28 Jun Who is Al Bowlly?
Rehearsals are already underway for Al Bowlly’s Croon Manifesto coming to Forest Arts Centre on the 11th & 12th August, promising to be a ‘rip-roaring evening of of music, theatre and dance.’
But who was Al Bowlly? and why does his music matter?
Jake Oldershaw, who plays Al in the production, tells us a little bit about this elusive figure who faded into history….
“Imagine the biggest popstar you can think of. That was Al Bowlly in the 1930’s.
He might be the most famous singer you’ve never heard of. Popping up in cult films like ‘The Shining’ and ‘Amelie’, and providing the signature tune to the 90’s sitcom, ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’, his songs go straight to the heart.
Born in Mozambique to a Greek father and a Lebanese mother, he played in small dance bands around the world before hitting it big in the UK and USA.
As technology changed, vocal microphones meant singers didn’t have to shout to be heard above the band. The whispering tones of ‘crooning’ were invented, with Al as the greatest champion.
Like all great rock and roll stars his personal life was turbulent. He was known to be a big gambler, and when money did come his way it left pretty quickly. With a voice like that he had no shortage of interest from women, but legend has it he found his wife in bed with another man on his wedding night and divorced in a matter of months.
Sadly the live fast, die young myth applies to Al, like so many of our favourites. He was killed during an air raid on London in 1942.
But the music always lives on…”
Jake Oldershaw (Untied Artists)