Thank you, David Carter

February 23, 2020 in Blog

Goodbye to a great light entertainment talent

I was very sad recently to hear of the death of one of my favourite arrangers, David Carter. You may not know the name but you will have heard his work. He was one of the first arrangers I worked with, back in the early 90s. I didn’t know anyone who could give me a recommendation, so I looked through the small ads in the back of the Stage newspaper and there he was.

Right from the beginning, David just “got it”. I would sing my ideas for a song down the phone to him, tell him where I wanted the key change, what sort of feeling I wanted the song to create, and within a day or two he send me a terrific arrangement.


He worked for years with London Weekend Television and light entertainment stars like Danny La Rue and Ken Dodd so he understood what performers need and how to put that onto the page.

Though he trained at the Royal College of music he wore his talent lightly. He was clever enough, not to be too clever. Many arrangers forget the practicalities of short rehearsals and inexperienced musicians. They are busy showing off with music that can sound wonderful, but only after the best musicians have spent 20 minutes getting it right. Not David. He knew that rehearsals are short and there simply isn’t the time to correct mistakes or explain to the band what something supposed to sound like. David’s music was clear, easy to read and got the job done.

You can hear his work on most of my albums and I always enjoyed sending him a copy so he could hear his music come to life. On ‘Legends’, my latest, he arranged no less than eight of the songs, including the Matt Monro Medley, Mr Bojangles, and My Way.

All in all we knew each other for over twenty years and he arranged well over 100 songs for me. Not bad for a small ad in the back of The Stage. RIP David, your music lives on and will be getting applause for a long time yet.

Benny Goodman

Benny Goodman was the American jazz clarinetist and bandleader known as the “King of Swing”. Enjoy 2 hours of his life and music along with more great legends of Las Vegas in this week’s podcast. Listen wherever you usually get your podcasts or click here.

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