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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 May, 2003, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
Pop producer Most dies
Mickie Most and Nancy Sinatra
Most with Nancy Sinatra on the back of his motor bike in 1969
Record producer Mickie Most, who worked with music stars including Jeff Beck and Lulu, has died at the age of 64.

Most, real name Michael Peter Hayes, died at home in north London on Friday.

Reported to be worth 50m and credited with producing more No 1 hits world-wide than any other record producer, he had been battling the rare cancer mesothelioma for a year.

During a long career he recorded work with The Animals, Hot Chocolate and Kim Wilde.

Born in Aldershot, Hampshire, Most was known to many as a panellist on the hit TV talent show New Faces in the 1970s.

But he began his music career in The Most Brothers, whose backing band included future Shadows Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch on guitars.

Mickie Most
It was this determination and belief that contributed to his remarkable achievements
Deke Arlon

In the late 50s and early 60s he became a pop star in South Africa where his band the Playboys had 11 consecutive number ones with covers of American hits.

After he returned to the UK, his first job producing was with the Animals and their massive hit House of the Rising Sun.

By 1964 he had won his first Grammy award.

In the late 60s he was producing Donovan, Lulu and Beck.

The 70s he signed Mud and Suzi Quatro to his own label - Rak Records - and worked with Hot Chocolate and Smokie.

Rak was sold to EMI in the late Eighties but Most continued to make money because he was the first producer in the UK to own the rights to his own records

Many of his songs have held enduring popularity, including Hot Chocolate's You Sexy Thing, which featured in the hit movie The Full Monty.

R&B success

Long-term friend Deke Arlon, the president of Sanctuary Entertainment Group, said: "Mickie's musical success in the US stemmed from his monthly trips to New York and LA carrying a briefcase full of his latest tapes.

"He knocked on the doors of top record executives and wouldn't leave until they'd heard his music.

"Introducing R&B to America was no easy feat. It was this determination and belief that contributed to his remarkable achievements."

Nicky Chinn, of the Seventies song-writing and producing team Chinn and Chapman, described Most as a "giant of the industry".

He said: "He was a great man and my best friend. He had an incredible skill in picking songs - he could pick a song on the moon."

Most had two daughters Nathalie and Christalle and a son Calvin.

Among his achievements latterly was the success of the album by Johnny Hates Jazz, co-produced with the band's drummer, Calvin.

Nathalie is a successful publisher at the forefront of the Rak Music empire.

His wife Christina was at his side when he died.




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