SONGWRITER Les Reed has died aged 83, his family confirmed today.
Tributes for the hitmaker were led by Tom Jones, who paid tribute to Reed as a "gifted songwriter" who had penned popular tunes including Delilah and It's Not Unusual.
Remembered as a "master of British songwriting", Reed had earned numerous awards including the British Academy Gold Badge of Merit in 1982 and an OBE in 1998.
Taking to Twitter, Tom Jones said: "Sorry to hear the news of the passing of my friend & colleague Les Reed.
"Les was a gifted songwriter who was instrumental in penning many a hit, incl two important songs for me; ‘It’s Not Unusual’ & ‘Delilah' Les was a lovely man, whose legacy will live through his music. RIP Les".
We are all so immensely proud of everything Les achieved in his incredible lifetime
The songwriter's family confirmed the tragic news, saying in a statement to the BBC: "We are all so immensely proud of everything Les achieved in his incredible lifetime.
"We know that his name will be remembered for what he did for music and that he will always live through his songs and compositions for the rest of time."
He is survived by his daughter Donna and grandsons, Alex and Dom.
Musician Gary Kemp also joined the flood of tributes for Reed, saying: "A master of British songwriting has left us. Here’s to the great Les Reed, a beautiful, gentle man who gave us giants like There’s a Kind of Hush, Delilah and the Last Waltz."
TRIBUTES POURING IN
Wombles songwriter Mike Batt said he was "one of the most naturally gifted composer/arrangers I've ever known. There will never be another one like him."
Lyricist Sir Tim Rice added: "He was composer of countless hits that will live on for years, decades, to come.
"All his music biz chums will miss him enormously and will never forget his songs, talent and generosity of spirit."
As well as working with Tom Jones and creating some of his biggest hits, Reed wrote songs with the likes of Gordon Mills, Barry Mason and Geoff Stephens, Roger Greenaway, Roger Cook, and Johnny Worth.
OVER 60 MAJOR HITS
He has written at least 60 major hits which have earned numerous gold discs, Ivor Novello Awards and a British Academy Gold Badge of Merit.
Born in Woking, Surrey, the talent was already an accomplished musician by the age of 14, playing the piano, accordion and vibraphone.
He joined The John Barry Seven as a pianist in 1959 and began his successful songwriting partnership with Geoff Stephens the following year.
The pair penned hits like "Tell Me When", for The Applejacks; "Here It Comes Again" for The Fortunes; "Leave A Little Love" for Lulu; and "There's a Kind of Hush", a 1967 success for Herman's Hermits.
In 1964, Reed wrote "It's Not Unusual" with ex-Viscounts member and Tom Jones' manager Gordon Mills, a UK number one hit for Jones.
Reed also arranged and played piano on the song.
A dedicated Leeds United supporter, Reed was the co-writer of Leeds! Leeds! Leeds! – the B-side to the club's 1973 FA Cup final single.
The tune is now known as Marching on Together and is still sung by Leeds United fans at matches.
Reed is responsible for the UK's 1965 Eurovision song, "I'll Try Not To Cry" for Kathy Kirby.
He was given the honour of becoming a Freeman of the City of London for his contributions to the music industry.
In 1998 he was also awarded an Order of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
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