La Vie en Rose

I always thought La Vie en Rose was an Edith Piaf song but according to this Youtube description, the song was first sung by Marianne Michel.

Piaf was involved in the writing of the song but thought it was too mournful until the song began to become popular and she remembered her role in its creation.

There are countless Youtube renditions  of La Vie en Rose but  I especially liked this Andrea Bocelli version….

… and eight year old Erza in the final of the 2014 France’s Got Talent.

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Have a very Happy Brass Band Christmas!

What to follow a Reggae Christmas and an Old Time Music Hall Christmas? A Brass Band Christmas, of course!

Hope you enjoy these five fantastic brass ensembles as they celebrate Christmas.

Oldham Music Centre Youth Brass Band perform Gaudete, Coventry Carol and It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Mansfield Brass Band play The Christmas Song

Hythe, Kent Salvation Army Band play Silent Night

Derby Salvation Army Band play While Shepherds Watched, Deck the Halls and Jingle Bells.

University of York Brass Band plays A Christmas Fantasy.

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You might also like to read Season’s Greetings from the #1950s #Christmas Fairy.

or check out my Christmas Book of the Day at

christmas 3


Have a very happy Reggae Christmas!

If Old Time Music Hall Christmas Songs didn’t get you in the festive spirit, try these great Reggae tracks.

Yellowman sings We Wish You A Reggae Christmas

Hulihuli ‘o e Vaotamanu sings Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Christafari sings O Holy Night

Nina & the Fat Pack sing All I Want for Christmas

Marlon  Clarke sings Feliz Navidad


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You might also like to read Season’s Greetings from the #1950s #Christmas Fairy.

or check out my Christmas Book of the Day at

Christmas 2

Have a very happy Old Time Music Hall Christmas!

As an alternative to the Carols and Christmas Pop you might like to try these old Music Hall artistes.

Jack Pleasants

Born in Bradford, Yorkshire in 1875, Jack Pleasants was a music hall artist popular in the  North of England in the early part of the twentieth century.

His more famous recordings were of “I’m Shy Mary Ellen, I’m Shy” and “Twenty One Today”.

In his act Pleasants cast himself as a bashful, shy suitor who assumed a lack of experience with women as a ploy for seduction. He appeared in Aladdin at the Prince’s Theatre Bristol in the 1916 winter season.  At forty plus he was obviously too old to volunteer for service in World War One.

In 1924 Pleasants was appearing in panto again but it’s alleged that he dropped dead on stage aged only 49 years.

Jack Pleasants performs “I’m Learning a Song for Christmas”.

Billy Williams

Born Richard Isaac Banks in 1878, Billy Williams was a popular vaudeville and music hall entertainer of his era.

“When Father Papered the Parlour”, written and composed by R. P. Weston and Fred J. Barnes in 1910, was one of Williams’ most popular hits.

Williams started his career as an entertainer in his birth country of Australia before re-locating to England in 1899.

Williams was a very popular entertainer in the music halls and also in pantomime. His speciality was songs where the audience could join in the chorus. He recorded over 500 songs which sold in their thousands even after after his early death in 1915.

Billy Williams sings “Why Don’t Santa Bring Something to Me?”.

Ernie Mayne

Also born in 1878, Ernie Mayne was an English music hall performer who weighed about 20 stone. Mayne used his size as part of his act, singing songs such as “Fried Fruit Fritters” and making fun of his size.

Ernie Mayne was the first music hall star to broadcast on radio on 11th October 1922.

Ernie Mayne sings “I do like a little bit of Turkey at Christmastime”.

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You might also like to read Season’s Greetings from the #1950s #Christmas Fairy.

or check out my Christmas Book of the Day at

christmas 3


#OnThisDay in 1936 Thomas William Hicks was born #TommySteele

Thomas William Hicks

also known as

Tommy Steele

was born on this day in 1936.

Tommy Steele is reputed to be Britain’s first teen idol and rock-and-roll star.

In 1957 his rendition of “Singing the Blues” catapulted Tommy to the top of the hit parade.

Although the whistling in the accompaniment is really irritating!

One of Tommy’s jobs was as a merchant seaman. But whenever he wasn’t working he sang and played guitar or banjo in two coffee houses in Soho, the 2i’s Coffee Bar and the Cat’s Whisker. Sometimes Tommy performed solo and at other times with Wally Whyton’s Vipers Skiffle Group.

Tommy found fame as the frontman for The Steelmen

a rock and roll band whose first single, “Rock With the Caveman”, reached number 13 in the UK Singles Chart in 1956.

