Sunday, March 29, 2009

George Formby

Two scratchy 78's I picked up at the boot sale today for 50p each. Not songs I've heard before I must admit . Wartime morale boosters but obviously didn't go down as well as he'd hoped - certainly not in the same class as some of his better known songs but interesting none the less.

"Musical comedian George Formby was among Britain's most popular stars during the first half of the 20th century, with a legacy encompassing over 200 records and more than 20 hit films. Born George Hoy Booth on May 26, 1904 in Lancashire, England, he was the son of George Formby, Sr., himself a popular Edwardian music hall comedian. The younger Formby first worked as an apprentice jockey, but his father's sudden death in 1921 prompted him to pursue his own career as a performer; he initially worked under his given name, but later adopted his father's nom-de-stage following his marriage to dancer Beryl Ingham, who soon took over the reins of her husband's career. Initially, Formby attempted to approximate his father's act, but with little success; the chance acquisition of a banjo ukelele proved the key to establishing his own stage persona, and in light of audiences' enthusiastic reactions to his idosyncratic, self-taught playing style, the instrument was never again far from his side.

With his toothy grin and goofy personality, Formby was dubbed "the beloved imbecile" by pundits; after earning a loyal following among music hall denizens, he scored a major pop hit with 1932's "Chinese Blues," which when renamed "Chinese Laundry Blues" became his signature song for the duration of his career. Two years later Formby made his first film, Boots! Boots!; the picture was a smash, and he swiftly contracted to make 11 more films for Ealing Studios. Over the course of movies like 1935's No Limit, 1937's Feather Your Nest and 1938's It's in the Air, he became Britain's biggest star, earning an estimated £100,000 a year; his films also continued to provide him with a wealth of saucy hit records, including "The Window Cleaner," "Fanlight Fanny," "Riding in the T.T. Races" and the Noel Gay-penned "Leaning on a Lamp Post," perhaps his most popular song."

Discover more about George Formby HERE.

George Formby - Our Fanny's Gone All Yankee

George Formby - Unconditional Surrender

George Formby - The "V" Sign Song

George Formby - The Old Cane Bottom Chair


Gail's Man said...

He made some quite amusing films like Bell Bottom George and some of his lyrics were quite risque, even by today's standards.

Turned out nice again!

mel said...

I have quite a few George Formby recordings in my collection (I started listening to him when I was far too young to understand his double-entendres) and also some of his movies - but I haven't come across any of these before. Many thanks indeed.

wastedpapiers said...

Thanks Gail's Man and mel. You dont often see old 78's at boot sales anymore so I looked through this pile for any novelties there might be. Sadly most were pretty dull dance band stuff which I have a lot of anyway but these two records seemed too good to pass up.

Anonymous said...

Oh Mother! As with Mel, these are new to me too. What a treat, some 'new' George Formby! Many, many thanks.

greg said...

just putting a copy of "The V sign song" up on ebay if anyone is interested...