Leslie Bricusse, lyricist for award winning musicals, dies aged 90

Composer and lyricist Leslie Bricusse, who created many well known songs from musicals and the pop charts, has died aged 90.

Briscusse had a productive partnership with Anthony Newley in the 1960s and 1970s, they wrote the musical Stop The Word I Want To Get Off, as well as The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd. 

Their song What Kind Fool Am I from their first musical collaboration became a modern standard that has been recorded by Sammy Davis Jr, Shirley Bassey, Lesley Gore, James Brown, Perry Como, and even the great Kermit the Frog.

One of their best known songs is Feelin’ Good which has become a signature tune for Michael Bublé, as well as being recorded by a diverse range of artists including Nina Simone, George Michael, Muse, John Coltrane, Lauryn Hill, Avicii, and Sophie B Hawkins.

In 1971, again with Newey, they wrote the song for the movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, it included the popular tunes The Candyman, Pure Imagination, and I’ve Got a Golden Ticket. The work was later adapted for the stage as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the musical will have it’s Perth debut in November.

The musical Doctor Dolittle was another of the duo’s success, it included the song Talk to the Animals. 

Briscusse went on to pen the lyrics to Bond themes Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice with composer John Barry, and also worked with John Williams on the love theme for the film Superman titled Can You Read My Mind? 

In the early 1980’s he collaborated with Henry Mancini on music for the Pink Panther films and he wrote the lyrics for Le Jazz Hot, the big number from the musical Victor/Victoria. 

He reunited with John Williams in 2001, writing the lyrics for the song Christmas at Hogwarts, which featured in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, the first film in the Harry Potter franchise.

Bricusse passed away aged 90 in Saint-Paul-de-Vence in France. He is survived by his wife, actress Yvonne Romain and their son Adam.

OIP Staff

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