British singer-songwriter Peter Skellern, best remembered for his top three UK hit of 1972, ‘You’re A Lady,’ died on Friday (17 February), a month short of his 70th birthday. Last October, he had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.
At the same time as the announcement of his illness, it was revealed that Skellern been been granted the opportunity to fulfill a longtime calling, to be ordained in the Church of England. He was ordained as both a deacon and a priest by the Bishop of Truo on 16 October, 2016, under a special faculty from the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Born in the northern English town of Bury in Lancashire, Skellern studied piano at the Guildhall School of Music. Signed to Decca, he broke through to a wide audience with the ultra-romantic ‘You’re A Lady,’ which featured the choir the Congregation, who had recently had their own hit with ‘Softly Whispering I Love You.’
The song spent two weeks at No. 3 in the UK in October 1972, rubbing shoulders in the top ten with 10cc‘s debut hit ‘Donna’ and T. Rex‘s ‘Children Of The Revolution,’ among others. It reached No. 50 in America. Back at home, Skellern became a familiar figure on television and concert stages.
He charted with four albums up until 1995 and had another top 20 UK hit with ‘Hold On To Love’ in 1975. Skellern also recorded various TV themes and did radio work, and had the notoriety of being in a short-lived group called Oasis — with cellist Julian Lloyd Webber and singer Mary Hopkin, the former hitmaker on The Beatles‘ Apple label — long before the Gallagher brothers ever thought of the name.