Born on 1 December 1930 in Finsbury, north London, former Shoreditch bus driver Terry Parsons recorded his first album clad in his driver’s jacket and went on to become “Britain’s Frank Sinatra” (as virtually every review called him).
His father died when he was three, and after his mother became ill, he was fostered out for two years. Leaving school at 14, he tried a succession of jobs without remaining in any of them for very long before National Service beckoned in 1948. Monro became a tank driving instructor in the British armed forces and was posted to Hong Kong.
He first played in bands under the pseudonym Al Jordan before adopting the name Monro. Between stints as a singer on Camay soap commercials, he recorded for a number of labels.
His luck changed when producer George Martin asked him to contribute a pseudo-Sinatra version of You Keep Me Swingin’ for a Peter Sellers comedy album, which led to a contract with Parlophone and a Top 3 hit with Portrait Of My Love (1960).
For the next five years, Monro was a regular chart entrant with his classic up-tempo version of My Kind Of Girl (1961), along with ballads such as Why Not Now?, Gonna Build A Mountain, Softly As I Leave You, and When Love Comes Along.
His excellent interpretation of Lionel Bart’s James Bond movie theme From Russia With Love, Born Free and the emotive Walk Away proved particularly successful.
The speedy release of a slick adaptation of The Beatles‘ Yesterday (1965) reached #8.
A move to the USA in 1965 brought a decline in Monro’s chart fortunes in the UK, but he sustained his career as an in-demand nightclub performer.
Ill health dogged the singer in the early 1980s, and he died from cancer on 7 February 1985, aged just 54. Ten years later, his son Matt Jnr ‘duetted’ with his father on an album of some of Matt Snr’s favourite songs.