Jackie Trent, the singer-songwriter who worked with Shirley Bassey, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra and also penned the lyrics to the theme tune to Neighbours, has died after a long illness.
The 74-year-old was surrounded by family and friends as she died on Saturday morning on the Spanish island of Menorca, where she lived with her husband Colin Gregory.
Trent, who topped the singles chart with the song “Where Are You Now” in 1965, worked alongside the composer Tony Hatch for most of her career. The pair met in the early 1960s at an audition and wrote more than 400 songs together as well as the West End musicals The Card and Rock Nativity in the 1970s. They married in 1967, a year after writing the song, “I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love”, about their romance, but divorced in 2002.
Hatch and Trent moved to Australia in the 1980s, where they were asked to write the theme tune for new programme Neighbours. The soap came on the air on 18 March 1985, and the same theme tune has been in use for those 30 years.
Trent claimed in an interview two years ago that she and Hatch were responsible for the show being called Neighbours – saying the show was originally to be called Ramsay Street, but the pair feared similarities with British soap Coronation Street. They wrote the theme tune, and the producers were so enamoured with it they changed the name of the programme to fit the song.
Hatch and Trent also wrote “We’ll Be With You” in 1972 to celebrate her hometown club Stoke City’s League Cup success – still sung in celebration of the team’s 2-1 victory over Chelsea.
Stoke City FC said it was “saddened” by the news and praised the song’s longevity.
Trent last came to the UK in February to meet the Porthill Players, an amateur dramatic group based in Stoke who are to perform a musical based on her life.
The DJ Tony Blackburn was among those who paid tribute, tweeting: “So sorry to hear that Jackie Trent has died, she wrote so many great songs, many with Tony Hatch. RIP. She was a very nice lady.”