Band leader Edmundo Ros dies, 100

Edmundo Ros in 1949 Edmundo Ros introduced Latin beats to UK audiences

Band leader Edmundo Ros, the man credited with popularising Latin American music in the UK, has died at the age of 100.

His death was confirmed by showbusiness charity the Grand Order of Water Rats.

Secretary John Adrian said: "He died last night peacefully at his home in Spain, two months short of his 101st birthday".

Ros received an OBE for services to entertainment in the New Year Honours of 2000.

Royal rumba success

According to the Official Edmundo Ros Website, he was born in Trinidad in December 1910.

The family moved to Caracas, Venezuela, and he became the tympanist in the Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela.

By 1937 he had moved to London to continue his classical studies, but instead became involved in popular music, forming his own five-piece Rumba Band in 1940 and making his first recording, for Parlophone, in 1941.

His performances at the Bagatelle Restaurant in London attracted the Royal Family and celebrities of the day, sealing his success.

Start Quote

He was a major figure, one of the biggest names.”

End Quote John Adrian Grand Order of Wat Rats

The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, danced her first dance in public to his music. In later years he and his orchestra were often invited to play at Buckingham Palace.

In 1951 he bought the Coconut Grove and named it the Edmundo Ros Dinner and Supper Club. Only those mentioned in Who's Who were allowed club membership, the website claims.

The band grew and was renamed Edmundo Ros and his Orchestra, selling millions of records.

Among his most popular songs were Yellow Bird and The Coffee Song, containing the lyric: "They've got an awful lot of coffee in Brazil."

During the 1950s and 1960s the Ros orchestra appeared frequently on BBC Radio, but in 1975 he disbanded the orchestra, destroying most of its arrangement sheets.

Albums with his band and orchestra included Chocolate Whiskey & Vanilla Gin, and Broadway goes Latin and Hollywood Cha Cha Cha.

In his retirement, he lived with his wife Susan in Alicante, Spain.

"He was a major figure, one of the biggest names", Mr Adrian said.

"When you get to 100 you stop working. He retired in 1975, but between '39 and '75 he was a big, big name, had his own club in London and played around the world.

"His discography is massive. He was the one who really popularised Latin American music in this country."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    I grew up with Ros, and collected his records for many years. His sig tune "Cancion Cubana", dates from around 1945, and that output on Decca, from about 1944 till 1954, was the most popular, and best remembered, of his work. "Good good good" and "Come closer to me" were other favourites.("Wedding Samba" is actually adapted from an old Yiddish folk tune, but he made it his own.).

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    Edmundo Ros lead one of the many Latin Bands of that era. As a young man I listened to him often on the radio. In 1962 there was also a TV series of his orchestra and dancers.
    For so many people "The Wedding Samba" was probably the most well known, I personally also liked "What do you do on a rainy night in Rio"
    A legend in his own right, and will be remembered by many for years to come.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    I'm humming Yellow bird as I type, it was a favourite song as a child as my gran had a canary and I was convinced the song was about that. Thankyou for happy memories

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    Apart from some wonderful radio programmes I remember watching Edmundo on black and white late night television in the 1960's. He was a truly great performer who obviously loved his music - as I recall he was always smiling. I am so glad he had a peaceful end to his life. Thank you Edmundo for making life that little bit more enjoyable. God Bless.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    He was very much part of my childhood radio listening in the 1950s - I remember his greeting, 'Hello, hello!' And, yes, rscrit is right: Edmundo Ros never had any connection with the Goon Show - this was Ray Ellington. The other Goon Show regular musician was the Dutch harmonica player Max 'Conks' Geldray.


Comments 5 of 49


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