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Bobby Willis

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Bobby Willis

Bobby Willis
Birth name Robert Willis
Born (1942-01-25)25 January 1942
Liverpool, England
Died 23 October 1999(1999-10-23) (aged 57)
Royal Free Hospital, London, England
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, talent manager, producer

Robert William "Bobby" Willis (25 January 1942 – 23 October 1999) was a British songwriter, who became the manager and eventually the husband of the late British singer and television personality Cilla Black.

Contents

  • Career 1
  • Death 2
  • Personal life 3
  • Discography 4
  • References 5

Career

His first known recorded composition, "Shy of Love" was featured on the B-side of "Love of the Loved", the debut release of Cilla Black in September 1963. During the sixties he was to write many songs for his then girlfriend to record and perform.

One of his most popular – "Is It Love?" – was featured in the beat film George Martin on some songs.

After the death of Black's manager, Brian Epstein, Willis took over her management duties and over the next thirty years, developed her popularity with television family audiences, helping Black to become the highest-paid female presenter on television.

Death

On 23 October 1999, Willis died of lung and liver cancer at the Royal Free Hospital, London. He was aged 57. His funeral service was held on 1 November at Saint Mary the Virgin Church, in Denham, Buckinghamshire. He was cremated.[1]

Personal life

Willis had 4 brothers, Albert, Ronnie, Bertie and Kenneth Willis.

Willis married Cilla Black on 25 January 1969 at Marylebone register office.[2] The couple were granted a dispensation to have their marriage blessed on 6 March 1969 at St Mary's Church, Woolton to please Black's Catholic family. (Willis was from an Anglican background).[3] They had three sons together: Robert, who was her manager (born in 1970), Ben (born in 1974), and Jack (born in 1980). Their daughter Ellen (born in 1975), lived for only 2 hours.

Discography

Singles

  • "Shy of Love"  (B-side "Love of the Loved")  UK#35  Sept. 1963
  • "Just For You"  (A-side "Anyone Who Had A Heart")  UK#1  Jan. 1964
  • "Suffer Now I Must"  (A-side "You’re My World")  UK#1  May 1964
  • "He Won’t Ask Me"  (A-side "It’s For You")  UK#7  July 1964
  • "Is It Love?"  (A-side "You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'")  UK#2  Jan. 1965
  • "I Don’t Want To Know"  (A-side "I’ve Been Wrong Before")  UK#17  Apr. 1965
  • "Night Time Is Here"  (A-side "Alfie")  UK#9  Mar. 1966
  • "From Now On" (Bobby Willis/Clive Westlake)  (A-side "I Only Live To Love You")  UK#26  Nov. 1967
  • "I Couldn't Take My Eyes Off You" (Bobby Willis/Clive Westlake)  (A-side "Step Inside Love")  UK#8  Mar. 1968
  • "London Bridge" (Bobby Willis/Clive Westlake)  (A-side "Surround Yourself With Sorrow")  UK#3  Feb. 1969
  • "That's Why I Love You" (Bobby Willis/Kenny Lynch)  (A-side "Child Of Mine")   Dec. 1970

Album Tracks

  • "Come To Me" (George Martin/Bobby Willis)  Cilla  Jan. 1965
  • "Our Brand New World" (Bobby Willis/Clive Westlake)  Images  May 1971

References

  1. ^ "Cilla's farewell to husband Bobby". BBC News. 1 November 1999. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  2. ^ "Bobby Willis, husband and manager of British pop star and TV personality Cilla Black, died yesterday aged 57". CillaBlack.com. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  3. ^ Parry, Josh (4 August 2015). "Revealed: Cilla Black's heyday in unseen photographs". The Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
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