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George Formby

Musical comedian George Formby was among Britain's most popular stars during the first half of the 20th century, with a legacy encompassing over 200 records and more than 20 hit films. Born George Hoy Booth on May 26, 1904 in Lancashire, England, he was the son of George Formby, Sr., himself a popular Edwardian music hall comedian. The younger Formby first worked as an apprentice jockey, but his father's sudden death in 1921 prompted him to pursue his own career as a performer; he initially worked under his given name, but later adopted his father's nom-de-stage following his marriage to dancer Beryl Ingham, who soon took over the reins of her husband's career. Initially, Formby attempted to approximate his father's act, but with little success; the chance acquisition of a banjo ukulele proved the key to establishing his own stage persona, and in light of audiences' enthusiastic reactions to his idiosyncratic, self-taught playing style, the instrument was never again far from his side.

With his toothy grin and goofy personality, Formby was dubbed "the beloved imbecile" by pundits; after earning a loyal following among music hall denizens, he scored a major pop hit with 1932's "Chinese Blues," which when renamed "Chinese Laundry Blues" became his signature song for the duration of his career. Two years later, Formby made his first film, Boots! Boots!; the picture was a smash, and he swiftly contracted to make 11 more films for Ealing Studios. Over the course of movies like 1935's No Limit, 1937's Feather Your Nest and 1938's It's in the Air, he became Britain's biggest star, earning an estimated £100,000 a year; his films also continued to provide him with a wealth of saucy hit records, including "The Window Cleaner," "Fanlight Fanny," "Riding in the T.T. Races" and the Noel Gay-penned "Leaning on a Lamp Post," perhaps his most popular song.

With the outbreak of World War II, Formby toured extensively, entertaining troops throughout Europe and the Middle East -- he was even among the first performers to appear in Normandy in the aftermath of its invasion, and in 1946 was awarded the OBE for his efforts. In 1951, Formby starred in the musical Zip Goes a Million, staged at the Palace Theater in London's West End; the production's success was unprecedented, but after suffering a major heart attack, Formby was forced to drop out of his role after just six months. After spending a year in recovery, he returned to the club circuit, but illness continued to plague him throughout the decade. In 1960, he cut "Happy Go Lucky Me," his first record in 15 years; on Christmas Eve of that same year his wife died, and just two months later he courted controversy by announcing his engagement to a schoolteacher over two decades his junior. Tragically, Formby himself passed away on March 6, 1961 at the age of 56. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Lancashire Lad

1. With My Little Stick Of Blackpool Rock

2. It's Turned Out Nice Again

3. Mr Wu's A Window Cleaner Now

4. When I'm Cleaning Windows

5. Grandad's Flanalette Night Shirt

6. Bless 'em All

7. Easy-Going Chap

8. Hill Billy Willie

9. Hitting The High Spots

10. Im A Froggie

11. Lancashire Hot Pot Swingers

12. Our Sergeant Major

13. I Don’t Like

14. Keep Your Seats Please

15. Oh Don’t The Wind Blow Cold

16. They Cant Fool Me

17. Somebodys Wedding Day

18. Its In The Air

x

Track List: The Legendary George Formby

1. Leaning On A Lamp Post

2. Auntie Maggie's Remedy

3. In My Little Snapshot Album

4. With My Little Stick Of Blackpool Rock

5. The Window Cleaner

6. The Window Cleaner (No 2)

7. Mr Wu's A Window Cleaner Now

8. Our Sergeant Major

9. Mother What'll I Do Now

10. Grandad's Flannelette Night Shirt (Let George Do It)

11. I'm The Ukelele Man

12. Mr Wu In The Air Force

13. Unconditional Surrender

14. Home Guard Blues

15. Cookhouse Serenade

16. Sitting On Top Of Blackpool Tower

17. I Wonder Who's Under Her Balcony Now?

18. It Serves You Right

19. I Don't Like

20. Bless 'Em All (The Service Song)

x

Track List: The Very Best Of

1. The Emperor Of Lancashire

2. Formby Favourites For The Forces

3. Bless 'Em All No 2

4. Come Hither WIth Your Zither

5. The Barmaid At The Rose & Crown

6. When I'm Cleaning Windows

7. Thanks Mr. Roosevelt

8. Our Fanny's Gone All Yankee

9. Down The Old Coal Hole

10. Andy The Handy Man

11. Guarding The Home Of The Home Guard

12. Letting The New Year In

13. Grandad's Flannelette Nightshirt

14. A Lad From Lancashire

15. Mr. Wu's An Air Raid Warden Now

16. Got To Get Your Photo In The Press

17. The Daring Young Man

18. I'm The Ukelele Man

19. Leaning On A Lampost

20. Imagine Me In The Maginot Line

21. She's Got Two Of Everything

22. Bless 'Em All

23. Chinese Laundry Blues

24. Swim Little Fish

25. Count Your Blessings & Smile

26. Delivering The Morning Milk

x

Track List: George Formby

1. When I'm Cleaning Windows (2011)

2. Do-DE-O-Do

3. The Wedding Of Mr Wu

4. Fanlight Fanny (2011)

5. Share And Share Alike (2011)

6. Keep Your Seats, Please

7. You're A Li-A-Ty

8. When We Feather Our Nest

9. The Lancashire Toreador (2011)

10. My Plus Fours (2011)

11. I Don't Like (2011)

12. Noughts And Crosses (2011)

13. Mother, What'll I Do Know?

14. On The Wigan Boat Express

15. Down The Old Coal Hole

16. Auntie Maggie's Remedy

17. You Can't Go Wrong

18. American Medley: Intro/ My Old Kentucky Home/ DE Camptown Races/ She'll Be Comin' Round The Mountain/ Old Folks At Home/ Oh! Susanna/ Over There/ Anchors Aweigh

