Henry Marsh

08 December 1948



First solo album "The Other Side Of The Ocean" 2005 - see below

The legend... taken from the official SAILOR fanclub biography:
"I only wish to state emphatically that I never had dreams - childhood or otherwise - of being a cowboy."
Henry Marsh, Oxford graduate, peer's son, old school tie bearer, chess master and dynamite guitarist, is undoubtedly the most extrovert of the SAILOR musicians. "Comes from being a schoolmaster. Screaming over nasty school boys tends to strengthen one's confidence."
Marsh, a direct descendent of Lord Stainsley-Marsh of Hays, was educated at Langley College, Dorset, and New College, Oxford. "I can read, write my own name and tie my own shoes. That's not bad, is it?"
But long green lawns, formal gardens and academic tranquillity have not always been Marsh's world. After completing his studies at Oxford, Marsh joined a group ("Gringo") then touring Denmark and Holland. The group met with limited success in Europe but failed miserably in England. "Just as well," adds Marsh. "The family were not pleased. They disdain decibels, poor creatures."
`Gringo´ broke up in Amsterdam. "We all came back to the hotel after a gig. I began packing ... so did everyone else. That was it."
Marsh travelled to Paris. "I'd fancied myself a blossoming Oscar Wilde and thought I'd drop by Paris to die a little, you see."
Instead, he took a job as bookseller at Shakespeare & Company, Paris's famous English language bookshop. He fell in quickly with the community of American expatriate writers, and found that he possessed no small talent as a poet and writer of short fiction. A small booklet was published in Paris in 1967 containing several contributions by Marsh. Soon his work was appearing regularly in literary magazines on both sides of the Atlantic. "I may be the very Sampson of the sonnet world."
Long a regular patron of the "Matelot", Marsh joined SAILOR in the winter of 1968 and played with the group until 1970. When SAILOR disbanded, Marsh returned to Langley College with a nearly complete collection of old SAILOR´ tapes, disks and cylindrical. "A marvellously huge collection," he adds, "and worth nearly five bob." He has interrupted his teaching for SAILOR.

And here's the true story...

with special thanks to James McCarraher:

Ian Henry Murray Marsh was born on the 08 December 1948 in Bath, England. The great-great great grandson of Lord Collingwood and son of racing driver Ken Marsh, Henry showed an early aptitude for music which helped to seal a great friendship with ‘mucker’ Jeremy Irons at Sherborne College in Dorset.
Leaving Sherborne, Henry took over as lead singer of a local band, which went through a series of metamorphosis and line up changes, before settling down as the Toast and finally, prog-rockers, Gringo: "We were good but we were also gig fodder. If you played the album at the time there is a little bit of everything going on. You can really see that we were a band of the time – you can really see what we were about. We were one of those frightfully suspect commercial pop bands that wanted to go progressive."
The demise of Gringo left Henry on a limb. Close friend Phil Pickett invited him to join KP Packet, the forerunner to SAILOR.
Following the demise of the original SAILOR line-up, Henry joined Phil (along with Gavin and Ginny David) to record "Dressed For Drowning" and "TV Land" at the famous Caribou Studio in Colorado.
In 1981 Henry and his family joined a community practising Transcendental Meditation in the North of England. The highlight was a visit from His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Throughout this period, he maintained his interest in music, working with Georg on DATA, the Mamluks and teaming up with legendary writer, Barry Mason.
The re-formation of SAILOR was a delight for Henry, who is probably now as famous in American theatre for his compositions as he is in Europe for his part in the band.
Indeed, in 1999, Henry left SAILOR and continues to pursue his award-winning career, although little room remains on the mantlepiece for further theatrical awards.
© James McCarraher 2004.

A full and detailed account can be found in the book "A Glass Of Champagne – The Official Sailor Story".

In August 2005 Henry rejoined SAILOR and returned to his place at the Nickelodeon after a 6-years-absence. The story continues...

