Greg Poppleton

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23 January 2024

(Until 23 January)

Henry Hall and the BBC Dance Orchestra | Phantom Dancer 23 January 2024

Greg Poppleton's Phantom Dancer swing jazz radio show

Henry Hall was an English pianist, composer and the director of the BBC Dance Orchestra from 1932-37. He’s your Phantom Dancer feature artist this week.

The Phantom Dancer is your weekly non-stop mix of swing and jazz from live 1920s-60s radio and TV every week.

LISTEN to this week’s Phantom Dancer mix (online after 2pm AEST, Tuesday 23 January) and weeks of Phantom Dancer mixes online at, at https://2ser.com/phantom-dancer/

HENRY

Henry Hall first learnt trumpet and then piano as a child. He played in Salvation Army bands and wrote marches for them.

In December 1916 he was recruited into the Royal Field Artillery. He was arrested for playing piano in the officers’ mess, and his musical abilities notices, he was transfered to the Cadet School to play piano in the band and write arrangements for revues.

After WWI Henry Hall played in music hall acts and took piano lessons at the Guildhall School Of Music.

Quoting the Henry Hall biography in jabw_vintage/report no. 25:

“In December 1922 Henry heard that a dance band in Manchester needed a relief pianist. He took the job, never having played in a dance band! Very soon another one of those little fortunate events secured Henry’s future. The band was supporting a dance show on New Year’s Eve, with Arthur Towle, Managing Director, in the audience. The dancer needed to change dress between numbers and it was just realised that there was going to be an embarrassing minute of silence…. Henry sitting at the piano heard a whispered ‘Play something – quick!’. His recent lessons at the Guild Hall of Music flashed before him and he launched into Chopin’s ‘Butterfly’ study, the lights turned on to the young pianist, he stole the show. Mr Towle was heard to say something to the effect of ‘Keep that boy!’.”

Henry Hall formed a seven piece dance band for the then nre Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland. To advertise the hotel, he organised on opening night, 4 June 1924, the first ever outside broadcast in Scotland took place on June 4, 1924. This led to a series of band remotes from the hotel.

In November 1924 the Henry Hall’s Gleneagles Dance Band made their first records. He also published his first dance band tunes

HALL

By 1931 Henry Hall was running 32 bands across the UK and making records for the new Decca label.

In the first week of 1932 Henry Hall was invited to lead a new BBC Dance Orchestra.

The New BBC Dance Orchestra had thirteen players, with an unusual feature, 16 year old oboe player, Richard Matthews.

The orchestra made its first broadcast from the new unfinished Broadcasting House, studio 8A) on 15 March 1932 at 8.00-8.30pm, and it received a mixed response from listeners.

There had been a big publicity build-up to the broadcast and the band were hard put to live up to the expectations, especially the fact that they were following the very popular show band that Jack Payne had created.

The band moved to a weekjly 5:15-6pm slot, with features including a Children’s Spot with songs like Rusty and Dusty, and Teddy Bears’ Picnic. Vocalists featured included Val Rosing who sang the band’s theme, written by Henry Hall, Here’s To The Next Time.

The BBC Dance Orchestra appeared at the Radio Exhibition, Olympia, in 1933 – much to Henry Hall’s surprise the public were delighted to see the band.

Henry made his first US trip in September 1933, to learn as much as he could about how US bands performed and presented themselves. He met Ben Bernie, Vincent Lopez, Buddy Rogers, Wayne King, Glen Gray, Rudy Vallee, Fred Waring, Irving Mills, George Gershwin and Max Dreyfus.

Back in London, Henry Hall invited Fred Astaire, then appearing on the West End stage, to sing during a broadcast. With composer Cole Porter looking on Fred sang Night And Day with the BBC Dance Orchestra.

