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British Songwriter Geoff Stephens Dies Aged 86

Tuesday, 05 January 2021 Written by Jon Stickler

Photo: Charlie Gillett Collection/Redferns

Geoff Stephens has died aged 86.

The Grammy-winning British songwriter, musician and producer passed away on December 24 in Bedfordshire after battling pneumonia. He had previously tested positive and recovered from COVID-19.

The news was confirmed by Stephens' children in a text message sent to Variety: "Dad survived Covid-19 in the spring but passed away with my Mum [Pam], his wife of 63 years, by his bedside, following a bout of pneumonia."

His death was also acknowledged by fellow writer Sir Tim Rice, who tweeted: "Very sad news in that the great British songwriter Geoff Stephens has died. RIP a major talent and lovely chap."

London-born Stephens began his career writing songs for musical theatre before breaking into the British pop scene with Tell Me When, which he co-wrote with Les Reed and which hit the UK top ten for Birmingham group the Applejacks in 1964. His success continued with The Crying Game by Dave Berry, which was also later recorded by Boy George in the '90s. It was used as the theme song for the 1992 Oscar-winning film of the same name.

In 1965, Stephens and Peter Eden discovered Donovan and co-produced the folk singer's debut album, 'What's Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid', released in the US as 'Catch The Wind'.

He picked up a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary (R&R) Recording in 1967 with his song Winchester Cathedral by the New Vaudeville Band. It was also recorded by Frank Sinatra.

Throughout his prolific career, Stephens also penned songs for artists including Tom Jones, Scott Walker, Elvis Presley and the Hollies.

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