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Abrahams, Doris Caroline [pseud. Caryl Brahms] (1901–1982), writer and songwriter, was born at 28 Morland Road, Croydon, Surrey, on 8 December 1901, the only child of Henry Clarence Abrahams, a wholesale jeweller, and his wife, Pearl, one of the twenty-one children of ...

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Aitken, Laurel [real name Oliver Anthony Stephens] (1925–2005), singer, songwriter, and record producer, was born on 22 April 1925, in Jamaica, one of six children of a Jamaican father and a Cuban mother. His early years were spent in Havana, Cuba, but the family moved to ...

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Barnard [née Pye], Charlotte Alington [pseud. Claribel] (1830–1869), balladeer and poet, only child of Henry Alington Pye (1799–1883), a lawyer and speculator, and his wife, Charlotte Mary Yerburgh (d. 1847), was born at The Cedars, St Mary's Lane, Louth, Lincolnshire...

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Roger Keith Barrett (1946–2006) by Gems, 1969 Getty Images

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Barrett, Roger Keith [Syd] (1946–2006), musician and songwriter, was born on 6 January 1946 at 60 Glisson Road, Cambridge, the fourth of five children of Arthur Max Barrett, medical practitioner, and his wife, Winifred Flack, née Heeps. Educated at the Cambridge and County High School for Boys...

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Barrett, Roger Keith [Syd] (1946–2006)

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Bart [formerly Begleiter], Lionel (1930–1999), song-writer and composer of musicals, was born on 1 August 1930 at 24 Underwood Road in the East End of London to a Jewish family, the youngest of the eleven children of Morris Begleiter, a master tailor, and his wife, ...

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Boulton, Sir Harold Edwin, second baronet (1859–1935), songwriter and philanthropist, was born at Lower Woolwich Road, Charlton, Kent, on 7 August 1859, the elder son and third of eight children of Samuel Bagster Boulton (1830–1918), of Copped Hall, Totteridge, Hertfordshire, who was created baronet in 1905, and his wife, ...

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Brooksbank [née Soutar], Mary Watson (1897–1978), revolutionary and songwriter, was born on 15 December 1897 at 29 Shiprow, Aberdeen, the only daughter of five children born to Alexander Soutar (1867–1953), dock labourer and founding member of Aberdeen Dockers' Union, and his wife, ...

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Brown, Errol Ainsworth Glenstor (1943–2015), by Fin Costello, 1978

© Getty Images

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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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George Edric Browne (1920–2007) by V. Wilmer, 2005 © Val Wilmer

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Cameron, William [nicknamed Hawkie] (c. 1787–1851), pedlar and beggar, was probably born at St Ninians, Stirlingshire, the son of Dugald Cameron of Braemar, a mashman, and his wife, Janet Paterson. As members of the Burgher Secession church the family barely feature in parochial registers, so details of ...

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Campbell, Ian (1933–2012), folk singer and songwriter, was born on 10 June 1933 at 89 Skene Street, Aberdeen, the son of David Dunn Campbell, fish worker and later a trade union official, and his wife, Isabella Armstrong, née Sutherland. He was the eldest of four children, followed by his brother, ...

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Campion, Thomas (1567–1620), poet and musician, was born in London on 12 February 1567 and baptized on the following day at St Andrew's, Holborn, the second child of John Campion (d. 1576) and Lucy, née Searle (d. 1580), widow of Roger Trigg...

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Carey, Henry (1687–1743), poet and songwriter, was born on or about 26 August 1687. The Gentleman's Magazine for July 1795 claimed he was the illegitimate son of George Savile, marquess of Halifax (1633–1695). Circumstantial evidence supports a Savile connection: three of Carey's sons were named ...

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Carr, Michael [real name Maurice Alfred Cohen] (1905–1968), songwriter, was born at 85 Portland Crescent, Leeds, on 11 March 1905. He was the son of Morris Cohen, cabinet-maker and boxer, known as Cockney Cohen, and an Irish mother, Gertrude Jane, née Beresford...

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Jennett Humphreys

revised by Douglas Brown

Carrick, John Donald (1788–1837), songwriter and journalist, was born on 22 April 1788 at Glasgow, the son of Elizabeth Donald and William Carrick, a porter. His father was originally from Buchlyvie, Stirlingshire. He was put to work early in the office of a ...

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Carter, Sydney Bertram (1915–2004), songwriter and journalist, was born on 6 May 1915 at 36 St Paul's Road, Canonbury, London, the son of Bertram Rust Carter, a jeweller's sundryman's salesman, and his wife, Ada, née Jenner. He attended Montem Street school in Islington...