Greg Bowen

May 03, 1943


From Wikipedia:

Gregory Bowen ( Gregory Emmanuel Cole Bowen, May 3, 1943) is a Welsh trumpet player. His primary work was done in London before relocating to Berlin, Germany in 1976. Since 1961, Bowen has performed and recorded with jazz, pop artists and entertainers from Europe and North America on records, soundtracks and T.V. broadcasts. Most notable is his lead trumpet work on the James Bond film soundtracks Goldfinger, Thunderball and You Only Live Twice.

Early life

Bowen was born in the town of Llangennech in South Wales; he is the younger of two brothers. His father Selwyn was a steelworker, his mother Florence a housewife. Bowen started to play the cornet at the age of eight in the Pontarddulais Town Band. The band’s director Cliff Ward arranged a few solo trumpet works to feature Greg. While at Strade Secondary School in Llanelli, he joined the Carmarthenshire Youth Orchestra and then later the National Youth Orchestra of Wales. While still at school, Bowen became a part-time student at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff where he studied with Ron Trottman of the BBC Welsh Orchestra. In 1959 he became a full-time student at the college and moved to Cardiff. From 1958 onwards, Bowen started playing with bands and orchestras in Wales, most notably with the BBC Welsh Dance Orchestra, directed by Allan Singleton-Wood and featured in the BBC national TV show Swing High and on Welsh radio.

CareerEarly professional years in London

In 1961 Bowen moved to London and played with popular dance orchestras of Johnny Howard, Jack Dorsey, Ray McVay, and Denny Boyce. In 1964 Bowen shifted away from local dance bands to becoming the lead trumpet player in Johnny Dankworth’s orchestra, touring throughout Britain and accompanying Mel Tormé. In 1965 he become the lead trumpet chair with Ted Heath’s big band. From 1966 onward he played lead trumpet in Tubby Hayes’s big band. In 1973 Bowen was part of Kenny Wheeler’s big band, playing on the album Song For Someone. From 1970 to 1973 Bowen recorded on a number of tracks with C.C.S. which produced several Top 40 ranked instrumental rock n’ roll “covers” in the early 1970s. He also served as first trumpet with the instrumental based Mantovani Concert Orchestra in the mid-1970s which played cover versions of pop music. In 1970 Bowen went on a European tour as co-lead trumpet with Benny Goodman and for Andy Williams’ European tour in 1972. He would continue to work with the BBC big bands in London and Wales in later years.

By the mid-1960s, Bowen had become a full-time recording session musician and made the majority of his professional work in London. He often worked seven days a week, frequently doing three recording sessions a day. He played on recordings such as the Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever, Tom Jones’s Delilah (1968), Shirley Bassey’s Big Spender (1967), Petula Clark’s Don’t Sleep in the Subway (1967), as well as early Rolling Stones recordings.

A large part of Bowen’s session work during this time was made up of recordings for film and television. In his work on British television, he played in Bob Sharples’s Orchestra for the T.V. show Opportunity Knocks (music arranged by Hughie Green). Other TV shows starred Tom Jones (This Is Tom Jones), Lulu, Cilla Black, Morecambe & Wise; musical directors he worked for at this time were Alan Ainsworth, Harry Rabinowitz, Ronnie Hazlehurst, Johnny Harris, and Jack Parnell. Film soundtracks Bowen played on include Ferry Cross the Mersey (1965), The Railway Children (1970), and Jesus Christ Superstar (1973).

In 1964, Bowen was first contracted to play trumpet on the recording sessions for Goldfinger, the third installment of the popular James Bond film series. He continued to play lead trumpet on the James Bond films Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) and Diamonds Are Forever (1971), with trumpeters Leon Calvert, Ray Davies, Bert Ezzard, and Albert Hall. For Live And Let Die (1973), The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), Tony Fisher took over the lead trumpet chair, with Bowen in the trumpet section alongside Eddie Blair, Leon Calvert, and Stan Roderick (who had played lead trumpet in the first two Bond films: Dr. No and From Russia With Love). In 1975, Bowen went on a five-week tour of Japan with the John Barry Orchestra to promote The Man with the Golden Gun. The trumpet section on this tour consisted of Stan Roderick, Greg Bowen, Tony Fisher, and Eddie Blair. After he moved to West Berlin in 1976, he was contacted by John [Barry] about A View to a Kill in 1985 for the recording session in London. […]

Greg Bowen played the trumpet on The Beatles’ songs “Strawberry Fields Forever“ and “Revolution 1“.

Last updated on January 3, 2023

Albums, EPs & singles which Greg Bowen contributed to

Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane

By The Beatles • 7" Single

Contribution: Trumpet • 1 songs

Magical Mystery Tour (US LP - Mono)

By The Beatles • LP

Contribution: Trumpet • 1 songs

Magical Mystery Tour (US LP - Stereo)

By The Beatles • LP

Contribution: Trumpet • 1 songs

Magical Mystery Tour Plus Other Songs

By The Beatles • LP

Contribution: Trumpet • 1 songs

1967-1970 (US version, 1973)

By The Beatles • Official album

Contribution: Trumpet • 1 songs

1967-1970 (UK version, 1973)

By The Beatles • LP

Contribution: Trumpet • 1 songs

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