He developed the concept of Guest Night the first of which was broadcast on 17 March 1934 featuring Flanagan & Allen, Elsie & Doris Waters, Anona Winn and June. The second Guest Night featured Ronald Frankau, Doris Hare, Leslie Sarony and Layton & Johnstone. Guest Night programmes became very popular. The Radio Times did not publish who would be on the show, it was always a surprise. The stars of Britain continued to appear including Florence Desmond, Tommy Handley, Stanley Holloway, Jack Buchanan, Jessie Matthews as well as international stars like Larry Adler, Tallulah Bankhead, Belle Baker, Mills Brothers and Richard Tauber. To maintain a regular good show Guest Night became fortnightly.

Henry Hall made his first Royal Command Performance in 1934. He also appeared at the London Palladium and Radiolympia that year.

“While Henry Hall was on a second trip to US, during the Autumn of 1934, the BBC Dance Orchestra continued to broadcast, and was announced as ‘the BBC Dance Orchestra directed by Henry Hall’ even though he wasn’t there. The press made a story out of it so on the first night back Henry Hall came on the air and said ‘This IS Henry Hall speaking!’. He continued to do this for a few days and it stuck, and he continued to introduce himself this way for the rest of his career.”

In 1935 Henry Hall and band featured in the movie Music Hath Charms with Gertrude Lawrence and Douglas Fairbanks Jnr.

In 1936 Henry Hall conducted a band on the maiden voyage of The Queen Mary, due to sail on May 27th. As part of the publicity Henry. The BBC Dance Orchestra also appeared on TV.

He left the BBC Dance Orchestra with a farewell broadcast on 25 September 1937. He continued his Guest Night broadcasts on the BBC and led a touring orchestra.

In February 1939 the band spent a month at the Scala, Berlin.

During the war, Henry Hall’s Orchestra entertained the troops.

In 1947 put together a band theatre show with comedian Ted Ray and contined with the Guest Night series.

“With the rise of television came the idea for a programme, similar to Guest Night, where Henry could sit at the piano and recall his favourite personalities, friends, tunes and stories from his thirty-odd year career. The show was called Face the Music. Henry last appeared as a bandleader in 1969 and the following year his service to music was recognised by the award of the OBE.”

23 January PLAY LIST

Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney
LISTEN ONLINE
Community Radio Network Show CRN #637

107.3 2SER Tuesday 23 January 2024
12:04 – 2:00pm (+11 hours GMT)
National Program
5UV Adelaide Monday 2:30 – 3:30am
5GTR Mt Gambier Monday 2:30 – 3:30am
3MBR Murrayville Monday 3 – 4am
4NAG Keppel FM Monday 3 – 4am
2MIA Griffith Monday 3 – 4am
2BAR Edge FM Bega Monday 3 – 4am
2BRW Braidwood Monday 3 – 4am
2YYY Young Monday 3 – 4am
7RPH Hobart Monday 3 – 4pm
3VKV Alpine Radio Monday 6 – 7pm
7MID Oatlands Monday 3am – 4 and 6 -7pm
2MCE Bathurst Wednesday 9 – 10am
1ART ArtsoundFM Canberra Friday 10 – 11am
and Sunday 11pm
Reading Radio (QLD) Friday 1am – 2
2RRR Ryde Friday 11am – 12
2ARM Armidale Friday 12 – 1pm
5LCM Lofty FM Adelaide Friday 1 – 2pm
6GME Radio Goolarri Broome Saturday 4am – 5am
Denmark FM (West Australia) Saturday 10 – 11am
Repeat: Wednesdays 10 – 11pm
7LTN Launceston Sunday 5 – 6am
3MGB Mallacoota Sunday 5 – 6am
3BBR West Gippsland Sunday 5 – 6pm
2SEA Sapphire Coast Eden Sunday 9 – 10pm

