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Les Vandyke (born John Worsley; 21 June 1931 in Battersea, South London, England) is a former English popular music singer and later songwriter from the 1950s to the 1980s. He also used the pseudonyms Johnny Worth and John Worth.

Les Vandyke
Birth nameJohn Worsley
Also known asJohnny Worth
John Worth
Born (1931-06-21) 21 June 1931 (age 88)
Battersea, South London, England
GenresPopular music
Occupation(s)Songwriter, singer
Years active1951–present

Over the years Vandyke has penned songs that were recorded by various artists, including Petula Clark, Vince Hill, Engelbert Humperdinck, Anthony Newley, Bobby Vee, Shirley Bassey, Herman's Hermits, Marty Wilde, Bobby Rydell, Cleo Laine, Barbra Streisand, Jimmy Justice, John Leyton, Freddie and the Dreamers, Sammy Davis, Jr. and many more.[1]

Early lifeEdit

When John was born, his father, a Greek Cypriot, was determined to christen his son as Yannis Paraskos Skordalides as a Greek Orthodox, but his Welsh mother insisted that he be named John Worsley and christened in the Church of England. The name "Worsley" was chosen by his father during The Wall Street Crash because he feared that he would not be able to get work with a Greek name. He changed it by deed poll. He chose the name "Worsley" by placing a pin at random on a map of England, which landed on Worsley in Greater Manchester.[citation needed] However, in their book, Big Time: The Life Of Adam Faith (2015), the authors David and Caroline Stafford assert that Worth was named Yani Panakos Paraskeva Skoradalides.[2]

AllMusic journalist Bruce Eder states, "Vandyke is one of those rare talents in English pop music whose songwriting success crossed several genres and eras, from the end of the 1950s right into the 1970s".[1]


In his youth he was simply known as John Worsley.[1] After schooling, he began work as a draughtsman prior to his compulsory two years national service which he claims were the happiest two years of his life.[3] Returning to civilian life, he determined to become a singer, changing his name for the purpose to Johnny Worth.[3]

He worked in pubs as a semi-professional until he managed to secure a television appearance.[1] Watching was the wife of well-known leader of the Oscar Rabin Band, and Worth was signed to the band, with whom he remained for five years, making a number of recordings for Oriole Records and Columbia Records.[3] He also recorded for the Embassy Records label,[1] which produced cheap covers of popular hits, usually sold through Woolworth's stores. He then joined the Raindrops vocal quartet (together with Len Beadle, Len's wife Jackie Lee and Vince Hill), which appeared on the television programme Drumbeat and subsequent LP.[1] It was on this show that he met Oscar-winning composer John Barry, with whom he was soon to work, and the singer Adam Faith.[1]

Worth had aspirations to be a songwriter, and though initial attempts had failed, he asked pianist Les Reed to arrange a demo of his song "What Do You Want?".[3] Faith, record producer John Burgess and Barry liked it, and with Barry's arrangements, Faith took the song to number one in the UK Singles Chart in November 1959, within which it remained for nineteen weeks.[4] Worth's concern was that as he was still signed to Oriole, he should adopt a pseudonym, and combined Reed's first name with his own telephone exchange, to become Les Vandyke.[1][3]

He provided Faith with his follow-up number one "Poor Me", in January 1960, and for the next two years penned a further six Top Ten British chart hits for Faith: "Someone Else's Baby"; "How About That"; "Who Am I"; "The Time Has Come"; "As You Like It" and "Don't That Beat All".[5] Worth also wrote another chart-topper "Well I Ask You" for Eden Kane, a pseudonym for Richard, the eldest of the three Sarstedt brothers,[5] as well as Kane's two follow up hits, "Get Lost" (reached No. 10 – September 1961) and "Forget Me Not" (No. 3 – January 1962).[1]

At least two Vandyke songs were covered by well-known Australian artists: "Doin' The Mod" by Ronnie Burns's band the Flies (1965, first recorded by Vandyke with British band The Bambis, 1964)[6] and "Dance Puppet Dance" by Little Pattie (also 1965, first recorded by Dave Duggan on Columbia in the UK, 1963),[7] which reached number twelve in the Sydney-based pop charts.

Vandyke also wrote music and songs for a number of low-budget movies during the 1960s and 1970s. These included What a Whopper (1961 as Johnny Worth); The Kitchen (1961); Mix Me a Person (1962, as Johnny Worth); Some People (1962 as Johnny Worth – lyricist); Johnny Cool (1963 as Les Vandyke); Psychomania (1973) and The Playbirds (1978 as John Worth); plus Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960).[8] Although his own singing career was over, he recorded three songs for the score of the 1968 short film Les Bicyclettes de Belsize, including the title song, once again credited as Johnny Worth.

