I suppose my career falls into three stages. I grew up in show business performing with my brothers when I was still in short trousers. I then discovered composing, first moving into the world of television, and finally into writing for the theatre. It’s all had its highs and lows but at the end of the day (which I hope is not too soon) what I have managed to do is to carve a career out of something I love doing. I feel very lucky.
Born in Hornchurch, Essex, Denis began his musical career at the age of six as a banjolele-playing singer at childrens’ matinees. By the age of thirteen, with his two older brothers, Mike and Tony, he had formed one of the most successful pop groups of the Fifties and Sixties, THE KING BROTHERS--Britain’s first “Boy Band”. When the group disbanded in 1970, Denis studied orchestration at the Guildhall School of Music in London and soon got his break in television, writing the theme for BLACK BEAUTY, which won the Ivor Novello Award. To date, he has created themes and incidental music for well over a hundred television series.
His debut as a theatrical composer was with the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of PRIVATES ON PARADE which won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Musical and was recently revived in London's West End launching director Michael Grandage's first season of his new company. PRIVATES ON PARADE Cast Album (remastered 2014)
Other theatre productions include A SAINT SHE AIN’T, BASHVILLE, BABY ON BOARD, LOST EMPIRES, THE UN-AMERICAN SONGBOOK, STEPPING OUT - THE MUSICAL, THAT OLD FEELING, TREASURE ISLAND, VALENTINE’S DAY, WIND IN THE WILLOWS and WORZEL GUMMIDGE. Denis has written extensively with Alan Ayckbourn and together have created the musicals WHENEVER, ORVIN - CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS, and AWAKING BEAUTY.
As a performer and pianist he has accompanied Dame Edna Everage, Albert Finney, Benny Green, Maureen Lipman in her successful stage show RE: JOYCE! and appeared with the late and very much missed Dick Vosburgh in their comic revues BEAUTY AND THE BEARDS and SING SOMETHING SILLY.
On a personal note, Denis was once engaged to several of the Baker Twins but called it off in 1967 when he realised he couldn’t tell them apart. He married Caryl somebody in 1969 and adopted her delightful two-year-old daughter Fiona, who, sadly, he hasn’t seen much of in fourteen years through no fault of his own. He divorced in 1983, by which time he was overwhelmed, indeed one could almost say tongue-tied as well as bewitched, bothered and bewildered by the blonde, long-legged Astrid, an American-Norwegian he married in 1984 and who continues to amaze, amuse, and astound him with her skills as a homemaker, dream-maker, cake-baker (and writer of website biographies for short bearded piano players). They have a musician son, Alexander, who they hope one day will stop costing them so much and will pull up his trousers in more ways than one, but primarily so his underpants don’t show.
Denis' long-awaited memoir, "KEY CHANGES", an extremely frank, funny, personal account of the highs and lows of show business, from post war Twice Nightly Variety to the present day, is now available at Amazon, Kindle, Kobo Books, and iTunes bookstores in paperback or ebook, and in audio book format on Audible and iTunes, narrated and musically underscored by the author himself.