19. British Isles Medley: Intro/ Men Of Harlach/ D'ya Ken John Peel?/ Heart Of Oak/ On Ilkla Moor/ Loch Lomond/ Come Landlord Fill The Flowing Bowl/ Auld Lang Syne

x

Track List: Leaning On A Lamp Post

Disc 1

1. Leaning On A Lamp Post

2. Chinese Laundry Blues

3. Why Don't Women Like Me?

4. Sitting On The Ice In The Ice Rink

5. With My Little Ukulele In My Hand

6. Swimmin' With The Wimmin

7. It's No Use Looking At Me

8. Fanlight Fanny

9. We All Share And Share Alike

10. Pleasure Cruise

11. The Isle Of Man

12. Riding In The Tt Races

13. When I'm Cleaning Windows

14. Oh Dear, Mother

15. With My Little Stick Of Blackpool Rock

16. Hindoo Man

17. The Lancashire Toreador

18. My Plus Fours

19. Easy-Going Chap

20. I Don't Like

21. Hi-Tiddly-Hi-Ti Island

22. You Can't Stop Me From Dreaming

23. Like The Big Pots Do

24. I Blew A Little Blast On My Whistle

25. Springtime's Here Again

26. Noughts And Crosses

Disc 2
x

Track List: When I'm Cleaning Windows

1. When I’m Cleaning Windows

2. Leaning On A Lamp Post

3. Five And Twenty Years

4. I Did What I Could With My Gas Mask

5. Imagine Me In The Maginot Line

6. A Lad From Lancashire

7. Delivering The Morning Milk

8. Noughts And Crosses

9. On The Wigan Boat Express

10. Pleasure Cruise

11. Under The Blasted Oak

12. Wunga Bunga Boo

13. You Can’t Stop Me From Dreaming

14. Sitting On The Sands All Night

15. I Wonder Who’s Under Her Balcony Now?

16. A Farmer’s Boy

17. Down The Old Coal Hole

18. My Plus Fours

19. It’s Turned Out Nice Again

20. Goodnight Little Fellow Goodnight

x

Track List: The Ultimate Collection

Disc 1

1. Leaning On A Lampost

2. Hi Tiddly Hi Ti Island

3. Happy Go Lucky Me

4. Banjo Boy

5. It's No Use Looking At Me

6. Little Stick Of Blackpool Rock

7. Our Fanny's Gone All Yankee

8. Bell Bottom George

9. On The Beat

10. I Wish I Was Back On The Farm

11. I Blew A Little Blast On My Whistle

12. Andy The Handy Man

13. The Ghost

14. The Lancashire Toreador

15. Oh Dear Mother

16. Mr Wu's A Window Cleaner Now

17. Delivering The Morning Milk

18. Oh Don't The Wind Blow Cold

19. The Left Hand Side Of Egypt

20. Chinese Laundry Blues

Disc 2

1. When I'm Cleaning Windows

2. The Pleasure Cruise

3. Levi's Monkey Mike

4. You're Everything To Me

5. Isle Of Man

7. I'm Making Headway Now

8. I Couldn't Let The Stable Down

9. I Wonder Who's Under Her Balcony Now?

10. Fanlight Fanny

11. Hindoo Man

13. Sitting On The Ice In The Ice Rink

15. Noughts And Crosses

16. Share And Share Alike

17. Grandad's Flannelette Nightshirt

18. Baby

19. We've Been A Long Time Gone

20. It's Turned Out Nice Again

x

Track List: With My Little Ukelele

1. When I'm Cleaning Windows

2. The Window Cleaner

3. Mr. Wu's A Window Cleaner Now

4. Sitting On The Ice In The Ice Rink

5. Swimmin' With The Wimmin

6. The Lancashire Toreador

7. With My Little Stick Of Blackpool Rock

8. Our Sergeant Major

9. HI Tiddley Hi Ti Island

10. Sitting On The Sands All Night

11. Chinese Laundry Blues

12. Madam Moscovitch

13. In My Little Snapshot Album

14. Mother, What'll I Do Now?

15. Bless 'Em All

16. With My Little Ukelele In My Hand

17. I Told My Baby With The Ukelele

18. Frigid Air Fanny

19. Leaning On A Lampost

20. It's Turned Out Nice Again

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Thank you ! How did you know I was going to ask for George ?
Report as inappropriate
Love this guys music. I want a tenor. Banjo. I had one that I sold now I wish I had it.
Report as inappropriate
fzin9
george formby is awesome. A favorite of george harrison, and a favorite of mine. Awesome, just awesome.
Report as inappropriate
A wonderful entertainer
Report as inappropriate
Looking for ukulele artists like this.
Report as inappropriate
Fun. But what about Carroll Gibbons? Gene Austin?

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