David Heneker began his first career as a Colonel in British Army. Whilst still in the army he wrote occasional songs including the number one hit There Goes My Dream recorded by Hutch and The Thing-Ummy Bob (That’s Going to Win the War), recorded by Gracie Fields, Bang Goes The Drum recorded by Blossom Dearie and many other hits. In 1948 he resigned from the army to become a full time song writer.
In collaboration with Monty Norman and Julian More, David wrote music and lyrics for his first musical, Wolf Mankowitz’s ground breaking Expresso Bongo, in 1958, starring Paul Schofield (filmed in 1959 with Cliff Richard). The Heneker-More-Norman trio continued the same year with Irma La Douce (a Broadway hit in 1960) and a revue, The Art Of Living in 1960. With Norman, Heneker wrote Make Me An Offer in 1959 which won the Evening Standard Award for Best Musical. In 1963 Heneker wrote the international success, Half A Sixpence, starring Tommy Steele. It won Heneker an Ivor Novello Award and opened on Broadway in 1965 making him the first British writer to achieve two shows to run for more than 500 performances on Broadway. It was filmed in 1967. 1965 saw Charlie Girl (written with John Taylor) which became the longest running British Musical of its day and earned him another Ivor Novello Award. It was revived in London in 1986. Other musicals and films include: The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960 with Norman), I’ve Gotta Horse (1965 with Taylor), Jorrocks in 1966 (Plays and Players Award), Phil the Fluter (1969), The Amazons (1971 with John Addison), Popkiss (1972 with Addison and Michael Ashton), The Biograph Girl (1980 with Warner Brown), Peg (1984), and Melba (1987 with Brown).