Monday, 18 June 2012

The Good Old Days - Harry Champion

Harry Champion was a music hall performer and comedian whose height of popularity came in the early years of the 20th Century.

Born William Crump in Shoreditch (April 1865), his stage persona mainly appealed to the working classes in and around his native East end of London. 

Making his stage debut at the age of 15 at the Royal Victoria Music Hall in Bethnal Green, he initially appeared under the name of Will Conray, but 5 years later in 1887, as his fame spread to other areas of the UK capital, he started using the stage name of Harry Champion.

Harry Champion in 1938 
As he became more famous, his repertoire grew, making him one of the most popular music hall acts of his time. His songs were invariably sung at breakneck speed, with many concerning the joys of food.

His most famous recordings included "Boiled Beef and Carrots", "I'm Henery the Eighth I Am", "Any Old Iron" and "A Little Bit of Cucumber".

Harry performing "Any Old Iron"

After a successful 40+ year career on the stage, he retired from performing soon after his wife died in 1928. He did return from time to time however to make occasional guest appearances in halls around the London area. 

In the 1930's he actually came fully out of retirement to appear on radio and in the process gained a new, younger audience.

"I'm Henery the Eighth I Am"

By the early 1940's however, his health took its toll and he once again retired when exhaustion forced him into a nursing home. He died a month later in 1942 and is buried in St Marylebone cemetery in London's East Finchley.

No comments:

Post a Comment