Batt is one of Britain's best-known songwriter/composers.
His consistent track record of success includes production,
composition and conducting on projects as diverse
as 'Watership Down' (music and lyrics to Art Garfunkel's
international number one single, 'Bright Eyes'), 'Phantom
of The Opera' (producing, orchestrating and contributing
lyrics to the first hit) and a great deal of symphonic
work, including many television and film scores. He
has won five Ivor Novello Awards including 'Best Film
Song or Music' two years in succession, once with
'Watership Down' and once with 'Caravans' the epic
adaptation of Michener's novel, starring Anthony Quinn.
He has conducted many of the world's great orchestras
including the London Symphony, The London Philharmonic,
The Royal Philharmonic, The Sydney Symphony Orchestra,
the State Orchestra of Victoria and The National Symphony
Orchestra Of Ireland.
He began his career in popular music at the age of
eighteen, as a signed artist with and subsequently
Head of A&R for Liberty/United Artists Records.
Leaving to form his own music publishing company two
years later, and simultaneously working as a recording
artist. His first hits as a singer/songwriter/producer
were by The Wombles, in 1974.
After eight hit singles and four gold albums with
The Wombles, he moved on to work with Steeleye Span
('All Around My Hat'), the Kursall Flyers ('Little
Did She Know'), Elkie Brookes ('Lilac Wine'), Barbara
Dickson ('Caravan Song') and Art Garfunkel ('Bright
Eyes') all of which were top five in at least the
As a singer, his solo albums include 'Schizophonia'
and 'Tarot Suite' (both with the London Symphony Orchestra).
From these albums came the European hit songs 'Railway
Hotel', 'Lady Of The Dawn', 'The Winds Of Change'
and 'The Ride To Agadir'. He achieved the number four
position as an artist in the UK charts in 1976 with
his single 'Summertime City'.
In 1980, he went off with his family aboard his boat
'Braemar', ending up in Australia after two and a
half years, travelling via France, The West Indies,
South America, Central America, Mexico, Los Angeles,
Hawaii and Fiji.
Returning to the UK in 1983, Mike wrote and produced
three more top ten hits, 'Please Don't Fall In Love'
(for Cliff Richard), 'A Winter's Tale' (for David
Essex, with lyric co-written by Tim Rice) and 'I Feel
Like Buddy Holly' (for Alvin Stardust).
The first 'Snark' album was recorded in 1984, featuring
Art Garfunkel, Cliff Richard, Deneice Williams, Captain
Sensible, John Hurt, Sir John Gielgud, Roger Daltrey,
Julian Lennon, Stephane Grappelli and George Harrison.
It was the first step towards a full dramatic treatment.
Since then, he has been preoccupied with 'The Hunting
Of The Snark', stopping from time to time to become
involved with other projects such as the 'The Phantom
Of The Opera' single, which was a top ten hit for
Steve Harley and Sarah Brightman. Other projects include
Colm Wilkinson's album 'Stage Heroes' with the London
Philharmonic Orchestra, Justin Hayward's album 'Classic
Blue' (also with the LPO) and the music for 'The Dreamstone',
ITV's high-rating 52 part animated series, once again
with the London Philharmonic. This score and album
was composed, orchestrated, conducted, produced and
music-supervised by Mike.
He made his concert debut as a conductor at the Barbican
with the LSO in 1984, with a programme including the
Carmen Suites (Bizet), The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Dukas)
and other light classics, and has since conducted
the LSO, LPO and RPO in various programmes and/or
recordings of well-known repertoire pieces such as
'The Planets Suite' (Holst), 'Scheherezade' (Rimsky
Korsakov) and 'Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture'
(Tchaikovsky). In 1990, he was Music Director of the
Melbourne Summer Music Festival, with the State Orchestra
In 1990 he resigned his directorship of The Performing
Right Society Ltd. in order to concentrate on musical
work, and was appointed by the then Prime Minister
Margaret Thatcher as a member of the Government Working
Group for music in the school curriculum.
He produced, arranged and conducted the 'Cover Shot'
album by David Essex (top three in the UK albums chart)
and recorded his Symphonic Suite 'The Dreamstone'
with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at Abbey Road
He also produced, arranged and conducted the Irish
number one album 'Whatever You Believe' for tenor
Finbar Wright, for which album he also wrote the title
song, and has conducted Finbar Wright with the National
Symphony Orchestra of Ireland in a televised recording
of 'A Tribute To John McCormack' - including the premiere
performance of his overture, the 'Dublin Overture'
written especially for the occasion.
Also in 1995 he made another solo album for SONY Germany,
He was then commissioned to write the official Anthem
for the inauguration of the Channel Tunnel by the
Mike composed and produced the four million-selling
album 'The Violin Player' which launched the career
of violinist Vanessa Mae in 1995.
Mike's 1996 projects included the completion of a
new musical (both the music and libretto) entitled
'Men Who March Away' - a love story set in the first
World War and the Spanish Civil War, and he also wrote
a humorous/surreal book soon to be published, called
'Tails From Don't Be So Ridiculous Valley'.
In 1997, he produced and conducted the hit album 'A
Night At The Movies' for David Essex and composed
a special celebration piece, 'Royal Gold' commissioned
by the military for the Queen's 50th Wedding anniversary.
This was performed for Her Majesty at the Royal Tournament,
by the massed bands of the Scots, Welsh, Irish, Colstream
and Grenadier Guards, together with 100 pipers. That
year, he also acted as music supervisor to the film
'Richard III' starring Sir Ian McKellern.
He scored and music-supervised the British movie,
'Keep The Aspidistra Flying' (released in the USA
as 'A Merry War') starring Helena Bonham-Carter and
Richard E. Grant In 1998, he produced new music for
the ongoing 52 part Womble series, and composed the
music for Germany's most popular television show 'Wetten,
After conceiving and co-creating the all-girl string
quartet 'Bond', and producing their first single,
he then created the eight piece classical crossover
band The Planets. The album 'Classical Graffiti' was
released in February 2002. and went straight to number
one (classical charts) on the day of release and remained
there for three months.
Currently, he is dedicating most of his time to guiding
the career of 24 year old Katie Melua from Georgia,
former USSR. Katie's album 'Call Off The Search' (containing
six of Mike's songs including 'The Closest Thing To
Crazy') was released on Mike's own Dramatico label
in November 2003. After six weeks at number one in
the UK, it sold six times platinum - over 1.8 million
copies - in the UK and three million copies in total,
making Katie the biggest selling UK female artist
of 2004. Her second album, 'Piece by Piece' (including
Mike's song 'Nine Million Bicycles') was released
in September 2005 and to date has sold 3.5 million
copies in Europe, going to number 1 in the UK, Holland,
Norway, Denmark, Iceland and going top five in eight
other countries. Dramatico has been for the last three
years, one of the top 3 UK based Indie labels, based
on official sales figures.
His recent solo album, “A Songwriter’s
Tale” achieved the number 24 position in the
UK album charts in 2008.
He is Deputy Chairman of the BPI (British Phonographic