Barry Humphries - Barry's Forgotten Musical Masterpieces

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
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01Musical Memories Of Growing Up In Melbourne2016011320160912 (R2)

In this new 3-part series, Barry Humphries presents a selection of his musical memories and aims to transport listeners to a bygone era with vintage recordings by artists, who made their names during the age of the wireless. As a little boy growing up in far-off Melbourne during the 1930s and 40s, Barry was captivated by the sounds and music emanating from his parents' wireless set. During childhood illnesses, Barry's mother placed the radio set in his bedroom and little Barry was so entranced by the music that he tried to make whooping cough, measles and mumps last as long as possible. Barry's early musical memories include Fred Astaire, Flanagan and Allen, The Comedian Harmonists, Joseph Schmidt, Harry Roy and Judy Garland among others.

Barry Humphries's early musical memories include Fred Astaire, Flanagan and Allen, the Comedian Harmonists, Joseph Schmidt, Harry Roy and Judy Garland.

In this new 3-part series, Barry Humphries presents a selection of his musical memories and aims to transport listeners to a bygone era with vintage recordings by artists, who made their names during the age of the wireless. As a little boy growing up in far-off Melbourne during the 1930s and 40s, Barry was captivated by the sounds and music emanating from his parents' wireless set. During childhood illnesses, Barry's mother placed the radio set in his bedroom and little Barry was so entranced by the music that he tried to make whooping cough, measles and mumps last as long as possible. Barry's early musical memories include Fred Astaire, Flanagan and Allen, The Comedian Harmonists, Joseph Schmidt, Harry Roy and Judy Garland among others.

Barry Humphries's early musical memories include Fred Astaire, Flanagan and Allen, the Comedian Harmonists, Joseph Schmidt, Harry Roy and Judy Garland.

In this new 3-part series, Barry Humphries presents a selection of his musical memories and aims to transport listeners to a bygone era with vintage recordings by artists, who made their names during the age of the wireless. As a little boy growing up in far-off Melbourne during the 1930s and 40s, Barry was captivated by the sounds and music emanating from his parents' wireless set. During childhood illnesses, Barry's mother placed the radio set in his bedroom and little Barry was so entranced by the music that he tried to make whooping cough, measles and mumps last as long as possible. Barry's early musical memories include Fred Astaire, Flanagan and Allen, The Comedian Harmonists, Joseph Schmidt, Harry Roy and Judy Garland among others.

02The Age Of The Wireless2016012020160913 (R2)

Barry Humphries celebrates the age of the wireless and aims to transport listeners to a bygone era with a selection of vintage recordings by artists, who were once star names, but who are today rarely, if ever, heard on air. The show opens with Henry Hall and the BBC Dance Orchestra performing the song 'Radio Times' (a copy of the sheet music for which was issued with the 1934 Christmas edition of the magazine of the same name). Also musical comedians Norman Long and Stanelli perform an ode to the BBC Licence Fee with the song 'All For Ten Shillings A Year'.

Barry Humphries celebrates the age of the wireless and aims to transport listeners to a bygone era with a selection of vintage recordings by artists, who were once star names, but who are today rarely, if ever, heard on air. The show opens with Henry Hall and the BBC Dance Orchestra performing the song 'Radio Times' (a copy of the sheet music for which was issued with the 1934 Christmas edition of the magazine of the same name). Also musical comedians Norman Long and Stanelli perform an ode to the BBC Licence Fee with the song 'All For Ten Shillings A Year'.

Barry Humphries celebrates the age of the wireless and aims to transport listeners to a bygone era with a selection of vintage recordings by artists, who were once star names, but who are today rarely, if ever, heard on air. The show opens with Henry Hall and the BBC Dance Orchestra performing the song 'Radio Times' (a copy of the sheet music for which was issued with the 1934 Christmas edition of the magazine of the same name). Also musical comedians Norman Long and Stanelli perform an ode to the BBC Licence Fee with the song 'All For Ten Shillings A Year'.

03The Birth Of The Microgroove2016012720160914 (R2)

Barry Humphries recalls his first job working at a major record label in Melbourne in the early 1950s during an historic time in the music industry. The era of 78 r.p.m. was over and the 1950s were the Age of the Microgroove! Also, Barry remembers his arrival in London on 1st June 1959 when there was a sense that London was a city on the verge of change. He arrived just in time to catch Randolph Sutton giving his last performances at the Metropolitan Musical Hall on Edgware Road before it was pulled down to make way for the West Way and just before a new generation made their mark on British theatre in the 1960s.

Barry Humphries recalls his first job working at a major record label in Melbourne in the early 1950s during an historic time in the music industry. The era of 78 r.p.m. was over and the 1950s were the Age of the Microgroove! Also, Barry remembers his arrival in London on 1st June 1959 when there was a sense that London was a city on the verge of change. He arrived just in time to catch Randolph Sutton giving his last performances at the Metropolitan Musical Hall on Edgware Road before it was pulled down to make way for the West Way and just before a new generation made their mark on British theatre in the 1960s.

