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Les Reed: Delilah songwriter dies aged 83

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image captionLes Reed, (left), pictured in 1961 with Vic Flick and Mike Peters - fellow members of The John Barry Seven

Songwriter Les Reed has died at the age of 83, his family has confirmed.

He was well known for co-writing Tom Jones hits Delilah and It's Not Unusual, as well as Engelbert Humperdinck's The Last Waltz.

Reed also served as a pianist in The John Barry Seven and conducted his own orchestra for more than 10 years.

"We are all so immensely proud of everything Les achieved in his incredible lifetime," his family said in a statement issued to BBC News.

"We know that his name will be remembered for what he did for music and that he will always live through his songs and compositions for the rest of time."

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"So sorry to hear the news of the passing of my friend and colleague Les Reed." said Sir Tom Jones.

"Les was a gifted songwriter and arranger who was instrumental in penning many a hit, including two important songs for me... Les was a lovely man, a legend in the world of songwriting whose legacy will live through his music."

Reed was also well-known to Leeds United fans as the co-writer of Leeds! Leeds! Leeds! - originally the B-Side to the club's 1972 FA Cup final single.

The song became better known as Marching on Together and has been sung by fans on the terraces ever since.

image copyrightFamily handout
image captionLes Reed pictured with his late wife June

Reed is survived by his daughter Donna and grandsons, Alex and Dom.

"A master of British songwriting has left us. Here's to the great Les Reed, a beautiful, gentle man who gave us giants like There's a Kind of Hush, Delilah and the Last Waltz," Spandau Ballet's Gary Kemp wrote on Twitter.

He was "one of the most naturally gifted composer/arrangers I've ever known," said songwriter Mike Batt. "There will never be another one like him."

Lyricist Sir Tim Rice added: "He was composer of countless hits that will live on for years, decades, to come.

I cannot begin to tell you how saddened I am by the loss of my dear friend, Les Reed. Les gave new meaning to the word ...

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"All his music biz chums will miss him enormously and will never forget his songs, talent and generosity of spirit."

Humperdinck told the Press Association: "This is a very emotional goodbye for so many.

"What a wonderful and genuine man he was, with magic in his fingertips and a tapestry of music woven into our lives, that came effortlessly from his imagination and delivered by the craft he had perfected.

"He was so instrumental in the music that started my life and continued to bless it."

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