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Two military musicians to start with: W.H. Adams, a Royal Marines Director of Music, whose marches include Royal Bugles, especially composed for the band of H.M. Royal Marine Commandos; and Richard Waterer, Principal Director of Music, Royal Marines, arranger and composer of many marches, including Top Malo, celebrating a notable small battle in the Falklands campaign of 1982, and Royal Salute.

Bob Galvin and Dave Roylance deserve a brief mention for their screen scores, The Tall Ships and The Battle of the Atlantic.

Although he was American we should spare a short paragraph for Gus Edwards (1879-1945) as he contributed songs to two English musicals on their America runs viz. The English Daisy (music originally by Walter Slaughter, 1902) and The Blue Moon (Rubens and Talbot, 1905). Edwards’ "separate" song titles included I Can’t Tell Why I Love You, Goodbye Little Girl, Goodbye, My Cousin Caruso, and In My Merry Oldsmobile. Edwards also contributed to revues like Maid o’ the Martinique and 8d a Mile and to films – By The Light Of The Silvery Moon and Jimmy Valentine each had an eponymous song which became popular.

Now for a few more British theatre composers from the 20th Century’s early years. Herbert Darnley, a stage director and librettist, also composed: music-hall type songs including Mrs Kelly, The Beefeater (1898), My Sweet Face, Buying a House and Mary Ann’s Refused Me. His musicals His Majesty’s Guards (1900) and A Father of 90 (1902) were toured provincially, as were Mr Wix of Wickham (also 1902) which went to America where songs by Jerome Kern were added to it and, much later, Joan All Alone (1924). In its guise Mr Wix included music by George Everard, Frank Seddon and Frank Tours. Tours we have formerly discussed, but it seems to have been the only show composed by both Seddon, a conductor for the stage and Everard, whose other compositions include the songs I Was Born on Friday, You’ll ever Be an Angel Daddy and Coronation Day.

Three fairly minor figures collaborated on Naughty Nancy (1902) toured through the provinces, put on at the Savoy for 77 performances and then published. George W. Preston was better known as a lyricist; Ralph E. Lyon was a schoolmaster as Malvern College; and the Oxford-born Walter Donaldson published a set of Songs for Smokers (i.e. "smoking", or informal, concerts) and was to re-surface in 1907 when a musical The Gay Gordons, which he composed jointly with Frank Tours, managed the respectable number of 229 performances at the Aldwych Theatre. Finally F. Knight Pearce, a theatre conductor, produced the score for Runaways, which was toured extensively in 1902-3 and which included a cakewalk, a coon song and a clog dance.

Philip L Scowcroft

Enquiries to Philip at

8 Rowan Mount



Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is currently out of print.

E-mail enquiries (but NOT orders) can be directed to Rob Barnett at

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