Musician who wrote hits for Barbra Streisand and Petula Clark dies aged 90

Musician Johnny Worth, who wrote hits for singers including Barbra Streisand, Sammy Davis Jr and Petula Clark, has died at the age of 90, his family has said.

He was responsible for songs such as Streisand’s I Can Do It from Nell The Musical, Clark’s Jumble Sale and Too Late, and Davis’s Bee-Bom, as well as number one hits such as Adam Faith’s What Do You Want, which was record of the year in 1959, and Eden Kane’s Well I Ask You.

He also composed songs that were recorded by Engelbert Humperdinck, Anthony Newley, Bobby Vee, Shirley Bassey, Herman’s Hermits, Marty Wilde, Bobby Rydell, Cleo Laine, Jimmy Justice, John Leyton and Freddie And The Dreamers.

John Worth with the band Kestrel at Poland Street Studio in 1974 (Handout/PA)
John Worth with the band Kestrel at Poland Street Studio in 1974 (Handout/PA)

Worth, who was born John Worsley and used the pseudonyms Les Vandyke and John Worth, wrote music and songs for films during the 1960s and 1970s, including What A Whopper, The Kitchen, Mix Me A Person, Some People, Johnny Cool, Psychomania, and Saturday Night And Sunday Morning.

He started out as a singer in his own right as a member of the Oscar Rabin Band and later The Raindrops vocal quartet.

He also recorded three songs for the score of the 1968 short film Les Bicyclettes De Belsize, including the title song.

He died surrounded by his family at his home in Consett, County Durham, on August 6, following a short illness.

He is survived by his sister Tina, sons David and Christos and daughter Janet, as well as grandchildren and a great grandchild.

Simon Platz, managing director of Worth’s long-time publisher, Bucks Music Group, said: “John was a fantastic composer and songwriter, with an enviable career spanning many decades.

“He was also a unique character with a passion for music that never waned. Even in his late 80s he was still sending me tracks.”