Ronnie (Ronald) Cass was born 21 April 1923 at 33 Station Road, Llanelli. His mother was Rachel Cass (née Palto). The Palto family had a number of drapery businesses in the town. In 1923 Abraham Palto was listed as a 'Draper' at 33 Station Road. Ronnie's father was Saul Cass, a 'Master Jeweller'. The Cass family have established opticians and jewellery businesses in Llanelli at various locations, including Inkerman Street, Stepney Street, Cowell Street, and presently at the Ty Elli Shopping Centre.
From an early age Ronnie had shown an interest in music In 1937 it was reported that he had written a 'Coronation Song' which had been sung at the local schools during the Coronation of George VI. He also took first prize for the pianoforte, in the local schools' eisteddfod that same month. His music teacher at that time was Mr D. J. Bevan A.R.C.O., of Old Road, Llanelli.
Ronnie was formally educated at the Llanelli Boys' Grammar School and then went on to study economics, music and mathematics at the the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. His education was interrupted on the outbreak of the second world war when he volunteered to enlist with the RAF and was subsequently posted to Burma.
On his return to university in 1946, he teamed up with his colleague Brian Evans, who later became a light entertainment producer with the BBC. It was at Aberystwyth where they both wrote playlets and pantomimes. Four of these were produced for the BBC.
That same year Ronnie appeared in the Odeon Theatre Llanelli, in a supporting bill with the world famous Llanelli star, Dorothy Squires, where he was listed as the solo pianist. The event was a charity concert in aid of the Llanelli Hospital. Following the show it was reported that...
"Ronald Cass , solo pianist, revealed great talent and richly merited the generous applause."
By 1949 he had finished at Aberystwyth and was back in Llanelli teaching at the Grammar School, but his heart was set on a life in stage and music and so he left for the bright lights of London where he was hired to write music for the Ambrose Orchestra at Cairo's Night Club , Panton Street, London.
It was in London where he met Peter Myers with whom he was to co write music for many West End shows and revues. Ronnie Cass was to go on to work with many famous stage, theatre , TV and film stars but perhaps he is most well known for his work with Sir Cliff Richard, when he wrote the film scores for 'The Young Ones' , 'Summer Holiday' and 'Wonderful life'. For more than twenty years Ronnie travelled the country with Warren Mitchell performing parts from Johnny Speight's 'The Thoughts of Chairman Alf '.
Interviewed for the Llanelli Star in 1992, Ronnie recollected his roots and is quoted as saying...
"The massive good fortune to have found and been taught by a near genius piano teacher, D James Bevan. To this day I feel guilty when I play in the manner which he would disapprove."
He continued to recall the Llanelli of his warmest memories was in 1942...
"When Stepney Street was equivalent to the London Oxford Street I know today, and where the market was the pride of everybody. London means nothing to me I've merely carried on my way of life there. The first thing I do when the Sunday papers arrive is to look up the rugby results to see if the Scarlets have won on Saturday."
Ronnie died 2 June 2006 aged 83.
In 2009, Llanelli Community Heritage planned to commemorate this famous Llanelli musician and artist by marking his birthplace with a Blue Plaque and so Llanelli Community Heritage Member, Mr Paul Brookfield contacted Sir Cliff Richard for a brief message of support. Shortly after, he received the exciting reply that Sir Cliff would in fact, like to sponsor the Blue Plaque for Ronnie Cass stating that...
"Ronnie was funny, patient and a terrific team player. We got on really well, and I loved working with him. It's great to know that this plaque is being planned, to honour such a greatly talented and greatly missed man".
The Blue Plaque was subsequently installed in Station Road, Llanelli, former home and birthplace of Ronnie Cass.