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Noel Gay

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Category: Music - Popular
Reference No: 10153
Status: Available
Price: £40.00
  Noel Gay  Noel Gay

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Prolific Yorkshire-born composer of popular music in the 1930s and 1940s (he wrote the music for 28 films, 26 London stage shows and 45 songs); once described as "the closest Britain ever came to a local Irving Berlin.”

Gay’s real name was Reginald Armitage but he came up with his stage name in 1925 when he saw a sign on a London bus that read “Noel Coward and Maisie Gay in a new revue”.

His most famous show was Me and My Girl, with its showstopping hit, The Lambeth Walk. It had its premiere in 1937 and enjoyed two hugely successful revivals in 1952 and 1984.

His many songs include The Sun Has Got His Hat On (1932), There’s Something About A Soldier (1933), Leaning on a Lamp Post (a megahit for George Formby, 1937) and Run, Rabbit, Run (1939).

After the war, Gay’s musical output diminished and he concentrated more on production, in part because of increasing deafness and also because the fashion for cheerful Cockney-themed songs was on the wane.

In the 1930s there was an autograph collector called Louis Ollier. Ollier was also a talented artist and it was his practice to do excellent pen and ink drawings of celebrities and send them to be signed and returned. Apparently nobody refused. This item comes from Ollier's collection - a superb original pen and ink drawing of Noel Gay on a 7" x 10" sheet of white cartridge paper. Gay has signed and dated the drawing (11.3.39) in dark blue ink, also adding a fine musical quotation. Condition is very good.