Set 1
Orrin Tucker
Let’s Be Sweethearts Again
Orrin Tucker Orchestra (voc) The Bodyguards
Edgewater Beach Hotel
WMAQ NBC Chicago
4 Dec 1948
Side by Side
Orrin Tucker Orchestra (voc) Orrin Tucker
Edgewater Beach Hotel
WMAQ NBC Chicago
4 Dec 1948
Golden Earrings
Orrin Tucker Orchestra (voc) Scottie Marsh
Edgewater Beach Hotel
WMAQ NBC Chicago
4 Dec 1948
How Many Times? + Goodnight My Love + Drifting and Dreaming (theme)Orrin Tucker Orchestra (voc) Orrin Tucker
Edgewater Beach Hotel
WMAQ NBC Chicago
4 Dec 1948
Set 2
Let’s Go To Town
Blue Flame (theme) + Song in Blue
Woody Herman Orchestra + Les Paul and Mary Ford
‘Let’s Go To Town’
Radio Transcription
1954
Strange
Woody Herman Orchestra
‘Let’s Go To Town’
Radio Transcription
1954
Theme from Laughing Eyes (Mackie Messer)
Les Paul and Mary Ford

‘Let’s Go To Town’
Radio Transcription
1954
The Man From Mars + Close
Woody Herman Orchestra

‘Let’s Go To Town’
Radio Transcription
1954
Set 3
Henry Hall
It’s Just the Time for Dancing (theme + Five Fifteen + Here’s to the Next Time (theme)
Henry Hall and the BBC Dance Orchestra (intro by Henry Hall)
Comm Rec
London
1932
Teddy Bear’s Picnic
Henry Hall and the BBC Dance Orchestra  (voc) Val Rosing
Comm Rec
London
1932
Aloha Oe
Henry Hall and the BBC Dance Orchestra  (voc) Les Allen
Comm Rec
London
1933
Making Conversation
Henry Hall and the BBC Dance Orchestra  (voc) Phyllis Robins & Les Allen
Comm Rec
London
1933
Sing Me a Swing Song
Henry Hall and the BBC Dance Orchestra  (voc) Don Donovan‘Henry Hall 5:15-6pm’
BBC National Pgm
London
21 Nov 36
Set 4
Miles Davis
Bags Groove
Miles Davis
‘Bandstand USA’
WOR Mutual NYC
3 Jan 1959
All of You
Miles Davis
‘Bandstand USA’
WOR Mutual NYC
3 Jan 1959
Set 5
Jimmy Lunceford
Theme + Little John
Jimmy Lunceford Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Casa Manana
Culver City Ca
AFRS Re-broadcast
8 Sep 1945
Fascinating Rhythm
Jimmy Lunceford Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Casa Manana
Culver City Ca
AFRS Re-broadcast
8 Sep 1945
Holiday for Strings
Jimmy Lunceford Orchestra
‘Jubilee’
AFRS Hollywood
1944
Molly Malone
Jimmy Lunceford Orchestra (voc) Maxine Sullivan
‘Jubilee’
AFRS Hollywood
1944
Set 6
Hal Kemp
When Summer is Gone (theme) + This is Romance
Hal Kemp Orchestra (voc) Wendell Mayhew
‘Lavena Program’
Radio Transcription
NYC
1934
Panama
Hal Kemp Orchestra
Radio Transcription
NYC
1934
Boo Boo Boo
Hal Kemp Orchestra (voc) Skinnay Ennis
‘Lavena Program’
Radio Transcription
NYC
1934
I Don’t Want to Be President
Hal Kemp Orchestra (voc) Skinnay Ennis
Radio Transcription
NYC
1934
Set 7
Fats Waller
It Ain’t Right
Fats Waller
V-Disc
23 Jan 1943
Frenesi
Fats WallerCollege Inn
Hotel Sherman
WMAQ NBC Red Chicago
10 Dec 1940
I Give You My Word
Fats Waller (voc) Kay perry
College Inn
Hotel Sherman
WMAQ NBC Red Chicago
10 Dec 1940
Watcha Know Joe
Fats Waller
College Inn
Hotel Sherman
WMAQ NBC Red Chicago
10 Dec 1940
Set 8
George Gershwin
Second Rhapsody
Paul Whiteman Orchestra (piano) Roy Bargy
‘Everybody’s Music’
WABC CBS NYC
10 Jun 1938
Medley: Clap Yo’ Hands + Do it Again + I Got Rhythm + Somebody Loves MePaul Whiteman Orchestra
‘Everybody’s Music’
WABC CBS NYC
10 Jun 1938
All Gigs
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