A few months later, Tommy was filming his life story.

With his musical collaborators, Lionel Bart and Mike Pratt, Tommy wrote twelve songs in seven days. “The Tommy Steele Story” dramatised Tommy’s meteoric rise to fame.

The story is that Tommy works as bellboy until he injures his spine doing judo. In hospital he is given a guitar to help with his therapy and he starts to play to entertain patients and staff. He works on an ocean liner, performing in his spare time, and gets a job playing in a coffee bar. He is popular with audiences and gets a recording contract.

“The Tommy Steele Story” was the 13th most popular film at the British box office in 1957.

Tommy was also voted the seventh most popular star in Britain for that year.

1959 saw the release of “Tommy the Toreador”

in which Tommy plays a sailor from Liverpool who disembarks in Spain and tries his hand at bull fighting.

We saw the film at The Regal Cinema in Wakefield, Yorkshire and loved every minute of it.

My sister and I were word perfect in every verse of “Little White Bull”, the song we liked best in the film.

Our copy of the record was the second 45 rpm we owned.

(The first was “Walking Back To Happiness” sung by Helen Shapiro.)

Tommy’s cringe-making live performance of “Little White Bull” on this Perry Como Show in 1966 is a long way from rock-and-roll!

Actually the B side of “Little White Bull” stands the test of time much better.

Happy 81st Birthday, Tommy.

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You might also like #OnThisDay Frank Sinatra Sings For You!

or to check out my Christmas Book of the Day at


#OnThisDay Frank Sinatra Sings For You!


in 1915

Francis Albert Sinatra

was born.

Of all the many Frank Sinatra Youtube videos, I think this is one of the best.

For You

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The Singing Nurse and other musical occupations.

At my last chemotherapy session I was treated by a lovely nurse who quietly sang along with the background music playing on a golden oldies radio channel.

The nurse had a beautiful, tuneful voice and an extraordinary memory for the lyrics of the assorted pop hits of yesteryear.

It wasn’t long before I remembered Dominica-nica-nica and

The Singing Nun.

Jeanne-Paule Marie “Jeannine” Deckers aka The Singing Nun was a Belgian singer-songwriter and initially a member of the Dominican Order as Sister Luc-Gabrielle. She hit the top of the charts in 1963 with the release of  “Dominique”.

Naturally, this lead onto the 1986 BBC TV drama series

The Singing Detective.

Written by Dennis Potter, the series starred Michael Gambon and was directed by Jon Amiel.

As well as its dark themes, the series is notable for its use of 1940s-era music, often incorporated into surreal musical numbers.

I can remember

The Singing Milkman

but don’t know who he was!

It turns out he was an English pop singer called Craig Douglas.

Born in 1941 as Terence Perkins and employed originally as a milkman, Craig Douglas hit the charts in 1959 with his recording of “Only Sixteen” which actually outsold Sam Cook’s version in the UK.

His breakthrough had come on The Six-Five Special, then the only real showcase for rock & roll on British television. Douglas was booked on the show the same week that Cliff Richard and Joe Brown appeared, but he made an impression even in their illustrious company. A few days later, he was presented with two huge sacks of fan mail from the performance. The Six-Five Special led Douglas to a recording contract and a string of successes. In addition to “Only Sixteen,” Douglas also charted very high with “A Teenager in Love,” “The Heart of a Teenage Girl,” “Pretty Blue Eyes,” and “When My Little Girl Is Smiling.”

Anyone who has heard “Hev Yew Gotta Loight, Boy?”, will never forget the song and its singer-songwriter performer

The Singing Postman.

Allan Francis Smethurst was an English folk singer who earned his living as a postman for over a decade. As well as performing a musical accompaniment to his round, Smethurst submitted an audition tape to a BBC regional radio show, recorded some of his songs and signed a contract with EMI.

“Hev Yew Gotta Loight, Boy?” won the 1966 Ivor Novello award for best novelty song of the year.

Unfortunately Smethurst was afflicted with stage fright and gave up his musical career in 1970. He died in 2000 at the Salvation Army Hostel in Grimsby where he’d lived for several years.

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You might also like Save one life you’re a hero. Save 100 lives you’re a nurse. #NHS

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3 Hamlet Songs you might not have heard before!

What a voice!

Betty Hutton February 26, 1921 – March 12, 2007

Bette Midler born December 1, 1945

To die, to sleep –
To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub,
For in this sleep of death what dreams may come..

And if, in a few days time, you think you dreamt these Hamlet Songs,


you didn’t!

They really do exist – on YouTube anyway!

Have a good day!

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