Quintessentially English in her type and method, the favored singer Rosemary Squires has died aged 94. Equally at residence in entrance of an enormous band or in an intimate cabaret setting and with a penchant for jazz, she was additionally pleased to combine it with comedy performers on tv and radio.
When one other singer described her as “business” it was a praise, signifying Squires’ professionalism in dealing efficiently with differing musical assignments. Over the six a long time of her profession, Squires earned such sobriquets because the “Queen of the Jingles” – for 40 years, she was the voice of the Fairy Liquid TV commercial, singing “For palms that do dishes to be as gentle as your face … delicate inexperienced, Fairy liquid”, and having fun with the repeat charges – or Britain’s Doris Day, in tribute to the relaxed purity of her vocal sound.
She advised BBC Dorset that she made her first radio broadcast for the BBC’s Youngsters’s Hour programme when she was 12, but in addition emphasised how a lot she had liked dancing to the music she heard on the American bases, saying: “I’ve been thrown over many American troopers’ shoulders in a jitterbug. As soon as you bought in a nook and obtained carried away, it’s a marvel we weren’t all flung via the home windows.”
At 20 and with a settled stage title, Squires moved to London and was quickly immersed within the worlds of business classes, radio broadcasts and summer time seasons, working alongside star entertainers together with Ken Dodd, Alma Cogan and Frankie Vaughan.
She recalled, considerably ruefully, standing in for an absent singer with the rumbustious Tommy Sampson large band on their 1948 forces tour in Germany. Despatched off on her personal, she and her baggage have been separated when the practice divided previous to her arrival in Hamburg.
With a loaned costume and no concept what she was to sing, she needed to “get via it by some means”, and he or she did. In her phrases, Sampson’s outfit was “a insurgent band, however what a band it was”. Filled with future jazz stars, it was far too progressive for the dancing public. Again within the UK, Sampson allotted along with her companies, saying he couldn’t afford to pay her. “Effectively, he hadn’t paid me anyway, so I left.”
The Nineteen Fifties and 60s have been her performing heyday, with common appearances on the BBC Gentle Programme exhibits Melody Time, Employees’ Playtime, and particularly, Prime Tunes, from 1955 onwards. “You probably did your individual spot,” she remembered. “That actually put you in your mettle, one tune going into one other, all carried out ‘reside’ earlier than an viewers.”
The BBC determined to stage Prime Tunes on the Queen Mary over a 13-week collection, crusing from side to side throughout the Atlantic, with Geraldo’s orchestra in tow. “We had first-class lodging, and it was pretty,” she mentioned, recalling that singer Gracie Fields had been among the many passengers on one journey.
Squires’ comedy expertise additionally appear to have been in demand, beginning with the ITV collection Let’s Keep House in 1956, then After Hours with Michael Bentine for 3 episodes in 1958, and later, in 1967, with the comedians Ted Ray and Reg Varney in Hooray for Laughter. She additionally made TV appearances on Six-5 Particular, with Pete Murray, and on Juke Field Jury. Briefly she had her personal TV present, Rendezvous With Rosemary, in 1961.
Squires launched 13 singles, one among which, Frankfurter Sandwiches, made in 1961 below the pseudonym of Joanne and the Streamliners, grew to become a minor hit. However more and more disenchanted by the rise of pop and rock, she moved to the US, the place she stayed for 18 months, and gained a daily slot on the celebrated Johnny Carson Present, additionally performing with US stars Danny Kaye and Sammy Davis Jr, earlier than making for residence.
She recorded 11 albums, beginning with Every little thing’s Coming Up Rosy for HMV in 1963 (reissued in Japan in 2012), and together with two jazz releases for Spotlite and Mainstem amongst her extra fashionable outings for Decca and Meridian.
Finally Squires returned to her residence metropolis of Salisbury, Wiltshire, in 1983 and married retired police divisional commander Frank Lockyer in 1991, joking that her finest monetary determination was “marrying a person with a police pension”.
Content material to focus on her work with native charities, she stored her profession going with self-promoted excursions, and her occasional participation within the singer Barbara Jay’s fashionable Ella Fitzgerald Songbook Present within the 90s, backed by saxophonist Tommy Whittle’s jazz quartet. Jay recalled: “She was a stunning woman, straightforward to work with. She was a star in her personal proper, with a novel, very contemporary type.”
That very same clear, good vocal high quality inspired her pal the saxophonist Vic Ash to assist her create a Doris Day tribute present, accompanied by his jazz group and together with fellow singer Dennis Lotis. Opening at Grays in Essex in October 1996, the present ran constantly for the subsequent seven years. Her closing hurrah got here in 2012 with two particular nationwide excursions celebrating each the Queen’s jubilee and Squires’ personal in present enterprise, culminating in two appearances on the Royal Pageant Corridor.
Born in Bristol as Joan Yarrow, she was the daughter of a civil servant and was introduced up and educated in Salisbury after her household relocated there. Her mom got here from a musical household, and Rosemary took singing classes at St Edmund’s women’ faculty within the metropolis. She started to sing whereas nonetheless a young person with native music teams and even a Polish army band, serving to to entertain the troops on the UK and US military bases across the Salisbury space.
Squires was appointed MBE in 2004 and eight years later she acquired the British Music Corridor Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Her husband predeceased her; she is survived by her sister, Julia, and a niece, Pat.