Arlon Music
Rock ‘n roll exploded onto the teen music scene in the mid fifties and like many of his generation a young Deke Arlon was inspired to launch himself onto the music scene with his own band, ‘Deke Arlon and the Tremors’. It quickly established itself at the top of the south coast rock scene and Arlon was ‘discovered’. Theatre and Television shows followed – ‘Dad you’re a square’, ‘Thank Your lucky Stars’ etc and finally ‘Crossroads’ where he met his future wife, Jill. It was the prospect of securing a mortgage, with its demand of a ‘proper’ job with proof of a regular income that forced Arlon into what was to have been a temporary career move from performing to music publishing. He never looked back.

Within a year at Chappell music he had established himself with hit after hit, including ‘What a Wonderful World’ sung by Louis Armstrong to ‘Ode to Billy Jo’ by Bobby Gentry. He worked on newly discovered trunk songs by Gershwin and the scores to theatrical successes like ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, ‘Sweet Charity’,’ Cabaret’ and ‘Canterbury Tales.

He was quickly head hunted by CBS and at age 23 was made Managing Director and Senior Vice President of the newly formed April / Blackwood Music. It was 1968 and in the following heady years he discovered and worked with young writers who would become music business legends – Gilbert O’Sullivan, James Taylor, Nicky Chinn (of ChinnyChap), Chip Taylor, Al Gorgoni, Billy Vera, and bands ‘Blood Sweat and Tears’, and ‘Chicago’. He acquired major copyrights – ‘Everybody’s Talking’ (Midnight Cowboy), ‘Hey Joe’ by Jimi Hendrix, and ‘Think’ by Aretha Franklin. Film score credits included ‘Scrooge’ and the award winning ‘Z’ written by the imprisoned Greek composer Theodorakis.

He won ‘Publisher of the Year’ three years running. The mid –seventies saw him lured away from April Music by Yorkshire Television who, eager to set up their own record and publishing companies, offered him the additional position of Managing Director of three of its major subsidiaries. Two years later he set up his own independent company, not just as a publisher but as an artist manager too.

The roll call of artists over the next thirty years was diverse but all were hugely successful, - writer and producer – Kenny Young, a client from his early April Music days, who sold millions of albums on both sides of the Atlantic with songs such as ‘Under The Board Walk’, ‘Captain of Your Ship’ and ‘Come Back and Shake me’ which launched the career of Clodagh Rogers: composer – Ron Grainer responsible for such memorable themes as ‘Dr Who’, ‘To Sir with Love’, ‘Tales of the Unexpected’, the musical ‘Robert and Elizabeth’, winner of 5 Ivor Novello Awards: writer and composer Ian Page, whose works included ‘If You add all the love in the World’, the international hit sung by Mac Davis and a series of children’s books encouraging conservation of the countryside, ‘The Learning tree’, which Jill and Deke Arlon produced as a television series that ran for four years.

Together with clients Ned Sherrin and Caryl Brahms, the Arlons entered the arena of theatre production. Written by Brahms and Sherrin, their first venture together was the acclaimed musical ‘Nickleby and Me’, followed by ‘I Gotta Shoe’, ‘Only in America’, ‘Okay’, ‘The Mitford Girls’ and ‘Side by Side by Sondheim’. It was Sherrin’s performance in the hit Broadway version of the latter that led to his own television series ‘We Interrupt this week’. Devised by Sherrin and produced by him and Arlon this ran for 26 weeks on WNET, America. Back in Britain, the success of ‘Side by Side’ spawned a long running TV series ‘Song by Song by…’ again produced by the Arlons. Managed by Arlon, Ned Sherrin continued to be one of our most notable broadcasters, authors and theatre directors, ‘Jeffrey Bernard is unwell’ ‘A Passionate Woman’ and of course his weekly hosting of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Loose Ends’.

Continuing to bring great theatre to London’s West End, as the producing partner of Leslie Bricusse, Arlon and Bricusse produced the original production of‘Scrooge’ the stage musical with Anthony Newley and ‘Pickwick’ starring the late Sir Harry Secombe.

The late seventies and eighties was an era of outstanding achievement in the field of music when a young record producer called Chris Neil joined the Arlon stable. With Neil producing and Arlon managing, the phenomenal career of a young Sheena Easton was launched selling millions of records around the world. The Arlons produced several award winning TV shows in America and Britain starring Sheena . They were nominated for 7 Emmys and won 3.

Song writer singer Gerard Kenny was another huge success whose songs were recorded by the likes of Barry Manilow (“Made It Through The Rain”). The alliance of Neil and Arlon led to the sales of more millions of albums with artists including Dollar, Gerry Rafferty, Mike and the Mechanics, Aha, Morton Harket, Cher, Rod Stewart, Lulu, the French super-star Julien Clerc and Celine Dion.

