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Arne, Thomas Augustine (1710–1778), composer and musical performer, was born in King Street, Covent Garden, London, on 12 March 1710, the son of Thomas Arne (bap. 1682, d. 1736) [see under Arne family], upholsterer and undertaker, and his second wife, Anne, ...

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Barnes, Frederick Jester (1885–1938), singer, was born on 31 May 1885 at 219 Great Lister Street, Saltley, Birmingham, the only child of Thomas William Barnes (1860/61–1913), butcher, and his wife, Mary Alice Jester (d. 1899/1900). The family moved across to 214 Great Lister Street...

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Blow, John (1648?–1708), musician and composer, was baptized at St Mary Magdalene, Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, on 23 February 1649. The record of his doctorate at Lambeth Palace confirms the identification; the age on his marriage allegation suggests that he was born in 1648. He was the second of three children of ...

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Bolan, Marc [real name Mark Feld] (1947–1977), musician and poet, was born on 30 September 1947 in Hackney, London, the second child of Simeon Feld, cosmetics salesman (1920–1991), and his wife, Phyllis Winifred, née Atkins (1927–1991). The energy of 1950s rock'n'roll captivated the young ...

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Bowlly, Albert Alick [Al] (1899–1941), singer, was born on 7 January 1899 in Delagoa Bay, Portuguese East Africa, the fourth of the ten children of Alick Pauli (1867–1927), a general dealer, and his Lebanese wife, Miriam (Mary) Ayoub-NeeJame (1874–1949). The couple married in ...

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George Biddlecombe

Braham, John (1777?–1856), singer, was probably born on 20 March 1777 in London. The year of his birth has often been given as 1774, but two accounts published during his lifetime—in The Harmonicon (10, 1832, 1), and in the Illustrated London News...

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Brown, Errol Ainsworth Glenstor (1943–2015), singer and songwriter, was born on 12 November 1943 in Kingston, Jamaica. The result of a teenage pregnancy, he barely knew his police officer father, Ivan Brown, from whom his mother Edna (d. 1963), a secretary, had become estranged shortly after his birth. Desperate to rescue her son from a cultural backdrop of poverty and gang violence, ...

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Browne, George Edric (1920–2007), singer, songwriter, and actor, was born Edric Browne on 4 May 1920 in Corbeau Town, Port of Spain, Trinidad, the only son and youngest of three children of Ernest Browne, a government printer, and his wife, Frances, née Noriega...

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Burstow, Henry (1826–1916), singer and bell-ringer, was born on 11 December 1826 at 34 The Bishopric, Horsham, Sussex, the second youngest of nine children. His father, William (b. 1781), and mother, Ellen (d. 1857) made clay tobacco pipes; their home, in the poorest and roughest part of ...

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Campbell, Herbert [real name Herbert Edward Story] (1844–1904), music-hall performer, was born on 22 December 1844 at 16 Hamilton Street, Kennington, Surrey, the son of Henry George Story, smith, and his wife, Hannah Fisher. Little is known of his early life beyond the agitation which resulted whenever ...

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Champion, Harry [real name William Henry Crump] (1865–1942), music-hall entertainer, was probably the William Henry Crump born at 30 Grafton Street, Mile End, London, on 8 April 1865, the son of Walter Henry Crump, a tailor who was later a butcher and licensed victualler, and his wife, ...

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Chevalier, Albert Onésime Britannicus Gwathveoyd Louis (1861–1923), comedian and actor, was born on 21 March 1861 at 21 St Ann's Villas, Royal Crescent, Notting Hill, London, the eldest son of Jean Onésime Chevalier, language teacher, and his wife, Ellen Louisa Mathews; his name at birth was registered simply as ...

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Coborn, Charles [real name Colin Whitton McCallum] (1852–1945), music-hall entertainer and songwriter, was born Colin Whitton McCallum on 4 August 1852 at 25 Sydney Square, Mile End, London, the son of Colin McCallum (1799–1872), shipbroker and freeman of the City of London...

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Connor, Edric Esclus (1913–1968), actor and singer, was born on 2 August 1913 in the village of Mayaro, Trinidad, the son of Edwin Connor, shoemaker and small farmer. At sixteen he won a scholarship from the Trinidad government railway to study engineering at the ...

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J. A. F. Maitland

revised by David J. Golby

Cooke, Thomas Simpson [Tom] (1782–1848), singer and composer, was born in Dublin, and received his first musical instruction from his father, Bartlett Cooke, an oboist at the Smock Alley Theatre. He performed a violin concerto in public at the age of seven. He later studied composition with ...

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Curtis, Ian Kevin (1956–1980), musician, was the only son and eldest child of Kevin Curtis, a detective officer in the Transport Commission police, and his wife, Doreen, née Hughes. He was born on 15 July 1956 in the Memorial Hospital, Old Trafford, Manchester...

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Cutler, Ivor (1923–2006), humorist and singer, was born Isadore Cutler on 15 January 1923 at 3 Ralston Drive, Govan, Glasgow, the second son and third of five children of Jack Morris Cutler, draper and jeweller, and his wife, Paulina (Polly), née Goldberg. Both his parents were Jewish, and had arrived in ...

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Dacres, Desmond Adolphus [known as Desmond Dekker] (1941–2006), singer and songwriter, was born on 16 July 1941 in St Andrew, on the outskirts of Kingston, Jamaica. Little is known about his childhood except that after his mother's early death his father, desiring a proper education for his son, sent him to live with relatives in the quiet country town of ...

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Dawson, Peter Smith (1882–1961), singer, was born on 31 January 1882 in Adelaide, South Australia, the youngest son and the eighth of the ten children of Thomas Dawson (1842–1919) and Alison, née Miller (1841–1916). Both his parents were Scottish; his father, originally from ...

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Deller, Alfred George (1912–1979), singer, was born on 31 May 1912 at 42 Clifton Terrace, Margate, Kent, the son of Thomas William Deller (1871–1951), a physical training instructor, and his wife, Mary Ann Cave (1874–1946). He was the sixth of seven children. He was educated at the ...