IN THE Seventies, she was on the arm of Sean Connery and Ringo Starr while her singles were on the record players of the nation.
Lynsey de Paul, who was the first woman to win an Ivor Novello award and who once serenaded the Conservative Party conference with a self-penned anthem whose chorus went: “Vote Tory, Tory, Tory/For election glory”, has died. She was 64.
The singer-songwriter, who scored a raft of top-ten hits, wrote TV theme tunes and represented the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest, had been complaining of severe headaches and is understood to have suffered a brain haemorrhage. She died on Wednesday at a hospital in London.
Michael Joyce, her agent who confirmed her death, said: “Although she was small in stature, she was big in positive personality. She was always so positive about everything.”
The news of her death rippled out across Twitter where John Challis, the actor best known as Boycie in Only Fools and Horses, tweeted: “Sad news of Lynsey de Paul, beautiful and talented singer/songwriter. Storm in a Teacup, one of my favourite songs.”
The broadcaster and writer Gyles Brandeth called de Paul “gifted, funny, sparky, charming”, tweeting: “A lovely talent & person.”
Born Lyndsey Monckton Rubin in 1950, the daughter of a Jewish property developer in Cricklewood, north London, she began her musical career designing album sleeves, then moved on to songwriting.
Her breakthrough came in early 1972 when she co-wrote Storm in a Teacup which became a top-ten hit for The Fortunes, while a few months later she performed her own song Sugar Me which reached No 5 in the British singles charts.
De Paul teamed up with Mike Moran as the UK entry for Eurovision in 1977, staged at Wembley Conference Centre, and finished in second place with a song called Rock Bottom.
Her five top-20 hits also included the theme tune she composed for ITV sitcom No Honestly, which starred Pauline Collins and John Alderton.
In the late 70s and early 80s, she moved to California to live with James Coburn, the Hollywood actor, and also had a relationship with Dudley Moore, but she never married.
After her career began to decline in the 1980s, she worked on theme songs and appeared at the 1983 Conservative Party conference with a self-penned tribute to the political party and Margaret Thatcher.
She also composed jingles for radio stations and in 1992 released a self-defence video for women called “Taking Control”, while speaking about her own history of violent relationships.
A strict vegetarian, de Paul had been seen in recent years in celebrity editions of TV shows such as Come Dine With Me and Cash in the Attic, and she also acted in the Stephen Fry drama Kingdom.
Yesterday, her friend, the broadcaster and campaigner Esther Rantzen, paid tribute, saying: “She was a renaissance woman. She could do everything – she could sing, she could compose, she was an immensely talented artist. She became a huge star but she was also a loyal and generous friend. It’s an absolutely tragic loss.”
De Paul wrote the theme to Rantzen’s BBC1 series Hearts of Gold. It was among the many shows to which she contributed, including the revival of sitcom The Rag Trade. When she was voted “Rear of the Year”, she thanked the organisers “from the heart of my bottom”.
Her sense of humour informed her close friendship with Spike Milligan, who reportedly named the small star Looney de Small.