Geoff Stephens was born October 1, 1934 in New Southgate, North London, England. He started out writing songs for amateur theatricals while working as a school teacher, air traffic controller and silk screen printer. His first hit was in 1964, “Tell Me When”, co-written with Les Reed, a Top 10 hit for The Applejacks. Later that same year, with Peter Eden, he discovered and managed Donovan.
He produced “What’s Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid”, Donovan’s first single and album. In 1963 he wrote “The Crying Game“, recorded by Brenda Lee and in 1964 was the number 5 hit for Dave Berry and later a hit for Boy George. Earlier, in 1963, he wrote “Here’s Hoping“, recorded by Gerry and the Pacemakers.
In 1966 he formed The New Vaudeville Band for writing and recording songs in a 1920’s style. Their debut single was the number 1 US hit “Winchester Cathedral“. It was number 4 in the UK and also recorded by Dizzy Gillespie and Frank Sinatra. I love this single and it was always in my 45’s stack. They also had hits with his songs “Peek A Boo“, “Finchley Central” and “Green Street Green“.
Geoff wrote “Semi-Detached Suburban Mr. James” for Manfred Mann, with Les Reed “There’s a Kind of Hush” for the New Vaudeville Band which was a hit when covered by Herman’s Hermits and The Carpenters, “Sorry Suzanne” for The Carpenters, “Tears Won’t Wash Away These Heartaches” for Ken Dodd, “Goodbye Sam, Hello Samantha” for Cliff Richard, “Daughter of Darkness” for Tom Jones,
“Knock, Knock Who’s There?” for Mary Hopkin, “Lights of Cincinnati” for Scott Walker, “It’s Gonna Be a Cold Cold Christmas” for Dana, “Like Sister And Brother” for The Drifters, “It’s Like We Never Said Goodbye” for Crystal Gayle, “I’ll Put You Together Again” for Hot Chocolate, UK number 1 “Silver Lady” for David Soul and also UK number 1 “You Won’t Find Another Fool Like Me” for The New Seekers.
In July of 1972 he collaborated with Peter Callander to write “Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast” for Wayne Newton. According to Discogs.com he wrote, co-wrote or arranged songs responsible for 2228 recordings in his long career. Among them I found that he c0-wrote “My World Fell Down“, a song arranged and produced by Gary Usher and recorded by Sagittarius, one of my favorites.
He also co-wrote “Smile a Little Smile for Me” a 1969 top 5 hit for the Flying Machine and another great 45, “Hip Hip Hooray” for The Troggs, “Sunshine Girl” for Herman Hermits, “It’s All Leading Up To Saturday Night” for Marmalade, “Never Gonna Trust My Heart Again” for The Magic Lanterns, “Boy” for Lulu.
Geoff Stephens died at age 85 on December 24, 2020 from pneumonia, after surviving Covid-19 earlier that year. He was married to Pam and they had three children, Paul, Jenny and Ruth.