Fred Tomlinson (singer)
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Fred Tomlinson Singer

Frederick Tomlinson (18 December 1927 - 17 July 2016) was a British singer, songwriter and composer. He founded the Fred Tomlinson Singers, who sang the music featured on Monty Python's Flying Circus, The Two Ronnies and other British television shows.[1][2] Tomlinson also composed and wrote songs for Monty Python, including "The Lumberjack Song", which he co-wrote with Terry Jones and Michael Palin.[1][2] He and his Fred Tomlinson Singers then performed "The Lumberjack Song" on Monty Python's Flying Circus in December 1969, as well as the song "Spam" in 1970 while dressed as Vikings.[1]

Tomlinson was born on 18 December 1927, in Rawtenstall, Lancashire.[1] His father, Fred, had created the Rossendale Male Voice Choir in 1924.[2] His older brother, Ernest Tomlinson, was a composer. He won a scholarship to Manchester Cathedral choir school until it closed in 1940 due to the war. He was then at age 11 admitted to the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, attending King's College School, Cambridge.[3][1] He then attended Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School[1] before studying music, mathematics, statistics, and the Italian language at Leeds University.[2] Tomlinson trained to become a teacher and served in the Royal Air Force in Singapore before embarking on a career in music. He joined the George Mitchell Singers and formed his own vocal quartet, the Northerners, before establishing the Fred Tomlinson Singers in the late 1960s.[2] He married his wife, Pamela, during the mid-1950s.[2]

Tomlinson had a lifelong interest in the music of Peter Warlock and acted as the chairman of the Peter Warlock Society for 25 years. He produced editions of Warlock scores, wrote a companion piece to The Curlew using the same instrumentation, and wrote several books about the composer, including A Peter Warlock Handbook (1974, 1977) and Warlock and van Dieren, with a van Dieren Catalogue (1978).[4] He composed original music under the name "Frederick Culpan", including The Chaucer Suite.[1]

Fred Tomlinson died on 17 July 2016, at the age of 88.[1] He was survived by his wife, Pamela. His death was announced on Monty Python's official website.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Fred Tomlinson, singer on Monty Python - obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 2016-08-02. Retrieved .
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Slotnik, Daniel E. (2016-08-04). "Fred Tomlinson, Singer Who Led a 'Monty Python' Troupe, Dies at 88". New York Times. Retrieved .
  3. ^ Ashton, Hilary (2016-08-18). "Fred Tomlinson obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved .
  4. ^ Peter Warlock Society

External links

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