Dance Band Encyclopaedia
Pre-war Commercial Radio Shows
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In the 1920s & 30s all radio broadcasting by dance bands on the BBC was live, and therefore very little remains and rarely do whole shows still exist. (The exceptions are the wartime ORBS recordings for ENSA. I shall be listing these on a separate page.) However, from the early 1930s onwards, commercial radio stations broadcast to Great Britain from abroad. These included Radio Athlone, Radio Luxembourg, Radio Normandy and Radio Paris.
Most of the shows on these stations were pre-recorded, often by EMI in their London Studios and usually pressed onto shellac discs and transported to the radio stations. A glance at the programmes of the 1930s shows that the same shows were sometimes broadcast by Luxembourg and Normandy, but at different times, so presumably both stations would have copies of the records. These records were usually 12" and often single sided. The shows were usually only 15 minutes long (some were half-an-hour).
So, I have set myself a task to try and document these recordings, and hopefully locate some of them. The Roy Fox items (Reckitt's Bath Cubes) and Carroll Gibbons' (Hartley's Jam) are quite well known due to their re-issues on CD & LP, but they may well be the tip of the iceberg. It is not certain that recordings even exist of many of these shows, but we can dream! Where many recordings are known of by a particular artist, these will be on a separate page; click on the band's name to go there.
I have made great use of a some copies of Radio Pictorial I recently bought, plus others which are the property of my cousin, Charles Hippisley- Cox, for information. However, there are a number of radio shows which don't show the names of the artists providing the music, so there is still much to discover.
This listing is in
alphabetical artist order....
If you have any information to add to this page, please send it to me; also if you know of the location of any original records. I would be very interested in recorded copies of these or similar recordings if possible.
Ambrose and his
In 1936 & 1937, Ambrose was presenting a programme on Radio Luxembourg called, appropriately, "Up to the Minute Rhythm Music", sponsored by Lifebuoy Toilet Soap; also sub-titled "Morning, Noon & Night"
Billy Bissett and his
In 1939, Billy took over the reins for the Rinso Radio Review, previously held by Jack Hylton. The show, compered by Ben Lyon, also included Sam Browne, Alice Mann (Bissett's wife), Bebe Daniels and Tommy Handley.
Eddie Carroll and
The 1938-39 show on Radio Luxembourg & Normandy called "Lux Radio Theatre" had Eddie as musical director. Also featured Eddie's vocalists Gwen Jones & Ivor Davis.
Also in 1939, Eddie & his Orchestra was featured in "Armour's Quality Variety".
John Collins and
his Rhythm Six
I'm not familiar with the name, which could therefore be a pseudonym. They broadcast on a programme called "Limelight On Rhythm" with Dinah Miller (the Personality girl) sponsored by Idris Lime Juice.
Billy Cotton and
Bill's radio shows of the 1950s & 1960s are legendary, but he was already doing it all back in the late 1930s when his show on Radio Luxembourg was sponsored by Kraft Cheese.
Dan Donovan and his
In a 1939 Radio Luxembourg show called "Your First Broadcast" and described as "payment for listeners own songs, stories & programme contributions". Probably not much dance music, but, no doubt, some excellent singing from Dan.
and his Orchestra
Herman and his boys had this 1939 Radio Luxembourg programme sponsored by "Alka Seltzer", featuring his vocalists Gerald Arthur and Margaret Eaves. The show was cancelled at the outbreak of WWII.
George Elrick and
The 1938 programme on Radio Luxembourg was sponsored by Maclean Brand Stomach Powder and our George was described as "Maclean's Laughing Entertainer".
Bert Firman and
I don't know how much music Bert had to provide in "The Movie Club" on Radio Normandy in 1938. The programme is described as "Intimate glimpses of Hollywood" with Firman providing a "musical background". The programme was sponsored by Lux Toilet Soap.
Michael Flome and his Orchestra
A programme called "The New Cavalcade of Melody" was broadcast on Radio Luxembourg in 1939 with Michael & his band, and Paula Green. No sponsor shown.
Teddy Foster and
his Kings Of Swing
"Swing Something in the Morning" was the name of this early morning programme broadcast in 1938 on Radio Normandy at 12:30 a.m. No sponsor's name given, but many of the late night programmes seem to be sponsor-free.
Roy Fox and
Roy made some excellent recordings in 1938, for Reckitts of Hull, (Reckitts' Bath Cubes). they are listed on a separate page (click on the heading).