Television sales soared when Deke took over the management of actor Dennis Waterman broadening the scope of his career with the production of several albums. Following on from the hugely successful ‘Sweeney’, he starred in the highly rated ‘Minder’ series. Both Arlon and Waterman won Ivor Novello Awards for the title song to this series. It was with Waterman that D& J Arlon entered the film world with their first production, ‘A Captain’s Tale- The First World Cup’, followed by three two hour television films, ‘Circles of Deceit’ written for him by Jill Arlon. Dennis is now the star of the hugely successful tv series ‘New Tricks’.

Other artists in the Arlon stable included American star David Cassidy, actress Patricia Hodge, the jazz legends Cleo Lane and Johnny Dankworth, opera singer Russell Watson and the dancer Michael Flatly. The steady rise of Elaine Paige’s career has been guided by Arlon for over twenty years, she has enjoyed a recording career with sales of millions of albums, toured the world in concerts, all produced and directed by Arlon including appearing at The Great Hall in Bejing, and created legendary roles in musicals including ‘Evita’, ‘Chess’, ‘Anything Goes’, ‘Piaff’, ‘Sunset Boulevard’, both here and on Broadway, ‘The King and I ’ and ‘Sweeney Todd’ with the New York Opera Company.

More recently Arlon took on Ray Davies and the Kinks. Ray Davies had huge success touring his show ‘Story Teller’ and his first classical piece ‘Flatlands’.
As music publisher Arlon has received many BMI and ASCAP Awards over the years for the volume of airplay devoted to his company’s published material, and his sales of albums around the world have run into hundreds of millions for which he, his writers and producers have been awarded innumerable gold and platinum discs, bringing not only vast revenues but great prestige to the UK music scene.

In the mid 90’s in recognition of Arlon’s wide range of experience in so many fields, the music industry invited him to executive produce the debut of their first major award show. Now known as ‘The Brit Awards’, it was Arlon who produced and directed the show for the first two years so creating a prestigious profile for British pop music. It was he who first brought it to television and who then went on to sell the TV rights world –wide on behalf of the British Phonographic Industry. Arlon received the gold Novello Award for his outstanding contribution to the Music Industry.

In 2001 Arlon was invited to join a major public music company as Chairman of the Entertainment Division and Chairman of Music Publishing. Along with those duties his other brief was to use his knowledge to acquire companies for the group; his most outstanding acquisition was Sir Elton John’s Management Company, Twenty First Artists which included the rights to ‘Billy Elliot’ and the new international star James Blunt.

As a prominent, knowledgeable and highly respected entrepreneur and champion of intellectual copyright, Deke was called upon by the British Music Industry to promote and further the protection of music and theatrical copyrights around the world. He met with various official bodies in the Far East, Taiwan and Thailand. At the end of the 1980’s, when Russia first opened its borders to the West, the music industry dispatched Arlon and his wife in their capacity as music business entrepreneurs and ambassadors to research and write a report on the infrastructure of the industry in Russia and to explore the possibilities of sharing our expertise and cultures. The Arlons were more recently dispatched to visit various regions in China where they held many meetings with different senior government officials and discussions with sports and media experts in order to encourage the protection, collection and payment of copyright royalties for Eastern and Western artists, writers and performers in China and to liaise exchanges of ideas on programming, and artists not only in the field of arts but also sports.

He has also drawn on his experience with the dancing superstar Michael Flatly in being the executive producer of ‘Flamenco Flamen’Ka’ a new flamenco music and dance show, which starred some of the world’s greatest Spanish flamenco and Argentinean tango dancers, and performed at The Lyric Theatre in London’s West End through the Autumn of 2008.

Arlon now focuses on managing the careers of: Dennis Waterman, currently staring in the hugely popular “New Tricks”; the journalist and broadcaster Richard Littlejohn, whose weekly columns in The Daily Mail are some of the most wide-read in the UK, as well as recently making the highly acclaimed documentary ‘The War on Britain’s Jews’, and his brilliantly acerbic books which always go to Number One in the UK book charts; the pop, tv and musical theatre star, Marti Pellow, who in the last two years alone has enjoyed his fifteenth top ten hits, starred (and won) the BBC talent series ‘Just The Two of Us’, released his highly acclaimed jazz album on Warner Bros ‘Sentimental Me’, and the Top 20 album of love songs "Love To Love". Mari has starred in the anniversary performance of ‘Chess’ at the Royal Albert Hall, starred along side Russell Brand in the comedy tv show ‘The Abbey’ , on Broadway and in the West End with "Chicago", and recently starred in the sell out tours of "Witches of Eastwick" and the huge box office hit of ‘Jekyll & Hyde".

As of the Summer of 2011, Deke's latest projects include: Glyn Johns producing Ryan Adams's new album, a new musical play with Ray Davies, a new Gershwin project with Leslie Bricusse and a newly conceived Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers musical, while Marti Pellow finishes a new celtic album - and is about to go back into the West End.

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