Grahame N's Web Pages
Also released by Pathéscope on 17.5mm optical sound as T.7300 (2 reels) - October 1936
Billy Merrin and his Commanders (dance band) (voc. Ken Crossley):- "Troubles are like Bubbles" (Billy Merrin, Keyes & Edgar Leslie) Billy Merrin and his Commanders (dance band) "March Winds and April Showers"(m&w Walter G.Samuels Leonard Whitcup & Teddy Powell) Introducing 'The Commanders' - medley (spoken by Billy Merrin) "Tiger Rag - Tommy Littlewood (vibrophone solo) - Nigel 'Cod' Hill (bass solo) - Teddy Taylor (trombone solo) "Shine" - Ken Crossley (vocal) (a piano accordian solo by George Wallace ("Shine") missing from the 9.5mm print) Alice Dey (vocal) with band "Nobody's Sweetheart" (Gus Kahn, Ernie Erdman, B.Myers & Elmer Schoebel) Jimmy Dey & Alice Dey (tap dance) with band "Somebody Stole my Girl" (Leo Wood) Trumpet duet & band "Two Trumpet Toot" (Roscoc Kern) Alice & Jimmy Dey (song & dance) with band "Stylish Steps" routine Ken Crossley (vocal) & band "With my Heart In My Hand" (Merrin & Hurley) Billy Merrin and his Commanders (dance band) "Cheerio!" (Merrin) with vocal by Billy Merrin and the boys
Billy Merrin & his Commanders at Ramsgate 1936
1. Billy Merrin was born at Nottingham, UK on 22 February 1900. In his early years he studied the banjo, mandolin, piano and much later alto saxophone. After demob from the Royal Naval Air Service after the first world war he formed a novelty dance group with bookings around Nottingham & Birmingham. After writing a musical play and formed a long association with the Alan Green Band, providing musical arrangements and doubling on banjo, piano, alto saxophone and vocals. Billy formed his own band the Commanders in Nottingham in 1931. Because of various broadcasts he became very popular.
2. The Commanders recorded for various record labels in the early 1930s - recording over 80 sides for Sterno and Plaza during 1934 alone! Crystalate's nine-inch Crown records first went on sale in Woolworths in September 1935. One of the main dance bands featured was Billy Merrin and his Commanders.
3. He discovered singer Ken Crossley at a Nottingham crooning contest. Ken had previously worked as a bricklayer on building sites.
4. The BBC paid tribute to Billy Merrin in 1939 with a life story - "From Banjo To Baton".
5. A fairly successful songwriter, Billy ran a music publishing business, appeared as a solo artist and later in the war years played summer seasons at Herne Bay, Kent, UK.
6. From 1951 he teamed up with his singing protegé Penny Nichols and toured variety theatres for nine years.
7. In 1960 he was musical director of the hit revival of "No No Nanette". In 1962 he took the touring version of the Black and White Minstrel Show to Australia and New Zealand. Three years later back in England he wrote the entire score and conducted the orchestra for the Harry Worth Show. Once the season ended he retired to Brighton. He died 24 July 1980 at the age of eighty.
(Extra info. with grateful thanks to Maurice Trace, Alex Gleason & Bob Francis)
Watch most of my 9.5mm sound print of "Cheerio" on You Tube: http://youtu.be/2bjX_9V7Ix0 (25Mar2013)
There are two excellent CDs of Billy Merrin & His Commanders, released on the Vocalion label.
Return to: 9.5MM PATHESCOPE SOUND FILM CATALOGUE - ALPHA ...... NUMERIC
Return to: 17.5MM PATHESCOPE SOUND FILM CATALOGUE - ALPHA
Created Oct2000 ...... Updated 09 February 2015 ......
95flmdancechee ....... © Grahame L. Newnham MM
29Nov2014 - 17.5mm reference added