Ray Martin

Birth name Kurt Kohn
Born October 11th, 1918, Vienna, Austria
Died February 7th, 1988, Johannesburg, South Africa (aged 69)
Also known as Raymond Stuart Martin (anglicised name)
Marshall Ross (pseudonym)
Buddy Cadbury | Tony Simmonds | Lester Powell (alternate names)
Occupations music director, composer, conductor, orchestra leader


Martin was born in Vienna, Austria, on October 11, 1918. He studied at the Vienna Academy of Music and Fine Arts when he was old enough, spending five years there until he moved to Britain in 1938. He began to tour with orchestras and bands for various gigs until World War II came around.
Nearly two thousand refugees were dispatched to Australia on the Dunera as enemy aliens and initially sent to a complex of camps in Hay in rural New South Wales.
Within two months, internees had established a theatre with stage lights contrived from empty jam and petrol tins. They performed musical comedies written on arrival in the camp: Hay Fever in camp 7 and Hay Days are Happy Days, to which 120 internees contributed in one way or another, in camp 8.
The musicians' improvisation skills were put to good use in a mock jazz band with internees mimicking instruments with their mouths. Ray Martin (the new name chosen by Kurt Kohn), who later became known in England and America for popular and film music, wrote ironic lyrics about internment in the outback heat: "Make your Hay Days your gay days / Yours is all the fun / Yours is all the sun. In 1941 he joined the Intelligence Corps until his playing abilities brought him to leading a radio dance band for the British Forces. He also booked variety shows for the soldiers, bringing many popular acts to see the troops in Germany. After leaving the military, he returned to England where he immediately dove back into composing. He was given his first radio series in 1947, leading to further exposure to the British public, and he even released a single through singer Vera Lynn. He conducted comedian Danny Kaye's U.K. tour and formed the BBC Northern Variety Orchestra, which he conducted until 1951. He started recording in 1949, working for several big-name labels and releasing many orchestral favorites.

Martin became one of the joint A&R managers at Columbia Records when he left the orchestra, leading to his entry into television. Due to its growing popularity, he decided to try his hand at writing scores for various TV shows. After successfully working in that industry (while maintaining his A&R job at the same time), he left England and signed to RCA Records in America. His career was starting to slow from increasing age, and he only made occasional visits to Britain after making the move. He recorded six LPs in Paris for Polydor in the '60s, but his deteriorating health brought him back to Britain in 1972. He still continued to move around, finding himself in South Africa by 1978 despite an increasingly difficult battle with cancer. He fought long and hard against the disease, even building a broadcasting career in his new country. But on February 7, 1988, his health problems became too much and he died at the age of 69. His influence on British music was quite large, and although he did not produce much material in the latter part of his life, his legacy will live on for years to come.



Year Album Label
1957 Vibrations EMI Music Distribution
1958 Million Dollar Melodies EMI Music Distribution
1959 Rockin' Strings RCA Victor
1961 Dynamica Cloud 9 Records
2005 Ray Martin & Bernie Bennings Celebrate Elvis' 70th Anniversary  


1958 Pop Goes The Swingin' Marching Band (LP, Mono) RCA Victor
1959 Pop Goes The Swingin' Marching Band (LP) RCA
1961 The Rockin' Strings Of Ray Martin (LP, Album) RCA
1964 The Sound Of Sight Decca
1964 Dancing After Dark (LP, Mono) Summit (3)
1975 Romance In Wien (LP) Music For Pleasure
Unknown Music In The Ray Martin Manner (LP) Columbia
Singles & EPs
1958 Rah-En-Gay (7", Single) United Artists Records
1961 Who's Sorry Now? / Blueberry Hill (7", Single) RCA Victor


Title / Composer
Ballet of the Bells
Belle of the Ball
Blue Tango feat. Gordon MacRae Mitchell Parish / Leroy Anderson (1952)
Blue Violins
Bonny Mary of Argyle feat. Josef Locke
Carousel Waltz feat. Lonnie Donegan Richard Rodgers / Oscar Hammerstein II
Dream of Yesterday
How Many Times (Bonus Track) feat. Adelaide Hall / The Orchestra / Original London Cast / Jean Carson
Isle of Innesfree feat. Josef Locke
Lazy Cowboy
Lost to a Stranger feat. Jimmy Martin F. Brown Jr.
Love Is a Many Splendoured Thing
March of the Grenadiers feat. Josef Locke Clifford Grey
Melody from the Sky
O Maiden, My Maiden feat. Josef Locke Ray Martin / Franz Lehár
Once upon a Wintertime
Shades of Old Blarney feat. Josef Locke Sam H. Stept
Sioux War Dance
Swedish Rhapsody" (1953)
Tango of the Bells
The Carousel Waltz" (1956)
The High and the Mighty
The Marching Strings Millicent Martin ( (composition credited to Marshall Ross, a pseudonym) - was used as the theme tune for BBC school quiz show Top of the Form)
The Waltzing Bugle Boy Ray Martin
The Whistling Gypsy
To Audrey
To Cyd
Vanity (Bonus Track) feat. Adelaide Hall / The Orchestra / Original London Cast / Jean Carson
Waltz of Paree
You Are My Heart's Delight feat. Josef Locke Steve Graham / Franz Lehár