alma often attended the same charity functions, and always had great fun when they were together.  They both appeared on the same tribute show to the late Michael Holliday, which was held at the Prince of Wales Theatre in April 1964.  Once Alma went to one of Dorothy’s famous parties at her home in Bexley, and had a mishap – the high heel fell off one of her shoes!  Dorothy immediately went to find a pair of her own shoes that Alma could wear but unfortunately they were a couple of sizes too small. After teetering around rather uncertainly, Alma decided better of it and went bare footed for the rest of the evening!


Anita HarrisAnita Harris

Dorothy was an extraordinary performer.  Her audiences adored her.  She was the first British artist to play The Talk Of The Town in London and many years later, when I trod the same ‘Talk’ boards for five seasons, the stage staff still spoke about Dorothy with awe, affection – and fear!

Dorothy was a singer’s singer.  She had a great understanding and original interpretation of lyrics.  Like Ethel Merman she could bring the roof down with her glorious vocal attack and magnificent notes.  At the same time she could ring the changes and attract rapt attention from capacity audiences with her versions of Billy Reid songs like It’s A Pity To Say Goodnight, This Is My Mother’s Day and Tree In A Meadow, and powerful ballads like Till and My Way.

Dorothy was a one-off.  I knew her as sweet, encouraging and funny.  We all miss her and that individual feisty quality she brought both to the stage and recording studios.

Eric Hall

Radio broadcaster and football agent Eric Hall worked with Dorothy in the 70s, promoting her records both for EMI Records and President Records.  He also interviewed her twice on his radio programme.

As far as I am concerned, Dorothy Squires was the most under-rated singer in the world.  She was certainly the greatest female singer we have ever had in this country.  She understood what a lyric was all about – nobody sang a ballad like Dot.  Dorothy was also a great character and a very warm hearted person, who would always help somebody in need.

Johnny Tudor

Welsh singer and entertainer Johnny Tudor appeared on many of Dorothy Squires’ concert bills back in the 70s including the legendary 1970 London Palladium show, soon after he had won the prestigious Knokke Song Festival in Belgium.

I knew Dot all of my life and appeared with her on many concert bills, including at the London Palladium and the Royal Albert Hall.  She looked on me as part of the family because, when she first went to London at the age of 16, my father befriended her.  She had nowhere to stay so he took her home to his mother and she slept head to toe in the same bed as my Grandmother and Grandfather.

I have so many memories of Dot, but perhaps one of the most vivid was when I appeared at the Palladium with her, and the tour we did following that.  Most people know what a great success that was.

She was a very volatile character but she also had a soft side.  When I was going through my divorce I went to stay with her.  She knew I was in a bad way and insisted that I shouldn’t be left alone, so she took me to EMI’s Abbey Road recording studios where she was recording an album with Norman Newell.  Just listening to Dot wring every bit of emotion out of her songs was a very moving experience and on the way back to her house I got very depressed.

I was driving her Buick up the M4 to Bray and it started to snow.  When she asked me what was wrong I told her it was the divorce, and we both burst into tears as she remembered her divorce from Roger.  She ordered me to stop the car but I told her we couldn’t as we were on the M4!  She screamed for me to stop so I pulled over onto the hard shoulder and she jumped out, grabbed a handful of snow, rammed a purple heart into my mouth, took one herself and swallowed it down with the snow.  We continued up the M4 as high as kites!

* Johnny is hoping to develop a film on Dorothy’s life, called Edna May, with Oscar nominated director Paul Turner.

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