Kennie Murray songwriter from the 70’s to present
"I answered an advert in the Brighton Evening Argus in 1977 a lyricist was looking for a co-writer I met Mike Gatton and Gatton/Murray was born.
Our first publishing contract as Gatton/ Murray was with Virgin Music Publishers in the late 70’s we sat round on bean bags at their offices in Portobello Road and Richard Branson walked in and signed the contract. We then co- wrote five tracks for Wild Willy Barrett for his eponymous “Call of the Wild “ album which sold quite well. We then landed a two year contract as house writers at the famous Surrey Sound Studios after adding bassist Roy Hurley to the partnership, Gatton Hurley Murray was born.
We were fighting over studio time with Police, 10cc, Siouxsee and the Banshees and a young Peter Cox who went on to form Go West and it was a real hotbed of talent. I remember going into the control room after a Police session overran ours and they were mixing
“Can’t Stand Losing You “ from their first album and I turned to Mick Gatton and said it is not bad but its lacking something, what do I know!
We recorded a single with Peter Cox “ Sweet Maxine “ with Judy Tzuke on backing vocals and Police producer Nigel Gray on lead guitar and me playing twelve string. We wrote some tracks for London soul singer Earlene Bentley’s album We wrote a show song for Actress Diane Keene and wrote the title song for the West End play “ The Loudest Tears in Town “ starring Rodney Bewes . We then released the first backward playing record, a 45 that played from the inside to out “ Like a Dream “ sung by Freda Gothenburg ( yes made up name she was actually a nurse from Brighton called Susan ) which sold a few copies. We wrote some songs for The Real Thing which didn’t quite make their album but one of them “ Don’t Look Now “ was translated into Danish and was a minor hit in Scandinavia.
As the music industry changed dramatically due to the advance in technology it was much harder to earn an income and also much harder to get heard because the market was being swamped and traditional songwriting went out of the window so I made the decision to find another job. I went into the coffee business and ran a successful business for a number of years but still carried on writing and occasionally recording. After Nestle’s managed to wipe my business out I decided to retire, fortunately for me this was before the pandemic as most of my business was supplying coffee to First Class lounges at 15 U.K airports. That is when I really got back into music realising I had some very good songs that hadn’t seen the light of day.
About 15 years before I retired I went to a songwriting seminar run by Matt Coldrick ( Gabrielle’s ex guitarist ) and happened to give him a few songs I had on cassette thinking he would put them in the bin amazingly he said they were really good and would I like to record them. We ended up recording four songs in his studio in Hove one of them “ Fall into Your Smile “ sung by respected Scottish singer Astrid Williamson turned out really well and we managed to get a lot of interest in it but as is the way with the music business all the promises came to nothing and Matt went to Australia to live and I went back to selling coffee but carried on writing. I had written a song “ Forgotten how to Cry “ as a tribute to Patsy Cline and local studio owner Kev Stagg said he would love to record it and we got the fantastic Melissa Storm to sing it and incredibly Kev persuaded Rob Hayman from Marillion to put some great guitar on it, it is a song I am very proud of.
In 2011 I had a serious injury to my neck which made me lose the feeling in my left arm and hand leaving me catastrophically unable to play guitar and very limited on the piano. A few years later a brilliant young French surgeon Lisa Touret asked me if I would like to have a revolutionary new procedure called a nerve transfer not yet carried out in this country to try and get back some feeling in my arm so I went for it. It was successful and although I still can’t play guitar I can now play piano reasonably well. Mick Gatton passed away in 2015 and a song we co-wrote “ English Rose “ was played at his funeral another song I am extremely proud of.
I had been with H for 33 years and when we decided to get married in 2018. We had “ Fall into Your Smile played at our wedding. Due to a spinal problem I attended a back pain clinic in Hove in 2018 and as part of the course we were asked to map out some goals for positiveness, one of mine was to record properly some of the songs I had written. On an off chance I e-mailed Matt and he replied and was back from Australia and living in Horsham I said do you fancy doing some more songs and the rest is history. He had a little studio in his garden and up to the present we have recorded sixteen songs using some top musicians , Neil Cowley, who was also on the Gabrielle world tour and played on Adele’s albums and also co-wrote with her plays keyboards on three tracks, the legendary B.J Cole plays pedal steel on four tracks and Alison David well known Brighton soul singer sings on “ Thankful “, Paula “ The Duchess “ Crawford sings on three tracks. We have had lots of radio plays and one track “Tangled Ropes” has been played world wide on Amaze Radio , I just do it for fun now because songwriting is in my blood and always will be and I have some wonderful memories of working with top people especially in the late seventies and early eighties."