Thursday, December 19, 2013
Friday, December 13, 2013
Wikipedia says - “Born in Smith Square, London, to Joseph and Susan Cotton, Cotton was a choirboy and started his musical career as a drummer. He enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers by falsifying his age and saw service in World War I in Malta and Egypt, before landing at Gallipoli in the middle of an artillery barrage. Later he was recommended for a commission and learned to fly Bristol Fighter aircraft. He flew solo for the first time in 1918, the same day the Royal Flying Corps became the Royal Air Force. He was then not yet 19 years old. In the early inter-war years. he had several jobs such as bus driver before setting up his own orchestra, the London Savannah Band, in 1924.
At first a straight dance band, over the years the London Savannah Band more and more tended towards music hall/vaudeville entertainment, introducing all sorts of visual and verbal humour in between songs. Famous musicians that played in Billy Cotton's band during the 1920s and 1930s included Arthur Rosebery, Syd Lipton and Nat Gonella. The band was also noted for theirAfrican American trombonist and tap dancer, Ellis Jackson. Their signature tune was "Somebody Stole My Gal", and they made numerous commercial recordings for Decca.
During the Second World War Cotton and his band toured France with the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA). After the war, he started his successful Sunday lunchtime radio show on BBC, the Billy Cotton Band Show, which ran from 1949 to 1968. In the 1950s composer Lionel Bart contributed comedy songs to the show. It regularly opened with the band's signature tune and Cotton's call of "Wakey Wakey". From 1957, it was also broadcast on BBC television.
As a racing driver his finest moment came in 1949 when he finished fourth in the 1949 British Grand Prix, sharing an ERA with David Hampshire.
Cotton married Mabel E. Gregory in 1921 and they had two sons, Ted and Sir Bill Cotton, who later became the BBC's managing director of television. In 1962 Billy Cotton suffered a stroke. He died in 1969 while watching a boxing match at Wembley.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Wikipedia says - “Borge was born Børge Rosenbaum in Copenhagen, Denmark, into a Jewish family. His parents, Bernhard and Frederikke (Uchtinger) Rosenbaum, were both musicians—his father a violist in the Royal Danish Orchestra and his mother a pianist.Like his mother, Borge began piano lessons at the age of two, and it was soon apparent that he was a prodigy. He gave his first piano recital when he was eight years old, and in 1918 was awarded a full scholarship at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, studying under Olivo Krause. Later on, he was taught by Victor Schiøler, Liszt's student Frederic Lamond, and Busoni's pupil Egon Petri.
Borge played his first major concert in 1926 at the Danish concert-hall Odd Fellow Palæet (The Odd Fellow's Lodge building). After a few years as a classical concert pianist, he started his now famous "stand up" act, with the signature blend of piano music and jokes. He married American Elsie Chilton in 1933, the same year he debuted with his revue acts.Borge started touring extensively in Europe, where he began telling anti-Nazi jokes.
When the Nazis occupied Denmark during World War II, Borge was playing a concert in Sweden, and managed to escape to Finland.He traveled to America on the USS American Legion, the last neutral ship to make it out of Petsamo, Finland, and arrived 28 August 1940, with only $20 (about $333 today), with $3 (about $49.99 today) going to the customs fee. Disguised as a sailor, Borge returned to Denmark once during the occupation to visit his dying mother.
Even though Borge did not speak a word of English upon arrival in America, he quickly managed to adapt his jokes to the American audience, learning English by watching movies. He took the name of Victor Borge, and, in 1941, he started on Rudy Vallee's radio show,but was hired soon after by Bing Crosby for his Kraft Music Hall program.
From then on, fame rose quickly for Borge, who won Best New Radio Performer of the Year in 1942. Soon after the award, he was offered film roles with stars such as Frank Sinatra (inHigher and Higher). While hosting The Victor Borge Show on NBC beginning in 1946, he developed many of his trademarks, including repeatedly announcing his intent to play a piece but getting "distracted" by something or other, making comments about the audience, or discussing the usefulness of Chopin's "Minute Waltz" as an egg timer.He would also start out with some well-known classical piece like Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" and suddenly move into a harmonically suitable pop or jazz tune like Cole Porter's "Night and Day" or "Happy Birthday to You".
Victor Borge - Phonetic Punctuation
Victor Borge - Phonetic Punctuation