Singing legend Anita Harris is warming up her vocal chords as she sets off on tour – at 76!
Touring again at 76
She may have harmonised with some of the greats, jested with the biggest jokers and had a Carry On or two, but when we sit down for a chat, the lovely Anita Harris sings a humble song and is one of the most down-to-earth ladies I’ve ever spoken to.
At 76, the songstress is still working hard on a fascinating career, one which spans over 50 years, and she sees no reason to retire any time soon. In fact, she’s about to go on tour!
“A promoter came along and said, ‘Come on young lady… old lady… or whatever I am now! Let’s get a few dates together with Peter Gill.’” Suddenly, she sings, “My lovely musical director and piano player!”
Anita Harris In Concert is a wonder ful evening of glitz, glamour, song and sentiment with a series of nods to all the magical folk she’s worked with over the years.
“We’ll enjoy many different styles of music! Lovely ballads and jazz, but hopefully a little bit of rock’n’roll and boogie woogie as well.” She laughs.
Anita has worked alongside legendary names such as Harry Secombe, Phil Silvers, Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper, magician David Nixon, Sid James, Kenneth Williams and Clive Dunn.
“I was lucky enough to work with them, so I don’t want them to be forgotten,” muses Anita. “I wanted to find a way to remember the glory days of each individual, and I think it’s lovely that one can just talk about them or bring in a song that celebrates their lives.”
A big star in the sky to whom Anita feels profoundly grateful is Dusty Springfield. They met in 1966 at TopOf ThePops rehearsals and Dusty insisted she meet her brother, popular songwriter Tom Springfield. He went on to write Anita her big hit, Just Loving You.
“After all these years, I look back and I think what a generous gift she gave me. That song changed my career – took me to the Palladium and all over the world, really! I just look up and say, ‘Thank you Dusty.’
“Such things come into your life when you least expect them. Immediately, you’re very grateful but as time goes by you become supremely grateful!”
And even though she’s met a long list of famous people, Anita says the biggest influence in her life is and always will be family.
“There’s this showbiz, showbiz, showbiz thing, which is wonder ful – but if all l that stopped, I have a lovely family life.
“And my darling husband! Sadly, we didn’t have babies but you just count your blessings and remember to be grateful for the good times.”
Anita and her husband, writer and director Mike Margolis, have hit some notable tough patches such as bankruptcy in 2015, but their relationship has never wavered.
“Bless his heart, he did ask me to marry him a couple of times before I said yes,” Anita confides.
“The first time, we were on a boatboat. He’dHed brought champagne and a lovely food basket. I said I wasn’t quite ready yet and felt dreadful.
“Then I went to Marbella on holiday and I really missed him. I mentioned that to a friend, who told Mike to ‘Get your derrière over there!’
“Sitting in a Spanish restaurant, I looked at him and said, ‘I will.’ He said, ‘I beg your pardon?’ And I said, ‘I will!’ He said, ‘What are you talking about?’ And I said, “I will marry you!’
“I hadn’t realised how loudly I was speaking, as everyone started clapping. So we’ve never forgotten that lovely moment!”
Anita’s tour runs from November 10, 2018 to May 14, 2019. For more information and tickets visit WWW.ANITA-HARRIS.COM
“What a generous gift Dusty gave me. That song changed my career!”
Singing on TV in 1971 With Mike, her beloved husband