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Mike Batt

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Southampton, England (1969 – present)

Michael Philip “Mike” Batt (born 6 February 1949, Southampton, England) is a British songwriter, musician, producer and Deputy Chairman of the British Phonographic Industry. He is best known for creating The Wombles pop act, writing the chart-topping “Bright Eyes,” and discovering Katie Melua.

Batt began his career in pop music at the age of eighteen as a signed artist with Liberty Records, having answered the same advertisement as Elton John and Bernie Taupin placed by Ray Williams in the New Musical Express. The talented youth quickly became part of Liberty’s production team, and in 1969 he took over production duties from Noel Walker, on blues great McKenna Mendelson Mainline’s seminal first release, Stink. Walker and Batt were credited on the album only as “Liberty Staff”. Also in 1969, Batt released as producer/artist a Liberty single, his bouncy cover of The Beatles’ “Your Mother Should Know”. Batt subsequently became Head of A&R for Liberty Records.

His first hits as a singer/songwriter/producer were by The Wombles, in 1974. After eight hit singles and four gold albums with The Wombles, he moved on to work with various artists as a songwriter/producer, most successfully with Steeleye Span and their most successful single and album All Around My Hat in 1975.

Arguably his most famous success is Watership Down (including music and lyrics to Art Garfunkel’s international number one single, “Bright Eyes”, which won “Best Film Song or Music” one of his five Ivor Novello Awards. Criticized for being trite and overly sentimental, the song remains a radio favourite.

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