Thursday, August 23, 2012

GEORGE FORMBY JR, BRITAIN'S NOVELTY KING


He was a goofy-looking bucktoothed little guy who sang funny songs with titles like "Swimmin' With The Wimmin" in a high, thin voice, while playing something called a 'banjolele' (a cross between a banjo and a ukulele.) He was also Britain's single most popular entertainer in the late '30s.

Many dozens of George Formby Jr's cheerful, clever, sometimes naughty double-entendre (i.e.: "With My Little Ukulele in My Hand") songs have been put up for free download to archive.org by some kind soul, and apart from being essential listening to fans of vintage novelty music, it's also a peek into the style of music hall entertainment that the typical Brit enjoyed back in the day. Whether performing live, acting in films, or recording, Formby was massively successful and influential to generations of British funnymen, from Benny Hill right up to Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer, even if the suggestive nature of his songs led him to sometimes be banned by the BBC.

George Formby Jr on archive.org

One of his most famous tunes, "When I'm Cleaning Windows":

 
 
Funny, just as I was thinking about writing about Formby a few days ago, I came across this:

4 comments:

vilstef said...

Archive.org is a great resource for old music, and the live music archive there has amazing stuff as well.

In old music, I got a great collection of Nick Lucas, whose peak period was the 20s. He was the grandfather of singer/songwriters and a terrific guitar player.

Outa-Spaceman said...

Now that's what 'am talkin' about!!!!

Mr Fab said...

vilstef: Yep, archive.org is the bees' knees, the problem is knowing what to look for. Just going on it cold would take many lifetimes to get thru.

Outa-Spaceman: Ha! I'm sure you and many Brits already know Mr Formby very well. But somehow he escaped fame in the States, sadly.

eddie said...

Hmm, it mighta been "The World At War" documentary that ran on PBS when I was a teen, that included a video clip I remember of Formby singing about The Maginot Line