Music legend whose work was heard by millions dies

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A TALENTED musician whose work is been heard by millions every day has died.

Chesterfield-born Johnny Pearson was a composer, pianest and arranger known as one of the leading names in music for British television programming. He died last week, aged 85.

His many credits include writing the theme for the News at Ten on ITV, as well as series All Creatures Great and Small and being the arranger and conductor for the orchestra on Top of the Pops for 16 years.

After studying piano as a child Mr Pearson won a scholarship to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He became an engineering apprenticea, completing his national service in the Royal Artillery and playing drums in an army band.

In the late 1950s he worked as a pianist for several BBC Radio programmes, arranging a hornpipe for the cartoon series, Captain Pugwash, in 1957.

He was a session musician on several pop hits and arranged Cilla Black’s number one “Anyone Who Had A Heart” (1964).

The Top of the Pops years lasted from 1964-1980. Mr Pearson also worked on Christmas jazz hit Cast Your Fate To The Wind” with Sounds Orchestral, much library music for use in all productions, other themes and the score of film The Jokers in 1967.