The Artists of the Music Hall

The Music Hall was a uniquely British Institution which lasted from about 1850 to 1930. Key to the period around 1900 was the cult of the personality. Many of the top line artists were persuaded to make records, and just a few of these are shown below.

To find a particular artist: consult our database

CD re-issues of these artists and many others are available via this Website.
   
Wilkie Bard Wilkie Bard made his London debut at Collins Music Hall.  He acquired his own particularly individual style, adopting a rather eccentric form of makeup with a high bald head and black spots above each eye. His records include tongue twisters such as She sells Sea Shells.
   
Harry Champion Harry Champion first appeared in London at the Queen's Poplar in 1888, and continued performing until his death in 1942, aged 76. His records include Any old iron, I'm Henery the Eighth, Boiled Beef and Carrots.
   
Albert Chevalier Albert Chevalier was famous for his "coster" songs, co-written with his brother, Charles Ingle. His records include: My Old Dutch, The future Mrs Hawkins.
   
Gus Elen Gus Elen found his fame in 1891 with his performance of "coster" songs. His success was such that he was earning 250 pounds a week in 1900 (around 650,000 pounds per year in 2001 currency). His records are prized today as pithy and amusing stories of a lost generation of cockneys. Recorded titles include: If it wasn't for the 'ahses in between, Pretty little villa down at Barking, The Publican.

His all time classic is "Wait till the work comes round" containing the lines:
Put yer head back on yer pillow
And read yer Daily Mirror
And wait till the work comes round
   
G H Elliott G H Elliott was famous as a black face artist, and minstrel singer. He is remembered today as the successor to Eugene Stratton, reviving many of Leslie Stuart’s songs such as “Lily of Laguna” and “Little Dolly Daydream”
   
Florrie Forde Florrie Forde was born in Australia in 1876. She came to London in 1897 and made countless records over the next 30 years. Her records include: The Bull and Bush, What the curate saw, Flanagan, Girls Study your cookery book, Oh Oh Antonio.
   
George Formby Snr. George Formby, the father of the now famous George Formby Jnr. was one of the first Lancashire comedians to gain National popularity.  His songs and  records have a rather naive quality which is still appealing today.
   
George Lashwood George Lashwood, was such a handsome and distinguished looking man who always dressed at the height of fashion that he became known as "The Beau Brummel of the Halls".  In many of his songs and records he takes the part of a "swell" out on London Town for the night.  Born in Birmingham he had a style all his own.
   
Harry Lauder Harry Lauder worked in a coalmine before making his first London appearance in 1900. He was an immediate success and soon introduced his own particular brand of Scottish songs. He received a knighthood in 1919. His songs included: Stop yer tickling Jock, Every Lassie loves a Lassie, She is ma Daisy. Lauder's records were so popular that his style was copied by Peter Dawson, who recorded many similar songs under the name "Hector Grant"
   
Dan Leno Dan Leno was the most famous comedian of his generation. His surviving records bear testimony to his drole sense of humour. He became a champion clog dancer in 1883, and was first engaged in pantomime in 1888. Leno is remembered as the greatest of all the pantomine "dames". He performed tirelessly throughout England and in 1901 was commanded to appear before King Edward at Sandringham. He died in 1904. Crowds, three deep for over three miles, watched his funeral. He made a number of records, some of them now very rare. The titles include: My wife's relations, The Tower of London, The hardboiled egg and the wasp, Wait till I'm his father
   
Little Tich Little Tich, real name Harry Relph, appeared in the Halls in 1884. He is most famous for his eccentric dancing wearing the long boots shown here. Records include The Gas Inspector, One of the Deathless Army, The twenty third.
   
Marie Lloyd Marie Lloyd was born in 1870 as Matilda Alice Victoria Wood in Hoxton, London. She became known to the public as "Our Marie". Marie was married three times and her later years were marred by ill-health. She died in 1922 and her funeral was attended by 50,000 people. Since her songs were considered rather saucy, her records did not sell that well and so are quite scarce today. They include: Every little movement has a meaning of its own, A little of what you fancy does you good, The Piccadilly trot.
   
Lily Morris Lily Morris, had dynamic personality and with her clarity of diction and a great repertoire of songs is a joy to the ear. Her Records include: Only a Working Man, The Old Apple Tree, Don't have any more Mrs. Moore
   
George Robey George Robey was otherwise known as the Prime Minister of Mirth. His trademarks were the eyebrows and the clergyman's coat which he used through his career. He was equally successful in revue and pantomime. His records include: Archibald certainly not, and The Prehistoric Man.
   
 Ella Shields Ella Shields  was best known as a male impersonator, particularly in her songs such Burlington Bertie from Bow. Although she had a number of her own songs, she also sang "free" songs which were not tied to a particular performer.  She was an American by birth, although made her initial success in Britain.
   
Mark Sheridan Mark Sheridan was a singer of lusty seaside songs, and is remembered today for his classic recording of "I do like to be beside the seaside" He died a tragic death in 1918.
   
Vesta Tilley Vesta Tilley was a male impersonator and sang songs and made character studies of "men about town". Recordings included: The army of today's alright, One of the midnight Sons.
   
Vesta Victoria Vesta Victoria was famous for her song "Daddy wouldn't buy me a bow wow". Records included: On a Motor Car, Now I have to call him Father, Poor Old Adam. She died in 1951 aged 77
   
Billy Williams Billy Williams is thought of today as merely a recording artist, but he appeared on the Halls as "The man in the Velvet Suit".  With his infectious laugh and topical songs his recordings are still entertaining today.
   
Nellie Wallace Nellie Wallace was noted for her eccentric appearance and her role as a disappointed spinster. A CD with her complete issued recordings is available which includes such highly amusing classics as "Under the Bed" and "Let's have a Tiddley at the Milk Bar".

To find a particular artist: consult our database

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