You are browsing the archive for Audio: Pop.

Music Hall Performer Billy Williams

- January 14, 2013 in Audio, Audio: 1900s, Audio: 1910s, Audio: Pop, billy williams, burlesque, collections, music hall, vaudeville

Richard Isaac Banks (1878–1915), who changed his name to Billy Williams after leaving his birthplace of Australia, was one of the most recorded popular entertainers of his time. Born in Melbourne, Williams tried a number of jobs before embarking on an entertainment career which led him to come to England in 1899. He became a popular entertainer in the music halls singing what were known as chorus-songs, and also appeared in pantomime. The year 1912 seemed to be the zenith of Williams’ career – he appeared in the first Royal Command Performance of that year and achieved glowing reviews in the national press. Sadly this fame was not to last as Williams became ill in late 1914 and died in Hove near Brighton in March 1915, the proximate cause being complications after an operation, but rumoured to be connected with “previous social excesses.” (Wikipedia) MP3 Download Internet Archive Link Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the most recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

The Yama Yama Man – Ada Jones (1909)

- August 2, 2012 in ada jones, Audio, Audio: 1900s, Audio: Pop, broadway, non-article, three twins, yama yama



“The Yama Yama Man” was written by Karl Hoschna (music) and Collin Davis (lyrics) for the Broadway show The Three Twins (1908). Bessie McCoy’s signature performance of the song, in a satin Pierrot clown costume with floppy gloves and a cone hat, was key in establishing the song’s popularity. The July 25, 1908, edition of Billboard magazine reported the following story how the song originated. When The Three Twins was rehearsing in Chicago, prior to first opening, Karl Hoschna, the composer, was asked to furnish a “pajama man song”. He wrote one called The Pajama Man only to learn that it could not be used owing to another pajama number booked at the Whitney Opera House the next day. Gus Sohlke, the stage director, happened to pass a toy store and saw in the window a doll built out of triangles. Realizing that this had never been used in stage work he decided to have a triangular man chorus in place of The Pajama Man. That afternoon as he, Collin Davis and Hoschna sat together wondering what they would call the song, Sohlke kept repeating “Pajama jama yama yama”. Suddenly he brightened up and cried “Did either of you fellows ever hear of a Yama Yama Man?” Of course neither one had and Sohlke confirmed “Neither have I! Lets call the new song Yama Yama Man”. Quickly Davis set to work to write a lyric around the title and that night Sohlke and Hoschna locked themselves in a room with Bessie McCoy and rehearsed the Yama song and dance for five hours. Ada Jones recorded “Yama Yama Man” in 1909 for Victor Light Opera Company. The lyrics for verse two and three were changed, verse two being more bawdy. It spent five weeks at #1 in 1909 and was the most popular song of her career. (Wikipedia)

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Rae Bourbon

- April 23, 2012 in Audio, Audio: 1930s, Audio: 1940s, Audio: Pop, non-article, pansy craze, ray bourbon

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During the Pansy Craze of 1930-1933 (mainly in Manhattan), gay clubs and performers, known as “pansy performers”, experienced a huge surge in underground popularity. In 1932, Rae Bourbon was working full-time as a female impersonator at such clubs as Jimmy’s Back Yard in Hollywood and Tait’s in San Francisco. At the latter, in May 1933, police raided his “Boys Will Be Girls” review during a live radio broadcast. In the later 30s and early 40s he headlined at the Rendezvous in Los Angeles and starred in his own revue, “Don’t Call Me Madam.” Throughout the 50s and 60s Bourbon entertained at hundreds of clubs throughout the U.S. and released dozens of albums, certainly the most prolific female impersonator to have done the latter. His appearances are still fondly remembered by many who saw him when he toured in big and small towns all over the country, providing many isolated Gay men with a glimpse of the loose-knit urban Gay community of the pre-Stonewall era. His comedy was at once highbrow and lowbrow, overtly gay and covertly subversive. Despite his influence on gays, he remained vague about his own sexuality. There is evidence that he had relationships with both men and women, was married twice, and fathered at least one son. Bourbon excelled at generating numerous conflicting stories about himself. (From Wikipedia)

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