Legendary singer and songwriter Jackie Trent has died at the age of 74.
The news of Jackie’s death comes just a week after it was announced that there are plans to launch a musical of her life in May.
Jackie was born Yvonne Burgess in 1940 in Newcastle-Under Lyme and showed early potential when he appeared on stage, at the age of 10, in a local pantomime Babes In The Wood. She loved singing and released her first single in 1962 called Pick up the Pieces. As a teenager she moved to Stoke.
In late 1964 she signed to Pye records and met the man who would later become her husband, Tony Hatch. Together they wrote her first hit called Where Are You Now (My Love) which was featured in the TV series It’s Dark Outside. It went to number one in the UK and gave Jackie the honour of being the first female to write her own number one hit.
The pair wrote many songs together including the Petula Clark hit I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love which was inspired by Hatch and Trent’s affair prior to their marriage. They wrote many songs for Petula and for other artists including for Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey, Des O’Connor, Dean Martin Sue Nicholls and Scott Walker especially my favourite sixties hit, Joanna.
It has appeared in some obituaries that both Jackie and Tony penned the theme to the massively successful soap Crossroads which became engrained in the public mind, but it was in fact all Tony’s work for which I thank Tony for pointing out to me. In 1978 Jackie appeared on the BBC show Seaside Special and then her and Hatch moved to Ireland to host their own TV shows Words and Music and It’s A Musical World. The pair then moved again, this time to Australia in 1982 and ended up writing an even bigger TV theme, Neighbours.
The pair separated in 1995 and eventually divorced in 2002. Tony returned to the UK and Jackie went to live in Menorca which is where I interviewed her for my 1000 UK Number One Hits Book in 2004.
In 2014 she teamed up with Tim Wedgwood and Jonathan Fernyhough, two local writers and the three of them began work on new musical about her life called Jackie – The Jackie Trent Story. Jonathan Fernihough, director at the Staffordshire-based amateur theatre company The Porthill Players, said: “She was just determined to make a star of herself and that’s exactly what she did.”
Looking back on her career in the 1960s, Trent said recently, “British music arrived. Everybody wanted The Beatles. Everybody wanted Petula Clark. It was going to be my life and fortunately the face fits and I was there at the right time and the right place.