Barry Humphries recalls his first job working at a major record label in Melbourne in the early 1950s during an historic time in the music industry. The era of 78 r.p.m. was over and the 1950s were the Age of the Microgroove! Also, Barry remembers his arrival in London on 1st June 1959 when there was a sense that London was a city on the verge of change. He arrived just in time to catch Randolph Sutton giving his last performances at the Metropolitan Musical Hall on Edgware Road before it was pulled down to make way for the West Way and just before a new generation made their mark on British theatre in the 1960s.

020120180102

Barry Humphries uncovers a musical treasure trove of rare and forgotten recordings.

Barry Humphries takes listeners back to the first half of the Twentieth Century with a selection of his favourite 78 r.p.m. recordings. Through his unique commentary, Barry demonstrates the songs of the past are still relevant today and offer important musical lessons for life! As well as Barry's own musical memories from growing up in Melbourne during in the 1930s and 40s, this programme is full of entertaining, atmospheric and thought-provoking tracks from the Depression Era, early days of the wireless and the Second World War... Each track offers fascinating (and sometimes astounding!) snapshots of social history. Highlights include: 'My Wife's On a Diet' performed by Jack Hylton and His Band with a vocal by Leslie Sarony and refers to Philip Snowden (who was Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1929 during the Wall Street Crash), Rudy Vallee's atmospheric 1931 version of 'Brother Can You Spare a Dime?' is a moving tale of an American ex-solider down on his luck during the Depression, Beryl Davis with Geraldo and His Orchestra perform 'I'm Old Fashioned', Layton and Johnstone's 'I'm in the Market for You' is packed-full of economic analogies and Dick Bentley's song 'Are You Having Fun?' poses a question which is as important today as when it was written nearly 80 years ago! Also, the American Tenor Billy Murray's 1920 recording of the song 'I'll See You in Cuba' is a musical time capsule. In prohibition era America, it encourages Americas to meet up in Cuba for an alcoholic drink... Barry says, "not only are you hearing good tunes, but each song is a little story, a miniature adventure!" Barry does not have a BBC e-mail address, however he may be contacted by pigeon post or Morse code!

020220180109

Barry Humphries celebrates artists who made their name during the age of the wireless.

Through his unique commentary, Barry demonstrates the songs of the past are still just as relevant today. Each track provides fascinating (and sometimes astounding!) snapshots of social history. Highlights of this programme include: Jack Hylton's recording of 'Amy Wonderful Amy' in celebration of aviatrix Amy Johnson's record-breaking flight from Britain to Australia in 1930, clips of the first British DJ Christopher Stone who in 1927 convinced the BBC to let him broadcast a programme of American and American-influenced Jazz records, an early version of the 'My Baby Just Cares for Me' which dates back to the 1920s, Noel Coward's ground-breaking and honest 1932 version of 'Mad About the Boy' which was kept under-wraps by record company executives until quiet recently and The Western Brothers send BBC workforce in the 1930s in the song 'We're Frightfully BBC'...

020320180116

Barry Humphries plays a selection of his favourite 78 r.p.m. recordings.

Barry Humphries takes listeners back in time to the first half the 20th century with a selection of his favourite 78 r.p.m. recordings. In this programme, Barry recalls his childhood trips to the cinema in Melbourne with his Aunty Irene and his early wish to grow up to be a magician, so that he could make school bullies disappear. He also plays 'Das Lila Lied' ('The Lavender Song' in English), which is the song credited as being the first gay anthem. It was written in Berlin during the years between the two world wars when the city was a liberated and progressive place. Barry also plays Danny Kaye's version of the song 'Farming', written by Cole Porter it's believed to be the first song to use 'gay' in the modern sense of the word as it is used to refer to the sexual orientation of one of the bulls on the farm...

020420180123

Barry Humphries uncovers a musical treasure trove of rare and forgotten recordings.

Barry Humphries takes listeners back to the first half of the twentieth century with a selection of his favourite 78 r.p.m. recordings. Through his unique commentary, Barry demonstrates the songs of the past are still relevant today and each track played offers fascinating insights of social history.

In this final programme in this series of Forgotten Music, Barry celebrates the music the Nazis said was bad. It includes details on the history of Barry's favourite group 'The Comedian Harmonists'. When the Nazis came to power the group was banned because it had three Jewish members and sang mostly American or American-influenced music. Those members who fled to Austria re-named the group 'The Comedy Harmonists' before being forced again to flee when Austria became part of the Third Reich. The non-Jewish members of the group stayed in Germany and became 'Das Meistersextet'. Barry also plays 'So Blue' by the American vocal harmony group 'The Revelers' which inspired Harry Frommermann to form 'The Comedian Harmonists' in Berlin.

Another highlight of this final programme in Barry's series of forgotten music for BBC Radio 2 is a radio performance by George Gershwin, one of Barry's all-time favourite composers. George Gershwin died unexpectedly in July 1937, when he was just 38 years old of a brain tumour. 2017 marks 80 years since the death of this influential composer. His achievements were monumental and his music continues to influence musicians and composers today.