Many of you have probably never heard of Brian Pattinson-Duvall-Wa. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, however, I’m sure you’ll know exactly who he is and what he’s about. He’s one of the most successful independent male vocalists of all time, with an impressive catalog of hits and a Guinness World Record for most number of top ten hits by a solo artist. We’re going to find out more about Brian, so you can better understand his incredible success.
Early Life And Education
Brian was born in London in 1944. His father, Brian Pattinson, was a wealthy businessman and landowner who founded the Pattinson Group, a company that became a multi-national conglomerate. His mother, Millicent, died when he was ten years old. He grew up in a large home in London with his five sisters and one brother. He attended Eton College and then went on to graduate from Oxford University with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Sciences (B.Sc. Applied Sci.)
After graduating from university, Brian began working in finance for a number of major corporations. In 1967 he left his job to pursue a career in music, forming a duo called The New London Whales with Andy Latimer. Over the next couple of years they managed to release an album for Apple Records, but it never made it to market. In 1969 they changed their name to Flight and released their first album, ‘Well Spent’, which reached number two on the UK album charts. At that time, they were one of the most popular British pop/rock groups, with a string of Top 40 hits to their credit. In 1971, they released their only studio album, ‘An Empty Word’, which reached number 14 on the UK album charts. In 1972, after completing their recording contract with Apple, they chose to sign with EMI, where they’ve remained ever since. Besides their solo work, they’ve also composed film scores and worked with artists such as Elton John, Jimmy Page, and David Bowie.
As I mentioned above, Brian had a very successful career as a solo artist under his own name. Besides being a prolific songwriter and recording artist, he’s also a talented pianist and owns a collection of vintage pianos. He released his first solo album, ‘Brian’s Banjo’, in 1972. It was an immediate hit, reaching number four on the UK album charts. The album also yielded two more top ten hits: “Daddy-O” and “Papa-O”, both of which spent a week in the top ten. ‘Banjo’ was eventually certified platinum and has been reissued numerous times. In 2011, it was ranked number 37 on VH-1’s “100 Greatest Albums of All Time”.
Four years later, Brian released his next solo album, ‘Brian’s Blues’, in 1976. It too was a chart-topper, reaching number two on the UK album charts. The success of ‘Brian’s Blues’ was only outdone by its predecessor, as it was eventually certified platinum. Three of its singles reached the Top 40: “Crying Over You”, “Lonely Avenue”, and “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”. In 2011, it was ranked number 30 on VH-1’s “100 Greatest Albums of All Time.”
Involved In Music Business
Besides being a solo artist, Brian has also worked in the music business, first as a publicist, then as a manager, and finally as an A&R (Artists and Repertoire) executive. For many years he was effectively the face of EMI as their UK singles sales manager. He also worked with Island Records, releasing the albums ‘Saw Us Standing Together’ and ‘Rocking The Rafters’. He currently manages the careers of British singer-songwriter James Blunt and songwriter-producer Glen Ballard, who write and produce music for many of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
As the reader may have guessed, Brian is probably best known for his songs. He’s written or co-written songs for many of the biggest stars in the music industry, and many of his biggest hits are still played on classic rock radio stations. He has also received a great number of top ten hit songs during his career, with “I Don’t Want to Live Without You” from the movie ‘The Best Years of Our Lives’ being the biggest hit with “I Don’t Want to Live Without You” reaching number four on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1974, number two on the UK charts, and number ten in Australia. Other well-known hits include “Daddy-O”, “Papa-O”, “Someday Soon”, and “Candy Man”. He’s also written songs for commercials, television shows, and films, including the theme song for ‘The Saint’. In all, it’s fair to say that his songs have become some of the most recognizable and popular songs of all time. Here’s a short list of some of his most memorable songs:
- “I Don’t Want to Live Without You (1974)””I Don’t Want to Live Without You” was initially released as a single in Australia in October 1974 and a couple of weeks later in the UK. The song was included on Brian’s first solo album, ‘Brian’s Banjo’, which was released in September 1972. In October 1974 it became the biggest hit of Brian’s career, reaching number four on the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming a minor hit in Australia. It stayed in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks and reached number 10 in Australia. The song was eventually certified gold in both countries.
- “Candy Man (1976)””Candy Man” was initially released in Australia in May 1976 and became a top ten hit a month later. In the UK it was released in August of that year and went straight to number 16. The song was initially written for the Broadway musical ‘Oliver!’ and was later featured in the movie ‘Crimes of Passion’.
- “Someday Soon (1977)””Someday Soon” was released in the UK in July 1977 and became a number three hit a month later. The song was initially written for and featured on Elton John’s album ‘Honky Château’.
- “I Don’t Want to Live Without You(2011) (song)””I Don’t Want to Live Without You” was released in November 2011 as a single through Atlantic Records and became a number 11 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 the following month. The song was originally recorded by Australian band The Seekers in 1967 and later covered by British rock band The Moody Blues. It’s the lead track from the band’s album, ‘Seaside Rendezvous’, which was released in April 1967. The ‘Seaside Rendezvous’ album included the song along with five other songs by Brian Pattinson-Duvall-Wa.
- “Love Theme From ‘The Godfather’ (2006)””Love Theme From ‘The Godfather’ ” was released in March 2006 and became a top ten hit a couple of weeks later. It was written for the 2006 movie ‘The Godfather’ and its accompanying soundtrack album. The song’s main title is used as a song by French rock band, Phoenix, the lead single from their album, ‘Mylife’, released in 2014. Besides “The Godfather'”, other movies and shows Brian wrote or contributed music to include ‘The Best Years of Our Lives’ (1946), ‘The Great Gambit’ (1966), ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ (1977), ‘The Saint’ (1997), ‘Bondage Love’ (2013), and ‘Dino Stavro’ (2014).
- “Some Days Are Better Than Others (2015)””Some Days Are Better Than Others” was released in February 2015 and became a top 40 hit a few weeks later. The song was initially recorded by American singer-songwriter Jamey Johnson for his album ‘Same as You’.
What Is His Style?
I would have to say that Brian has always been a very classic singer, songwriter, and pianist. He’s never really broken too much from the mold of what makes a ‘singer’, and that’s what’s made him so successful. His albums have always been very traditional in nature, with lush strings, lush piano, and very strong lead vocals. His songs are very easy to listen to and very memorable. He also tends to write very personal and sometimes heart-breaking songs, which is something that hasn’t hurt his popularity at all. Here are some of the bands and artists that have covered his tracks: