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Two "snippet" mentions to start us off: Richard Williams, for his Wheatstone Suite, which was commissioned to mark the bicentenarty of the birth of the inventor of the concertina, Charles Wheatstone (1802-75); and Ivor Goldberg and Julian Hamlin for their catchy signature tune for BBC1’s holiday programme Passport to the Sun.

John Read, active around the middle of the 20th Century, was a prolific composer of popular songs: All Round the Squares, Bank Holiday (or A Twopenny Ride on a Tramcar), Johnny Morgan, Oh Julia!, Simple Simon, The Vagabond and Grandmother’s Chair.

From Read – and this long-running floral series has at various times embraced Reade (Paul), Reed (W H) and Reed (W L) – it is but a syllable to Reader and now is the time to celebrate the career of William Henry Ralph (usually called simply Ralph) Reader, CBE (1903-82), born in Crewkerne (Somerset), whose wide-ranging career in the theatre and, to a degree, films, embraces the disciplines of actor, chorus master/choreographer, producer, director, author, lyricist and composer. As director and choreographer he was associated especially with the Waller and Tunbridge musicals of the late 1920s and 1930s. He acted in The Fleet’s Lit Up (music by Vivian Ellis) and wrote lyrics for many shows. He arranged or composed music for many stage shows for example The Voyage of the Venturer, Summer Holiday (1960: lyrics as well – a piano version of the tunes was published) and for many Boy Scout Gang Shows, with which he was associated between 1942 and 1974 (a selection from these latter was published in mid-century). Two of his songs, Strollin’ and Boys in Blue, were arranged for brass, by Edrich Siebert.

Philip L Scowcroft

February 2002

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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