Vince Hill, whose with Sound of Music cover Edelweiss reached no 2, dies at 89 | Pop and rock

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British pop singer Vince Hill, who reached No 2 in the UK charts in 1967 with a cover of The Sound of Music song Edelweiss, has died at the age of 89.

Hill died peacefully at home in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire on Saturday, according to a statement on his website. He had worked with leading lights from the world of entertainment including Dame Barbara Windsor, Dame Vera Lynn, Tony Christie and Cilla Black.

The statement said: “Vince created a musical legacy … He and his tunes will remain forever in our hearts.” It added that he was a “one of a kind” and a “wonderful guy” who was “loved universally” and asked that people respect the privacy of his friends and family.

Vince Hill released his first album in 1962. Photograph: ITV/Shutterstock

Born in Coventry in 1934, Hill began singing as a teenager and released his debut album, The Rivers Run Dry, in May 1962. His subsequent long-playing records, 1967’s Edelweiss and 1978’s That Love Feeling, also placed in the charts.

Hill also had hits with the tracks Take Me to Your Heart Again, Roses of Picardy, Love Letters in the Sand, and Importance of Your Love throughout the 1960s and 70s.

Johnny Mans, who produced and promoted Hill’s live shows, said in a statement to the PA news agency that he was saddened by his death.

Vince Hill at home
Vince Hill at his Thames-side home. Photograph: Denis Jones/ANL/Shutterstock

Mans added: “We go back to the early 70s, when we first met at the Barn Cabaret restaurant in Braintree, and over the years I presented his numerous theatre tours and always found him to be a true gentleman and an incredible professional, with a superb singing voice.

“Both Vince and his wife Annie became close friends to me and my family and he will be missed by all who knew him. He was a star among men.”

Hill released 25 studio albums, performed at Sydney Opera House, London’s Royal Albert Hall and the London Palladium and was also a TV and radio presenter. He hosted Vince Hill’s Solid Gold Music Show on Radio 2 and an ITV chatshow called Gas Street.

Hill also performed a rendition of Jerry Herman’s Hello, Dolly! with Lulu for Margaret Thatcher before she became prime minister. They sang Hello Maggie at a Conservative Trade Unionists event in Wembley in April 1979, and Hill would follow that up by making the 1983 general election campaign song It’s Maggie for Me.

Radio DJ Tony Blackburn and lyricist Sir Tim Rice offered tributes. In a Twitter post on Sunday, Blackburn wrote: “So sorry to hear that singer Vince Hill passed away yesterday. We were in the same agency in the 60s and he was a very nice guy.”

Rice wrote: “V. sad to hear Vince Hill has died. Top ballad singer – impeccable phrasing & tone. Lovely fellow.

“At EMI I had extremely junior role as PA to his producer the late Bob Barratt, assembling music stands & getting coffee for Vince’s sessions including his huge hit Edelweiss in ’67.”

Retired boxer Frank Bruno, who worked with Hill on charity shows, reflected on him being an “ultimate professional”. He wrote: “I remember once a mic stand suddenly collapsed on him when he was about to start to sing a song. He said, ‘Let’s do that intro again’ and carried on cool as a cucumber.”

In September 2016, Hill’s wife, Annie, died of a degenerative lung condition after more than 50 years of marriage. The couple had previously lost their son, Athol, in 2014.

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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