4 March 2014
Peter Callander, multi-award winning songwriter, publisher and record label owner, passed away on February 25th. He leaves behind wife Connie and son Jason.
Peter was a director of both the Performing Right Society (PRS) and the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) for over 20 years and served as Deputy Chairman Writer of PRS for six years. He made an invaluable contribution to the many committees he chaired and sat on. Peter stepped down from his role on the PRS board in 2010 but continued his work as an author trustee of the Members Benevolent Fund, which he joined in 1991.
Peter had been a prominent and much respected participant in music industry affairs throughout his long career, working with many organisations including BASCA and the Society of Distinguished Songwriters. He was a champion of music copyright – promoting it with a passion and campaigning for its protection.
He had hits with Tom Jones, Dusty Springfield, Cilla Black, Lulu, Cliff Richard and many more. His lyrical work included The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde (Georgie Fame); I Did What I Did for Maria (Tony Christie); Give Me Time (Dusty Springfield); and Suddenly You Love Me (Tremeloes), most of which he also produced. In addition, Peter launched a profitable publishing company, Intune Music Ltd with Mitch Murray and enjoyed major hits with their wholly owned record company Bus Stop Records including the UK no.1 Billy Don't be a Hero by Paper Lace and their follow-up The Night Chicago Died which became a no 1 single in America. The Murray/Callander friendship was lifelong and included an internationally famous twenty year writing and business partnership.
Following a massive success with Wayne Newton in the USA, “Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast” (No 4 in Billboard co-written with Geoff Stevens), Peter developed a love of country music which was to stay with him until the end of his life. A frequent visitor to Nashville, he worked with many local writers and enjoyed many successes. He reported to his UK friends “six cuts in the last year!” Peter’s final song was completed with Geoff Stevens just two days before his death.
Guy Fletcher OBE, Chairman of PRS, commented on behalf of over 100,000 songwriters, composers and music publisher members: “Peter was a tireless campaigner for the music writer community serving on the PRS and MCPS boards for over 20 years. We have lost a true friend as well as a talented songwriter. Peter was a supremely dedicated board member and an outstanding advocate for the writer community. He saw the challenges with real clarity. Peter set a high benchmark for the directors that followed him. We will miss him greatly.”
Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive of PRS, said: “Peter was one of the true greats and his passing is a huge loss to the music industry and to PRS. Throughout his career he produced hit after hit, and collaborated with other industry giants including Mitch Murray. Is this the Way to Amarillo with Tony Christie spent seven weeks at number one in the UK Singles Charts in 2005. Peter showed incredible passion for his industry and his craft. Our staff was incredibly fond of him and greatly valued his contribution to our work. We are indebted to him and his inexhaustible commitment. We shall miss him greatly and our hearts go out to his wife Connie and son Jason.”