Ronnie Hazlehurst HazelhurstA google for "Ronnie Hazelhurst" provides 1700-odd results - "Ronnie Hazlehurst" coming in second with about 1,100. I have no idea which is right - I suspect the second one, but many sources from both camps look pretty authoratitive (and I completely sympathise, having much the same problem myself). Ronnie - if you're out there - please enlighten us.
Details are very sketchy I'm afraid - maybe at some point I'll pluck up the courage to attempt to contact the man himself and fill in the missing bits. Ronnie was born (sometime?) in Dukinfield, Cheshire (coincidentally, the same place as Kathy Staff, the actress from Last of the Summer wine. Laurie Holloway recalls that he played in Tommy Smith's dance band, ( of whom I can find nothing, so far), but his first work for the BBC as a composer appears to have been the 'Likely Lads' theme tune in 1964. Over then next 30 years he composed a huge number of TV themes, was the musical director for countless shows, and performed and recorded with his orchestra all over the place.
He was a member of the Grand Order of Water Rats (a Past Chief Trap Guard and Rat of the Year 1995) and also of the Coda Club, a "Meeting place for musicians". ( They never invited me - huh! :) ) In 1999, he was awarded the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters's Gold Badge.
Ronnie was a keen Laurel and Hardy fan, being a member of the famous Sons of the Desert. In addition to having recorded two albums of classic Laurel and Hardy music, he performed with his band at SOTD events.
During the 1970's and 80's, Ronnie became such a well-known name in the UK that he was honoured with a Spitting Image lampoon (voiced by Harry Enfield) in one of my all-time favourite sketches, featuring Ronnie's Requiem Mass...("Jesus-is-dead, Jesus-is-dead, *boom* *boom* Jesus-is-dead, Jesus-is-dead, *boom* *boom*") - a great pastiche by Keith Strachen, Ian Hislop and Nick Newman.
Sadly, Ronnie passed away on the 1st Oct 2007. He will be sorely missed