Les Reed, who has died aged 83, was a backroom legend of British pop. You may not know the name but you almost certainly know his songs. He wrote It’s Not Unusual and Delilah for Tom Jones, The Last Waltz for Engelbert Humperdinck and There’s A Kind of Hush for Herman’s Hermits.

When the Sixties were swinging and the Beatles ruled the world, Reed was the UK’s king of easy listening. His career involved stints as pianist with the John Barry 7, musical director on the TV programme Ready Steady Go and composer/arranger of so many hits that he was rarely out of the charts for a decade. His songs have been recorded by some of the greatest stars of 20th-century popular music: Elvis Presley, Otis Redding,…



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