Ken Barnes (writer)

Kenneth Valentine "Ken" Barnes (14 February 1933 – 4 August 2015) was a British writer, record producer, broadcaster, musicologist, film historian, film maker, songwriter and music publisher.

Born in Middlesbrough, he trained as a draughtsman after leaving the army, and moved to London where he worked in marketing for Polydor and Decca Records before becoming a record producer.[1] In the 1970s he worked with Bing Crosby, Peter Sellers, Frankie Laine, Peggy Lee and Fred Astaire. In 1974, he convinced Johnny Mercer to record a two-disk collection of Mercer singing Mercer - with Johnny selecting his own favorites.[2] These were the last recordings made by Mercer before his death in 1976.[3]

Barnes also published several books, wrote liner notes for reissue albums, and wrote comedy scripts for BBC TV.[1] He was the founder and CEO of The Laureate Company, a music and movie restoration Company. He wrote and delivered the DVD audio commentary on Citizen Kane (1941) and Holiday Inn (1942),[4] starring Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby. The DVD also contains a supplementary documentary A Couple of Song and Dance Men in which he appears with Fred Astaire's daughter, Ava Astaire-MacKenzie.

He died aged 82, after a long illness with diabetes.[5]


  • Sinatra and the great song stylists (Ian Allan: 1972) ISBN 0-7110-0400-5
  • 20 Years of Pop (Kenneth Mason: 1974) ISBN 0-85937-024-0
  • The Crosby Years, by Ken Barnes (New York: St. Martins, 1980 ) ( London:Elm Tree Books,1980) ISBN 0-312-17663-5
  • Anatomy of a Classic written,produced & directed by Ken Barnes(Film:Universal Home Video)
  • A Couple of Song and Dance Men written,produced & directed by Ken Barnes (Film: Universal Home Video)
  • Johnny Mercer -The Dream's On Me written by Ken Barnes,executive producer:Clint Eastwood, director:Bruce Ricker (TCM/Warner Home Video. Emmy Nomination 2010 "Best Non Fiction Special"
  • "The Sea Dogs" A novel by Ken Barnes (SBPRA:2014) ISBN 978-1-62857-589-7


  1. ^ a b Obituary, Record Collector, No.446, November 2015, p.145
  2. ^ THE JOHNNY MERCER EDUCATIONAL ARCHIVES: Ken Barnes Archived 2009-11-07 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved Jan 28, 2010
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-11-07. Retrieved 2010-01-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Holiday Inn (1942), Special Edition DVD, Universal Studios Home Entertainment #21484
  5. ^ Ken Barnes, writer and record producer - obituary

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