Vandyke penned more big hit records in the early 1970s.[9] In 1971, he wrote the United Kingdom’s Eurovision entry "Jack in the Box", performed by Clodagh Rodgers. It came fourth in the contest held in Dublin. For another example, he wrote and produced "Gonna Make You an Offer You Can't Refuse" a number 8 UK hit in 1973 for the American singer, and one-hit wonder, Jimmy Helms for Cube Records.[1][10]

During the 1970s Vandyke was one of the directors of the hotel and club venue, the Webbington Country Club, in the Mendips near Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.

In 1986, Vandyke married Catherine Stock, sister of fellow songwriter, Mike Stock. Later that year Vandyke penned her a UK hit, which reached number 17 in the UK Singles Chart, entitled "To Have and To Hold".[1][11]

Songwriting creditsEdit

Year Title Artist UK Singles Chart
1960 "Johnny Rocco" Marty Wilde No. 30
1959 "What Do You Want?" Adam Faith No. 1
1959 "What Do You Want?" Johnny Worth -
1960 "What Do You Want?" Bobby Vee -
1960 "Poor Me" Adam Faith No. 1
1964 "Bee-Bom" Sammy Davis, Jr. -
1961 "Bee-Bom" Anthony Newley No. 12
1973 "Gonna Make You an Offer You Can't Refuse" Jimmy Helms No. 8
1962 "Ain't That Funny" Jimmy Justice No. 8
1961 "Well I Ask You" Eden Kane No. 1
1961 "All These Things" Adam Faith -
1962 "As You Like It" Adam Faith No. 5
1962 "Baby Take a Bow" Adam Faith No. 22
1962 "Butter Wouldn't Melt in Your Mouth" Adam Faith -
1962 "Don't That Beat All" Adam Faith No. 8
1961 "Don't You Know It" Adam Faith No. 12
1962 "Face to Face" Adam Faith -
1960 "Fare Thee Well My Pretty Maid" Adam Faith -
1963 "Forget Me Not" Adam Faith -
1962 "Going Up" Adam Faith -
1960 "How About That!" Adam Faith No. 4
1963 "Just Mention My Name" Adam Faith -
1962 "Knocking on Wood" Adam Faith -
1962 "Mix Me a Person" Adam Faith -
1961 "My Last Wish" Adam Faith -
1960 "Piper of Love" Adam Faith -
1961 "Second Time" Adam Faith -
1960 "Someone Else's Baby" Adam Faith No. 2
1962 "Swimming in Tears" Adam Faith -
1961 "This is It!" Adam Faith No. 5
1961 "The Time Has Come" Adam Faith No. 4
1963 "What Have I Got" Adam Faith -
1962 "While I'm Away" Adam Faith -
1961 "Who Am I" Adam Faith No. 5
1961 "Wonderin'" Adam Faith -
1960 "Piper of Love" Al Saxon -
1962 "What a Mess" The Allisons -
1966 "Before The Good Thing (Ain't No Good No More)" Antoine -
1966 "Elephant's Lookin' at You" Antoine -
1964 "Come and Join Us" Bob Leaper & The Prophets -
1967 "Thanks To You" Bobby Hanna -
1963 "Hey Everybody" Bobby Rydell -
1963 "It's Time We Parted" Bobby Rydell -
1961 "Who Am I" Bobby Stevens -
1961 "Who Am I" Bobby Vee -
1962 "Forget Me Not" Bobby Vee -
1963 "Blue Girl" The Bruisers No. 31
1963 "Your Turn to Cry" The Bruisers -
1962 "Some People" Carol Deene No. 25
1962 "Instant Love" Chance Gordon -
1963 "Not Too Little Not Too Much" Chris Sandford No. 17
1963 "What Do Ya Say" Chubby Checker -
1966 "Time Marches On" Corby & The Champagne -
1960 "What Do You Want?" Craig Douglas -
1964 "Put Your Arms Around Me" The Cresters -
1960 "Boston Tea Party" The Dallas Boys -
1962 "Sad But True" Danny Storm -
1982 "Johnny Rocco" Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin -
1963 "Broken Hearts" David MacBeth -
1962 "A Brother Like You" David MacBeth -
1961 "Keep on Walking" David MacBeth -
1962 "Little Heart" David MacBeth -
1960 "Pigtails in Paris" David MacBeth -
1962 "It's All Happening Here" Don Arrol -
1962 "Forget Me Not" Eden Kane No. 3
1961 "Get Lost" Eden Kane No. 10
1962 "House to Let" Eden Kane -
1962 "Music for Strings" Eden Kane -
1963 "Someone Wants to Know" Eden Kane -
1963 "Sounds Funny to Me" Eden Kane -
1961 "Well I Ask You" Eden Kane -
1963 "What Have I Done to You" Freddie and the Dreamers -
1961 "Big Wheel" Gerry Dorsey -
1964 "I'm Gonna Spend My Christmas with a Dalek" The Go-Go's -
1966 "Dial My Number" Herman's Hermits -
1962 "Wishful Thinking" Jackie Lynton -
1960 "But No One Knows" Jacquai Chan -