Geraldo and his
Gerry was another stalwart on commercial radio. In 1937 he presented "Elevenses with Geraldo & Diploma" sponsored by Diploma Cheese on Radio Luxembourg.
and his Boy Friends
Carroll's chamber dance music players were used by The Hartley's Jam programme in early 1935. They also recorded the "Soft Lights And Sweet Music" programme in 1936. James Dyrenforth was usually the compere on the programmes.
The Stork shows on Radio Lyons in 1937 are described as with "Carroll Gibbons and his Rhythm Boys" (another names for the Boy Friends) featuring Anne Lenner, George Melachrino & the Three Ginx.
Carroll Gibbons and the Savoy
The full orchestra recorded a lot of commercial radio shows for Bush Radio, Palmolive, Colgate, Spry, Ovaltine and Stork, and probably many others.
In 1936, Carroll & the Orpheans were featured on Radio Luxembourg's Vernon's Programme (presumably sponsored by Vernon's Pools).
In 1938, the Colgate shows (with the Orpheans) were called "On The Air", sponsored by Colgate Ribbon Dental and Shaving Cream.
Gibbons - (not
sure if these are the full band or the Boy Friends)
In 1938: Cookeen sponsored a show for Radio Normandy featuring "Carroll Gibbons and his Boys", with Anne Lenner & George Melachrino.
Phil Green and his Orchestra
Phil provided the music for some of the Ovaltine shows. The following fragments are known:
CTP-8762-1 Who Blew Out The Flame? – vocal Dorothy Carless
CTP-8771 Love Is In The Air – vDC
CTP-10385-2 Sing, My Heart – vEric Whitley
Medley: Broadway Melody / Your Broadway And My Broadway –v3 / Yours and
Mine - vg
Jack Harris and his Orchestra
As "Herb Romaine and his Orchestra", Jack and the boys recorded shows sponsored by Oxydol of which only the following are, so far, known:
(Theme: Stay As Sweet As You Are)
I’ve Got An Invitation To A Dance – vSam Browne (as Jack O’Day)
Bobby Howell and his Band
Bobby Howell also led a light orchestra, but I suspect the 1938 programme called "Stork Radio Parade" (sponsored by Stork Margarine) may have some dance music - a description of "melody and Rhythm" in the programme notes implies so.
Jack Hylton and his Orchestra
Jack's show was called Rinso Radio Revue, sponsored by Rinso, broadcast in 1938 on Radio Luxembourg. The compere was Eddie Pola. The guests are pretty impressive: Sam Browne, Elsie Carlisle, The Henderson Twins, Tommy Handley & Alice Mann.
Jack Jackson and his Orchestra
The 1939 Radio Luxembourg programme with Jack & his band was called "A Serenade To Melody" and was sponsored by Pond's Extract Co. Ltd. It also featured Barbara Back.
Also in 1939, Jack and the band featured in a programme sponsored by Oxydol, which also included Jack Cooper, Helen Clare, Jackie Hunter and the Three Jacks.
Teddy Joyce and his Orchestra
I'm not sure how much dance music there was on this one: The Lux Radio Theatre (Radio Luxembourg 1938).
Ferry Juza and his Dance
The programme on Radio Luxembourg in 1936 is just described as "Dance Music" with no sponsor shown. Ferri Juza (I think this is the correct spelling) played trombone in John Abriani's Dance Band in the late 1920s (they recorded in Berlin in 1928, with Al Bowlly as vocalist). Juza is still shown as playing for Abriani on his 1937 recordings.
Harry Karr and the Club Royal
A 1939 show called Symington's Sunday Night Excursion utilised Karr's services, and also included Al Bowlly, & Marjorie Stedeford.
Tommy Kinsman & the
O.K. Sauce Orchestra
No prizes for guessing the sponsor of this show! It was called "O.K. For Harmony" and was broadcast in 1938 on Radio Normandy. It appears to be a variety show, but you never know!
Slightly off the subject as Charlie's radio shows, which were sponsored by Cadbury's of Birmingham, did not include a dance band. The music was provided by Charlie playing solo piano with guitar and bass accompaniment and usually with Judy Shirley or The Three Admirals vocalising.
Sydney Kyte and his
This rather clumsy name was given to the band directed by Sydney Kyte for the show "Going Places With Godiva" sponsored by Mobiloil Arctic. Whether he gets any chance to play any dance music is perhaps unlikely as the programme appears to be more of a play; the subtitle of which is "A Saga Of Suburbia".
