Analysed by Robert Walton
I first heard Look For A Star in 1964 when I was a disc jockey (Bob Lee) on Radio Caroline. Being my kind of music, this attractive orchestral piece immediately caught my attention. It came from the 1960 British film “Circus of Horrors” although the main score was the work of Franz Reizenstein. It might not have been a typical light orchestral number from the 1940s or 1950s, but for the 60s it was a good tune and well arranged. The producers were looking for a pop number for the closing credits. Composed by Tony Hatch under the pseudonym of Mark Anthony, it reached the charts in both Britain and America. Tony Hatch is of course best remembered for Downtown written for Petula Clark in 1964.
The introductory guitar pattern instantly pinpoints its time frame but for the era itself the string tune was strong, catchy and above all very satisfying. It goes exactly where you want it to. There’s a freshness about the whole thing too, which immediately grabs the listener and slowed down, there’s just the smallest suggestion of an American Western theme about it, perhaps even a hymn-like quality. Each time the main title is played, an organ jumps in as advance notice.
In the middle section, a saxophone provides a perfect contrast with the guitar still in the frame. After the strings end the phrase, time for the organ to play a short solo of its own. Now the piano plays the main melody for 4 bars but quickly hands back to the delightful strings who finish Look For A Star with a gentle fade played four times.
You might be interested to know a bit more, or be reminded, about Tony Hatch’s background. He was a composer, author, pianist, arranger and publisher. Educated at the London School Choir, head chorister at All Souls, Langham Place, London, a music publisher’s tea-boy (Prince Edward worked in that capacity for Lord Lloyd Webber) and served in the Coldstream Guards. And that’s all before Clark and Jackie Trent!
Look For A Star, Hatch’s first published song showed a lot of pop-writing potential for future hits like Where Are You Now and Don’t Sleep In The Subway. With Trent he wrote the theme for the Australian soap opera “Neighbours”.
Can be heard on
“Golden Age of Light Music”
Guild (GLCD 5202)