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The REAL singing voice for Mark Lester on "Oliver!"

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  • The REAL singing voice for Mark Lester on "Oliver!"

    The Music Director's daughter, Kathe Green, may have got the credit, but according to a certain Roger Bowman on the Fun Trivia website in 2011, he should have been credited instead. He says: "I hope to put the record straight once and for all. I sang the voice of Oliver in the 1968 film for Mark Lester as he was tone deaf. The booker for all the singers for the film was John McCarthy a great friend of my father (Robert Bowman). I came home from my last day at junior school in July 1967 and John was on the phone to dad saying they had a boy called William who was singing the part of Oliver in a new film but just couldn't get it right. I was asked if I'd like to try as I was known to John as a good child singer. I auditioned at Shepperton Studios for musical director John Green then for director Carol Reed and was given the job being paid as a session singer. I started recording in August 1967 and finished my parts early 1968. John Green asked me to cry whilst singing one part of 'Where Is Love', there is certain phraseiology I used in that song as well. In 'Who Will Buy' when I sing Who will buy this wonderful morning... I also say 'morning' to someone as well. The point is, there is no way I wouldn't recognise my own voice at the film's premiere a few months later in Leicester Square and my father, a professional singer at Covent Garden and top session singer would instantly have known if it wasn't me. My father tutored my singing and was in the studio with me at many of the sessions and my mother drove me to Shepperton for many of them. It is really irritating that John Green's daughter has made these claims... and 20 years after the films release. Why? I still don't understand this. There was a piece in the Surrey Comet newspaper in 1968 after the films release about my singing Oliver's voice but sadly the copy is long lost. I hope this once and for all puts to rest the unbelieveable story from Kathe Green that a 22 year old woman could sound like an 8 year old boy which Mark was. I was 11. Sadly absolute proof will remain almost impossible and the Mail on Sunday who printed Kathe Green's story didn't want to take it any further with my story as they had paid for hers and effectively didn't want to lose face over a gaping hole in the story. I was a producer with BBC Radio 2 at the time and the likes of Brian Matthew, Sarah Kennedy and Gloria Hunniford and Ken Bruce often made referral to my part in the making of 'Oliver!'
    Last edited by darrenburnfan; 23rd July 2017, 05:56 PM.

  • #2
    Do you believe him?
    Anyone could write an article like that.

    Is he credited anywhere for it (even as an uncredited singer)?



    • #3
      Well, if it's true, Steve, even though it's now fifty years ago, there must be someone, somewhere, who worked on the film that remembers him doing it. I haven't seen any credit for him, but then again Kathe Green wasn't credited on the film either. At the time, it was believed that Mark did his own singing in the film and records of the songs credit him as the singer, even though we've been told since that he was tone deaf.


      • #4


        • #5
          Maybe both of them recorded the song, but in the end, they used Roger's recording.


          • #6
            Originally posted by darrenburnfan View Post
            Maybe both of them recorded the song, but in the end, they used Roger's recording.
            This is what I was thinking. There could of course have been others as well. Don't they do sort of the same thing with Bond themes? I know they would be different songs but in the end they pick the most suitable.