Ronnie Hilton’s Leeds United glory days in dictionary

Ronnie Hilton pictured with Don Revie in 1979.
Ronnie Hilton pictured with Don Revie in 1979.
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RONNIE Hilton was the 1950s pop star famed for his vintage Leeds United songs that remain favourites of the Elland Road faithful to this day.

Now the story of the man who recorded Glory Glory Leeds United has been told in the new edition of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB), which was set to be published today.

Hilton was an avid Leeds United fan and lived in Leeds for the majority of his life.

During the Don Revie era of the 1960s and 1970s Hilton recorded songs including Leeds United Calypso, Glory Glory Leeds United and The Tale of Billy Bremner.

However, he was born in Hull and lived there for the first 14 years of his life.

The new edition of the ODNB adds the biographies of 89 notable men and women from Hull ahead of its year as City of Culture, 2017.

Andy Robinson, a volunteer at Hull’s Carnegie Heritage Centre, is an expert on the city’s musical history and wrote the ODNB article on Ronnie Hilton.

Mr Robinson said: “I didn’t know how big a star Ronnie Hilton was until I started to research this.

“Most people know him because of his novelty hits. He had a big novelty hit in the 60s with Windmill in Old Amsterdam and people know him through that.

“But what I didn’t know was how big a star he was in 1955 to 1956. He had a number one, he had hit records, he had a fan club, he did sell-out shows. He was a bona fide pop star.

“I discovered quite an interesting man who kept to his Yorkshire roots. He made a great contribution to Hull, Leeds, Yorkshire and the national pop music scene.”

Hilton came to Leeds aged fourteen to work as an apprentice fitter at the Blackburn aircraft factory. After serving in the army in the Second World War, he returned to Leeds where he sang regularly on the club circuit.

He had fifteen top thirty hits between 1954 and 1959. After his chart career was over Hilton remained in demand for cabaret performances and pantomime.

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