Sydney Lipton and his
1937 found Syd directing the music for "Dinner at Eight" on Radio Luxembourg, sponsored by Crosse & Blackwell.
Monia Liter and the Ace of
They made sponsored radio shows for Black Magic chocolates in 1938-9. The following fragments have been found:
It Was So Beautiful – v Al Bowlly
Sweet Sue, Just You
Lost And Found
Joe and the band provided the music for the 1939 show "The Meltonian Musical Holiday Tours" on Radio Luxembourg (presumably sponsored by Meltonian, who make shoe polish).
Bram Martin and his Orchestra
In Late 1938, the Horlicks "Music in the Morning" show (see Arthur Rosebery) also featured Bram Martin's Orchestra, with singers Gene Crowley, Tressa Dale & Bob Howard.
Felix Mendelssohn and the Top
The well-known dance band agent & promoter and, later, Hawaiian orchestra leader lead a standard dance band in this 1938 Luxembourg show called "On Board the Top Hat Express", sponsored by Nestlé's, and also featuring George Barclay and Paula Green.
Jack Payne and his Band
Jack provided the music on the 1938 "Beecham's Reunion" programme sponsored by Beecham's Pills and Dr Cassell's Tablets.
Sid Phillips and his Band
1939 show on Radio Luxembourg called "Here, There & Everywhere" used the services of Sid & his band "with star vocalists". No sponsor given.
Van Phillips and the Ponds
A 1939 dance music show on Radio Luxembourg called "Pond's Serenade To Beauty" sponsored by Ponds; Announcer: Michael Riley.
Oscar Rabin and his Romany Band
Sponsored by the "House of Seagers", this 1938 Radio Normandy programme was called "Seager's Good Mixers" and also featured Eve Becke and Leonard Henry.
Jan Ralfini and his Band
Jan and the band featured in a 1939 show called "Radio Lyons Calling" on Radio Lyons, also featuring "guest Artists" and amateur talent winners.
Teddy Randall and his
Sensational London Band
Another obscure name (or a pseudonym) who was featured in Radio Luxembourg's 1938 programme "London Merry-Go-Round" sponsored by Danderine. Described as "a programme of happy music from musical shows and clubs", it may or may not be dance music.
Arthur Rosebery and his Band
When interviewed in the 1980s, Arthur said he used to record sponsored radio shows at EMI for Horlicks "Music in the Mornings" radio shows during 1938.
Debroy Somers and his Band
Bill Somers and his boys was another band sponsored by Horlicks for their "Tea-Time Hour" on Radio Luxembourg in 1937.
The Spry Syncopators
Sponsored by Spry Cooking Fat, this 1939 show known as "The Spry Broadcasting Theatre" undoubtedly had some dance music content, and included Sandra Shayne. The following fragment is known to exist:
RFX-1032-1 Let’s Break The Good News – vSandra Shayne
Sweet Henrietta (musical melodrama)
Lew Stone and his Band
Lew's 1937 programme on Radio Normandy was called "Mayfair's Favourite Dance Tunes Of The Week" and was sponsored by Pond's Face Powder.
In 1939, Lew was associated with a show called "The Heinz Half-Hour of Happiness" (sponsored by Heinz). Apart from Lew & the band, the show included Jack Hulbert, Cicely Courtneidge, The Rhythm Brothers and Jack Cooper.
Alf Van Dam and his Orchestra
Van Dam provided the musical background for the "Carroll Levis Musical Discoveries" programme.
Jack Wilson and his Versatile
Jack and his players were radio favourites for a number of years. In 1939 he was featured, along with Denny Dennis & Esther Coleman, in "We Bring You A Love Song" sponsored by Turog Brown Bread.
Maurice Winnick and his
The Littlewood's Football Pools show had the music provided by Maurice and his orchestra with Judy Shirley, Sam Costa and a trio called Jack, Jock & Jimmy. This was on Radio Luxembourg in 1936.
Marius B. Winter and his
Marius was busy in 1937 as he presented his full orchestra and the smaller "Seven Swingers" in shows sponsored by Bile Beans called "Young And Healthy" The compere was a young Roy Plomley. The following partial show is known to exist:
Young And Healthy (Theme)
I Want To Be Happy (seven swingers)
Stranger In The Dark – vPaula Green
What More Can I Ask? (piano duet by the Two Black Notes)
It’s Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) (seven swingers)
Whispers In The Dark. –vPG / arr. Arthur Young
Marius also recorded shows called "The Orchard Club Cabaret" sponsored by Rowntree's Fruit Gums & Pastilles.