Fanclub letter to the fans

Hello everyone
Let me first thank you all for wanting to be a part of the SAILOR club. It's hard for me to believe that Georg, Grant, Phil and myself are back together after twelve years, although I felt way back in 1978 that it might not be over for ever.
When the original band split up in 1978, Phil and I carried on working together, mostly on Phil's songs and had adventurous time in Colorado making the "Dressed For Drowning" album, which also went under the name of SAILOR. Although this has become a bit of a collectors item, we both recognised that the sound of the album did not represent the original SAILOR. However, we were persuaded by the record company to go under that name. On reflection a more suitable name would have been 'Cowboy' - 'Rattlesnake Ernie' - or even 'Butch Pickett and the bespectacled Sundance English Accordionist Trying to Look Reasonably Relaxed on a Horse With No Name'... a great amount of time being spent exploring ghost towns and mining villages, built by the Chinese slaves at the turn of the century, which were situated on the Caribou Ranch where we made the recording.
After this time, Punk music ruled the air waves in Europe, and feeling that I no longer related to what was happening in the music scene, I moved to the north of England with my family to pursue another big love in my life - Transcendental Meditation, with a view to becoming a teacher of it. It was during this period (1981 - 85) that I started writing music seriously, and by the end of my stay in the North, I was familiar enough with computer keyboard science to establish myself as a writer for TV and radio.
Back in London in 1986 I met Barry Mason, one of the great songwriters of the 60's ("The Last Waltz"), and with him and David Bell, the successful Broadway director, wrote my first and only musical to date called 'Malibu'. This was performed by an American cast to producers in New York in February 1991...
Shortly after writing the musical, Georg and I wrote the music for a TV series called "The Kid". It was wonderful to be working with him again and a lot of the fun and humour we had enjoyed in Sailor came out in the crazy and bizarre music and sound effects we created in "The Kid". I then worked with Phil, shortly after he retired from his highly acclaimed career with Culture Club, and wrote a library music album called "Tribute To The Sixties".
Before long, Georg, Phil and myself found ourselves looking for Grant. We found him, now a revered teacher of chemistry in Maidenhead, the excitement for reforming the band after twelve long years returned, and here we are now!"
Finally I have to say that Grant, Georg and Phil are very special people to me, and the musical world of SAILOR is something I always want to be a part of, and of course there is all of you out there showing that you want to share the experience too..... see you in town!!!
Henry Marsh

A text about Henry, taken from the programme of "Casper - The Musical" (composers: Henry Marsh and Phil Pickett, production musical director: Anthony England) 1999 / 2000:

Henry Marsh - composer
Frequently working with Phil Pickett and co-founder of the band SAILOR, Henry's individual credits include extensive TV work composing soundtracks both for drama and for top rating game shows. Henry has also worked extensively with David Bell writing the music scores for theatre productions including "Romeo And Juliet", "A Comedy Of Errors", "Much Ado About Nothing", "Grapes Of Wrath" and "The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs".

Another text about Henry, written in 2001:

Henry Marsh is a composer whose work now spans 25 years. In the 70s he was a founder member of the group SAILOR who achieved international success with numerous hit records including "A Glass Of Champagne" and "Girls Girls Girls".
Since that time, Henry has established himself as a prolific composer for theatre and television. He has worked in collaboration with writer / director David H. Bell for ten years.
His compositional work for theatre in America includes "Romeo And Juliet", "Much Ado About Nothing" and "The Comedy Of Errors". For the later work, he received the "Joseph Jefferson Award" for best composition. He also received a best composer nomination for "Much Ado About Nothing".
His musical theatre work in the USA includes "One Last Summer", "In Stitches" and "Female Problems" for which he received a nomination for Best New Work.
His musical theatre work in the UK includes "The Mask", "Spider-Man" and "Casper". "Casper" enjoyed its West End run at the Shaftesbury Theatre, opening in December 1999.
Henry has composed numerous scores for television. These include "Eye Of The Storm" (ITV drama), "Pirates" (BBC drama), "Blockbusters" (Michael Aspel), "Strike It Rich" (Michael Barrymore), "Black Date" (Channel 4), "Win Lose Or Draw" (Granada Television), "The Fastest Man On Earth" (ITV and Discovery Channel), "House Invaders" (BBC).
His library music has been used worldwide for film and television, including "Fresh Prince Of Bel Air" (Will Smith), "Private Parts (the movie)", "Father Ted", "Home And Away", "Peak Practice" and many others.

Reviews from "As You Like It"
In early 2002 Henry composed the music for the play "As You Like It" at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. The play got a lot of great reviews. Here are some examples:
Reviews by courtesy of Henry Marsh!!

The Wall Street Journal: "The play is filled with sweet songs, here set to equally agreeable Russian melodies (by composer Henry Marsh) sung by excellent singers backed by a strong male chorus..."