1961 "Cry Wolf" The Jags -
1961 "The Hunch" The Jags -
1963 "I Know You" Jess Conrad -
1963 "Take Your Time" Jess Conrad -
1962 "Some People" Jet Harris -
1963 "Applejack" Jet Harris and Tony Meehan No. 4
1963 "Cupboard Love" John Leyton No. 22
1963 "I'll Cut Your Tail Off" John Leyton No. 36
1966 "After Yvonne" John Worth Orchestra -
1962 "All These Things" Johnny Worth -
1962 "You Know What I Mean" Johnny Worth -
1961 "Well I Ask You" Kay Starr -
1963 "Aladdin's Lamp" Mark Wynter -
1963 "Oh What a Guy" Maureen Evans -
1970 "Bouzouki" Penny Lane -
1962 "You Can Do It If You Try" Peter Gordeno -
1962 "Jumble Sale" Petula Clark -
1962 "Too Late" Petula Clark -
1959 "Italian Style" The Raindrops -
1962 "Don't That Beat All" Rikki Henderson -
1960 "One Thousand Nine Hundred and When" Robb Storme -
1967 "In My Love Mind" Ronnie Jones -
1962 "Hully Gully Slip 'n' Slide" The Roulettes -
1962 "La Bamba" The Roulettes -
1967 "All I Want is You" Scott McKenzie -
1963 "Don't Do That" Shane Fenton -
1961 "The 'Ooter Song" Sid James -
1962 "You Don't Have a Heart" Sylvia Sands -
1964 "Who Will It Be" Tommy Scott -
1962 "Butter Wouldn't Melt in Your Mouth" Tommy Steele -
1966 "Dial My Number" Tony Field -
1962 "Some People" Valerie Mountain -
1962 "Too Late" Valerie Mountain -
1962 "Yes, You Did" Valerie Mountain -
1963 "Day at the Seaside" Vince Hill -
1962 "The River's Run Dry" Vince Hill No. 41
1962 "There You Go" Vince Hill -
1961 "Dear Mary Brown" The Viscounts -
1964 "Doin' The Mod" Vandyke & the Bambis -
1965 "Doin' The Mod" The Flies -
1963 "Dance Puppet Dance" Dave Duggan -
1965 "Dance Puppet Dance" Little Pattie -
1960 "You Can Do It If You Try" John Barry -
1960 "Rum-Dee-Dum-Dee-Dah" John Barry -
1960 "My Last Wish" John Barry -
1961 "Boston Tea Party" John Barry -
1961 "Big Wheel" John Barry -
1961 "All These Things" John Barry -
1969 "Does Anybody Miss Me" Shirley Bassey -
1974 "Life Is a Wheel" Cleo Laine -
1970 "I'll Be Near You" Jackie Trent -
1970 "I Can Do It" Barbra Streisand -
1971 "Jack in the Box" Clodagh Rodgers No. 4
1973 "Listen" Carol Hawkins -
1986 "To Have and To Hold" Catherine Stock No. 17
1967 "Baby, I Couldn't See" The Foundations -



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Bruce Eder (21 June 1931). "Les Vandyke | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  2. ^ David Stafford; Caroline Stafford (2015). Big Time: The Life Of Adam Faith. Omnibus Press. p. 9. ISBN 978-1783055524.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Adam Faith : Biography by Geoff Leonard and Pete Walker". Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 193. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ a b "Les Vandyke | Compositions". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Doin' The Mod - THE FLIES (1965) - Pop Archives - Sources of Australian Pop Records from the 50s, 60s and 70s". Pop Archives. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  7. ^ "Dance Puppet Dance - LITTLE PATTIE (1965) - Pop Archives - Sources of Australian Pop Records from the 50s, 60s and 70s". Pop Archives. 17 May 1963. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  8. ^ "Johnny Worth". Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  9. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 467. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  10. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 250. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  11. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 533. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  12. ^ "Les Vandyke | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  13. ^ "Les Vandyke". Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  14. ^ "Johnny Worth | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  15. ^ "John Worsley | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 January 2014.

External linksEdit