Paul Korda (1948 – March 11, 2020) was an English singer, songwriter, and producer who issued a string of ’60s-era singles, including the 1969 ecological number “Seagull,” also recorded by Love Sculpture.
In 1970, he co-fronted the brass-rock big band Dada for one album on Atco. His first solo album, Passing Stranger, appeared in 1971 on MAM with backing by Ray Russell and Forever More. During the ’70s, he played on albums by Rare Bird and Roger Daltery. His second solo album, Dancing in the Aisles, appeared on Janus in 1978.
He was born Paul Kunstler in Singapore to Shirley Green and Tibor Kunstler. Green (aka Shirley Lenner) was an actress and singer of British origin, best known for her starring role in the 1942 comedy-drama Those Kids From Town. Tibor was a Hungarian classical violinist who studied at the Franz Liszt Conservatory of Music in Budapest. Due to their busy lives and separation, Korda was sent to boarding school at age five.
Korda started on piano and wrote his first musical at age nine. At 13, he won a scholarship to Victoria College on the Isle of Jersey, where he joined The Intruders, a local proto-beat group.
1960s Singles, Credits
In 1966, Korda debuted with the EMI Columbia single “Go On Home” (b/w “Just Come Closer to Me”). He performed regularly at the Soho folk club Les Cousins along with fellow up-and-comers Sandy Denny and Cat Stevens.
At 19, he signed a publishing deal with Immediate Records, established by Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham. Korda penned “The Time Has Come,” a 1967 UK hit for London-based American soul singer P.P. Arnold. An Italian translation, “Se Perdo Te,” was a Top 20 hit in Italy for singer Patty Pravo. Korda broke from Immediate over Oldham’s shady practices.
In 1968, Korda teamed with singer/songwriter Tim Andrews, formerly of the freakbeat bands Le Fleur de Lys and Ruperts People. They issued three joint 1968/69 singles on Parlophone:
- “Smile If You Want To” / “Makin’ Love to Him”
- “Angel Face” / “Waiter Get Me a Drink”
- “How Many More Hearts Must Be Broken” / “Discovery”
Meanwhile, Korda produced 1968 singles for David Morgan, Still Life, and American singer/actor Andy Forray, co-writing the latter’s b-side “Epitaph to You.” Korda and Forray acted together in the Shaftesbury Theatre staging of the counterculture musical Hair. Also in 1968, Korda produced and wrote three songs — “(The Autobiography Of) Mississippi Hobo,” “Sonata of Love,” “All of the Time” — for singer Hans Christian, who soon gained world renown as Yes frontman Jon Anderson.
In 1969, Korda produced the album Are You Samson by the brass-psych band Samson. His second solo single was the 1969 Parlophone release “Seagull,” an ecological number subtitled in certain media as “The West Coast Oil Tragedy of ’68.” That and the b-side, “The Night of the Next Day,” feature string arrangements by Phil Dennys (Jade, Hardin & York, Colin Blunstone). “Seagull” was covered that year by Welsh power-trio Love Sculpture.
In 1970, Korda surfaced as one of three vocalists in Dada, a brass-rock big band that featured keyboardist Don Shinn, Trinidadian singer Jimmy Chambers, and the husband/wife team of guitarist Pete Gage (ex-Zephyrs) and veteran pop vocalist Elkie Brooks. Dada released a self-titled album that year on ATCO Records. Korda wrote six of the album’s 11 songs. He left on the brink of a US tour over musical differences. They toured instead with ex-Alan Bown Set singer Robert Palmer and eventually morphed into soul-rockers Vinegar Joe.
Also in 1970, Korda assembled 20 elderly pensioners for the protest single “Give Us the Right to Live,” released as the O.A.P’s on Paramount Pictures-subsidiary Famous Music.
- Passing Stranger (1971)
- Dancing in the Aisles (1978)
- “Smile If You Want To” / “Makin’ Love to Him” (1968 • Tim Andrews & Paul Korda)
- “Angel Face” / “Waiter Get Me a Drink” (1968 • Tim Andrews and Paul Korda)
- “How Many More Hearts Must Be Broken” / “Discovery” (1969 • Tim Andrews and Paul Korda)
- “Seagull” / “The Night of the Next Day” (1969)
- “Between the Road” / “English Country Garden” (1971)
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