Angela Morley: Composer and arranger who worked with Scott Walker and scored 'Dynasty' and 'Dallas'

The full extent of Angela Morley's credits may not be fully appreciated as she spent the first 48 years of her life as Wally Stott. Combining her identities and her talents for composition, conducting and arrangement, Morley was responsible for several film scores including Peeping Tom (1959) and The Slipper And The Rose (1975), episodes of the TV series Dallas and Dynasty, hit records by the likes of Frankie Vaughan, Shirley Bassey and Scott Walker, and TV and radio themes, including for the renowned Hancock's Half Hour.

Wally Stott was born in Leeds on 10 March 1924, where he lived with his parents above their jewellery shop. As a young boy, he was intrigued by their collection of dance records andhe recognised them by their labels before he could read. He had pianolessons, but they stopped when his father died in 1933. His mother returned to her home town of Rotherham and there he taught himself to play the alto saxophone, playing in a dance band when he was 15.

When the war started, many dance band musicians joined the forces. This enabled the young Stott to find professional work, mostly in the north of England. In 1941, he joined the widely known Oscar Rabin Band, making his recording debut on "Waiting for Sally" and "Love in Bloom".

In 1944, Stott joined Geraldo, possibly the best-known bandleader of the time and certainly the busiest. They were featured on numerous BBC programmes and they could play swing or symphonies. Bob Adams, who played saxophone alongside Stott, remarked, "Wally played the alto beautifully. It is the sexiest of instruments and there was a beautiful effeminacy about the way Wally played." Stott studied Geraldo's orchestrations, particularly those written by Robert Farnon, and he took lessons in harmony and composition with Matyas Seiber and in conducting with Walter Goehr.

In 1953, Stott became the musical director for a new British label, Philips. The label had a relatively small staff and Stott's job was to assist Johnny Franz in selecting material for the artists and then to arrange and conduct the recording session, which Franz produced. Although many of the British artists were covering American hit songs, Stott determined to make the records as distinctive as possible. Frankie Vaughan's personality was showcased in "Green Door" (1956) and Stott strove to make "The Garden of Eden" (1957) more forceful than Vaughan's competitors. Stott wrote the explosive arrangement for "Tower of Strength" (1960), an early Burt Bacharach and Hal David song, which topped the UK charts.

The same principle held for Shirley Bassey and her hits included "The Banana Boat Song" (1957), "As I Love You" (1958) and "Kiss Me Honey Honey Kiss Me" (1958). Robert Earl, who scored a hit with "I May Never Pass This Way Again" in 1958, said, "The combination of Wally Stott and Johnny Franz was very good for me. They didn't believe in fade-out endings so all those ballads end on big notes."

Philips would release American product from Columbia and when their artists visited the UK, Stott would arrange and conduct their recordings. He worked on "I Am a Camera" with Marlene Dietrich in 1954, Christmas songs with Rosemary Clooney in 1957, and the highly rated album Mel Tormé Meets The British (1957). Stott released instrumental records and both "Limelight" (1953) and "The Cat From Coos Bay" (1954) were popular. He made several albums including Tribute To Jerome Kern (1956), Christmas by the Fireside (1959) and London Pride (1960). Peter Sellers, bored with playing variety bills, once said to his audience, "I'm going to play a record for you" and watched while they listened to Stott's "Christmas Sleigh Bells".

In addition, Stott scored several films including Hindle Wakes (1952), Charley Moon (1956), The Heart of a Man (1959), The Lady Is a Square (1959) and Michael Powell's highly regarded Peeping Tom (1959). His jaunty accompaniment to riders in Hyde Park, "Rotten Row", is very familiar, and he dedicated "A Canadian In Mayfair" to Robert Farnon. He wrote and conducted for Chappell Recorded Music Library, which often supplied music for films, and Broadway arrangements for Reader's Digest mail order releases. "Wally Stott was at the top of the range," said his fellow arranger, Tony Osborne. "We all looked up to Wally because we knew that he was second only to Robert Farnon, and it was a pretty close run thing at that!"

