Lionel Bart photographed by Duffy for Vogue. The article titled “I don’t know fashion but I know what I like” was published in December 1960. The feature also included Frank Norman, Tom Courtenay, Leo McKern, and Ron Moody.
Born in Stepney, London in 1930, Barts parents were told by teachers he was a musical genius at the age of six. He was given a violin but did not apply himself and followed other ambitions of painting and screen printing. Although never learning to read or write musical notation he began songwriting for theatre in 1952. Bart began gaining widespread recognition by writing songs such as “Living Doll” for Cliff Richard and multiple tracks for Tommy Steele.
At the time of this feature in Vogue in October 1961, he was working on the musical “Blitz!” At the time it became London’s most expensive musical to date. This was mainly due to the enormous scale of the set. It was so large it could not be exported to Broadway. The show ran for 568 performances.
Bart’s success, unfortunately, began to decline in the mid-sixties. Depression and drug use took a serious toll on Bart’s health for over 20 years before a resurgence in the late eighties with his song “Happy Endings.”
Duffy also photographed Bart later in his career which can be seen here.
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