Barry Ryan (singer)

Barry Ryan (born Barry Sapherson; 24 October 1948 – 28 September 2021) was a British pop singer and photographer. He achieved his initial success in the mid 1960s in a duo with his twin brother Paul. After Paul ceased performing to concentrate solely on songwriting, Barry became a solo artist. His most successful hit, "Eloise", reached number 2 on the UK Singles Chart in 1968.

Barry Ryan
Ryan performing in 2015
Ryan performing in 2015
Background information
Birth nameBarry Sapherson
Born(1948-10-24)24 October 1948
Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died28 September 2021(2021-09-28) (aged 72)
  • Musician
  • photographer
Years active1964-2018
Associated acts


Barry Ryan was born in Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, the son of pop singer Marion Ryan and producer Lloyd Sapherson. He began performing with his twin brother Paul at the age of 16. In 1965 they signed a recording contract with Decca under the name of Paul & Barry Ryan. Within two years they had amassed 8 Top 50 singles in the UK. Their best sellers were "Don't Bring Me Your Heartaches", a number 13 hit in 1965, "I Love Her", a number 17 hit in 1966 and "Have Pity on the Boy", a number 18 hit the same year.

Paul Ryan opted out of the stress of show business, and Barry continued as a solo artist, enabling his brother to stay out of the limelight and concentrate on writing songs. Their greatest achievement as a composer-singer duo, now for MGM Records, was "Eloise", a number 2 hit in 1968. Melodramatic and heavily orchestrated, it sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc.[1] "Love is Love", their next chart entry, also became a million-seller.[1]

Ryan was also popular in Germany and France. The single "Red Man" reached number 2 in the French chart in 1971.[2] Promoted by Bravo, the German youth magazine, he recorded a number of songs in German. "Die Zeit macht nur vor dem Teufel halt" ("Time Only Stops for the Devil"; English recording as "Today" released on the album Red Man in 1971) peaked at number 8.

Ryan stopped performing in the early 1970s. He made a comeback in the late 1990s when a two CD set with his and his brother's old songs was released. Ryan was also part of the "Solid Silver '60s Tour" of the United Kingdom in 2003, singing "Eloise" backed by the Dakotas.

He also maintained a successful career as a fashion photographer, from the late 1970s, and his photographs appeared in such magazines as Ritz and Zoom. In the 1990s, he worked on a photographic project commemorating his brother Paul, who died in 1992.[3] Six of his photographic portraits were purchased by the National Portrait Gallery, London for its permanent collection in 1994.[4]

Personal lifeEdit

Ryan was briefly married to Tunku (Princess) Miriam binti al-Marhum Sultan Sir Ibrahim (born 1950), the only child of Sultan Ibrahim of Johor and his sixth wife, Sultana Marcella (née Marcella Mendl).[5] Married in 1976 and divorced in 1980, they had no children.[6] His stepfather was the English agent and music promoter Harold Davison.[7]

Barry Ryan died on 28 September 2021, at the age of 72.[8][9]



  1. ^ a b Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 247 & 267. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  2. ^ DVD Remember 70's Vol.3, P2004 BR Music
  3. ^ Barry Ryan , National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 29 September 2021
  4. ^ "Barry Ryan - Person - National Portrait Gallery". National Portrait Gallery, London. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  5. ^ Clifford, Naomi (16 July 2020). "Marcella Mendl". Chelsea Vignette. Retrieved 2 October 2021.
  6. ^ Rouse, Sabina (30 September 2021). "Barry Ryan dead: Eloise singer who performed with twin Paul dies as Cat Stevens speaks out". Express. Retrieved 2 October 2021.
  7. ^ "Pop impresario Harold Davison dies at the age of 89". BBC News. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2021.
  8. ^ "Barry Ryan dies at age 72". 29 September 2021. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  9. ^ Vrancken, Cliff (30 September 2021). "Barry Ryan (72), zanger van de iconische hit "Eloise", overleden". VRT (in Dutch).

External linksEdit