Obituary: Tony Hiller

Songwriter whose Eurovision win became an international success


He famously won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1976 in the Hague, Netherlands, with Save Your Kisses for Me, performed for the UK by Brotherhood of Man.Tony Hiller, who has died aged 91, wrote the lyrics with band members Lee Sheriden and Martin Lee, and saw the song become an international hit, reaching No. 1 in the UK among many other countries.

It was the biggest-selling song of 1976 and to this day remains one of the most commercially successful Eurovision winners in its history.

Tony Hiller first entered the music business as part of a double act with his younger brother Irving Hiller. They were a song and dance duo in the style of the day, working with the major names in the industry, including Alma Cogan, Tommy Cooper and the Shadows. The brothers were great friends of Matt Munro and worked with him as the opening act.

But during the 60s Tony moved into the formal side of the music business, where he enjoyed great success as a writer publisher with Mills Music, a Denmark Street publishing house. In this role, he published Tim Rice’s first song, and Reg Dwight (later known as Elton John) was the office boy.

Tony had a very interesting family history in the music business. He was the eldest of eight children born to Sarah née Schrieber and Samuel Hiller. His father and uncle were taken to America from Prussia, via England in the late 1800s, and became song pluggers in the New York offices of the Irving Berlin publishing House. They were joined by his uncle’s partner Chico Marx who went on to become one of the Marx brothers.

Samuel Hiller returned to England, to fight in the Great War, and Tony was born in Bethnal Green. He was educated at Virginia Road School before winning a scholarship to Jewish Free School Central but the war and continual evacuation interrupted his schooling. His first marriage was to Norma Moss and the second to me, in l991.

Tony ‘s long and illustrious career in the British music business, included working in Nashville and travelling between there and London. He was also a successful country writer. He received six prestigious Ivor Novello Awards, apart from a series of platinum, gold and silver disc awards and commendations for his songs. He was a past director of the Performing Rights Society, a past Councillor of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors and a long time member of the Society of Distinguished Songwriters. He is survived by me and his children from his first marriage, Keith and Gayle. His brother Irving pre-deceased him.



Tony Hiller: born July 30, 1927. 
Died August 26, 2018

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