Chicagotheatre.com: "...and Henry Marsh's original music so heartwrenchingly ethereal, it seemed to float down from the heavens..."

The Chicago Tribune: "Gifted music theatre director that he is, Bell has zestfully staged the play's songs with tuneful original music by Henry Marsh, so that such familiar sections as 'Under The Greenwood Tree' have a lively new pleasant chorus-bounce..."

Digitalcity.com: "The live music and song, composed by Henry Marsh, is just one more attractive adornment to this highly enjoyable production..."

"Highly recommended: 'As You Like It'... ...composer Henry Marsh's incidental music and song settings could set a Cossack spinning, while a chorus of male voices blends sweetly with the balalaika..."

"Henry Marsh has composed a 'Dr. Zhivago'-like musical score to match the opulent costumes..."

"Despite two songs that Shakespeare would not have written even if he needed them, Henry Marsh's score seems a Slavie delight."

Backstage.com: "Composer Henry Marsh has fit Shakespeare's words to Russian folk melodies, complete with balalaika..."

Henry in tune for top music award
- an article about Henry from the Wiltshire Times 2002 -

A musician from Trowbridge has been nominated for one of the American music scene's most prestigious awards.
A former member of hit 70s group, SAILOR, Henry Marsh, 53, now composes music for the stage and screen and has been nominated for a Joseph Jefferson award for outstanding original music.
He said: "It is quite an honour to be nominated. I won it three years ago and I was so convinced that I wouldn't that I hadn't even prepared what I would say, I just scribbled four names on the back of an overdraft reminder."
The show he has been nominated for is As You Like It, performed at the Shakespeare Theatre in Chicago.
Mr Marsh has written music for shows at the theatre for many years, while also working for British theatres and for television programmes, including Peak Practice and House Invaders.
Nearly all his work over the past ten years has been done from a studio he has created at his home.
Born in Bath, Mr Marsh went to boarding school in Dorset where he was in his first band, along with theatre and film star Jeremy Irons, who remains a close friend.
On leaving school he was supposed to join the Bath and Wiltshire Youth Orchestra as a viola player, but decided instead to follow his dream of playing rock and roll.
His big break came in 1973 when he became part of a new band called SAILOR, which had a string of hits before the members parted company five years later. Mr Marsh said: "Our single 'A Glass Of Champagne' got to number two but it happened to be the time when Bohemian Rhapsody, one of the top selling singles of all time, was at number one.
"I remember phoning up to find out where it had got to when it first came out and it was at number seven and that still stands out now as being something amazing."
After the group split, Mr Marsh moved towards composing and, as well as the work he has done in the USA, has created the music for several British theatre productions, including West End show, Casper.
He is now involved in Theatre Of Dreams, a musical about Manchester United and Sir Matt Busby, which could eventually be performed at the Manchester Arena.
He has also started a company called MB Productions, which makes music videos for up and coming young bands hoping to make their mark in the music industry.
He said: "There are some really good bands in Trowbridge and in Bath and I want to give them the opportunity to present themselves well."

NEWS September 2004:

Two 'Best Composer" Jefferson Awards nominations for Henry Marsh 2004...

Finally we have got some great news from one of the former SAILOR members again:
Henry Marsh has been nominated TWICE for 'Best Composer' at this years Jefferson Awards. The Jefferson Awards are the second most important / prestigious awards in American theatre, and are the 'Oscars' of Chicago theatreland (see
This is the first time in the long history of the Jefferson Awards that a composer has been nominated twice in the same year! Henry scored the music to two productions, 'The Taming of the Shrew' and 'Midsummer Nights Dream'. He won his first Jefferson in 1999.

NEWS 31 October 2004:

We are proud to anounce the launch of the new homepage of Henry Marsh:


photo © by Katrin Wagner

NEWS 01 June 2005:


Available now:
Henry Marsh's first solo album
"The Other Side Of The Ocean"

The long awaited first solo album by Henry Marsh

"The Other Side Of The Ocean"

is now available for purchase.

Go to the "Buy Music" page
to order your personally signed copy of the album!

Or click here for further information about the album!

Go to:

Georg Kajanus
Henry Marsh
Phil Pickett
Grant Serpell
Gavin & Virginia David
Peter Lincoln
Anthony England
Rob Alderton
Oliver Marsh
Nick Parvin
The crew...

photo © by Adreas Boose

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