Despite this huge workload, Stott also worked for the BBC and when another composer, Stanley Black, became ill in 1954, he was assigned to write the music for a new comedy series Hancock's Half Hour. He wrote a cantankerous signature tune, played on a tuba by Jim Powell. Although Stott had never met him, it conveyed Hancock's personality perfectly. When they did meet, Hancock congratulated him on his work. He also wrote a parody of The Archers signature tune for Hancock by playing its theme, "Barwick Green", backwards.

Stott also conducted the orchestras for "Ring-a-Ding Girl" and "Say Wonderful Things", Ronnie Carroll's entries in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1962 and 1963.

Stott was involved in rock'n'roll, too, arranging Marty Wilde's album, Wilde About Marty (1959), as well as several of his hits. He arranged Dusty Springfield's "All I See Is You" (1966) and several of Scott Walker's interpretations of Jacques Brel's deeply troubled chansons, including "Jacky" (1967). Stott arranged Walker's 1969 album, Scott 3. Walker commented that "Working with Wally Stott on Scott 3 was like having Delius writing for you."

He scored the films, The Looking Glass War (1969) and Where Eight Bells Toll (1971), both of which starred Anthony Hopkins.

If Brel had known about Stott's private life, he might have been tempted to write about it. Stott's first marriage, to the choral arranger Beryl Stott, had ended in divorce, and he had recently remarried. However, when Stott returned from a holiday in Scandinavia in 1972, Johnny Franz was astonished to find him dressed as a woman. He had undergone a sex change operation, causing one of Philips' artists, Harry Secombe, to remark that, "I've heard of leaving your heart in San Francisco, but this is ridiculous." Musicians can be coarse and blunt, and rather than be a figure of ridicule, Morley told Franz that she would no longer be conducting. Franz persuaded her to continue and, largely because of her superb musicianship, she was accepted. Morley's transformation was also acknowledged by Christine Parker, Stott's second wife, who decided to remain with Morley.

Morley received Oscar nominations for the scores of Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner's music for The Little Prince (1974) and for Robert and Richard Sherman's musical version of Cinderella, The Slipper and the Rose (1978). In 1977, Morley took over from an ailing Malcolm Williamson on Watership Down, and although the best-known music sequence, "Bright Eyes", was written by Mike Batt, Morley's "Keehar's Theme" for alto sax and orchestra is often included in concert repertoires.

Moving to Los Angeles, she worked on several TV series including Dallas, Dynasty, Cagney and Lacey, and Wonder Woman, and won three Emmys for her work. She assisted John Williams in arranging his gargantuan scores for Star Wars (1977), Superman (1978) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980) as well as many other film scores that she either arranged or conducted. She arranged Mel Tormé's Christmas Songs in 1992 and turned her attentions to the recording of her own music.

In 1994, after being close to an earthquake, Morley moved to Scottsdale, Arizona. She was involved in the recording of two CDs of her music by the John Wilson Orchestra and she often lectured on film scoring at the University of Southern California.

Spencer Leigh

Walter Stott (Angela Morley), composer and orchestrator: born Leeds, 10 March 1924; married twice (one daughter, one son); died Scottsdale, Arizona 14 January 2009.

Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Mario Balotelli in action during his Liverpool debut
football ...but he can't get on the scoresheet in impressive debut
Pigeons have been found with traces of cocaine and painkillers in their system
environmentCan species be 'de-extincted'?
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
Arts and Entertainment
A Pilgrim’s Progress is described by its publisher as “the one-and-only definitive record” of David Hockney's life and works
Loic Remy signs for Chelsea
footballBlues wrap up deal on the eve of the transfer window
Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker
Life and Style
Instagram daredevils get thousands of followers
techMeet the daredevil photographers redefining urban exploration with death-defying stunts
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'
TVDaughter says contestant was manipulated 'to boost ratings'
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£85 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education require a ...

SEN Teacher - Hull

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are recruiting for spe...

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking EY...

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: NEWLY QUALIFIED TEACHER WE CAN HELP ...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor