Happy Birthday, Harry! [Radio Scotland]

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2020122520201228 (RS)Who was Harry Lauder? How did he become a global success and what’s his legacy 150 years later? These are the questions Jamie MacDougall attempts to answer in this 150th anniversary celebration of Lauder's life and music.

Nowadays younger generations might be more familiar with Lauder's name due to the A199 Portobello bypass, named Sir Harry Lauder road in his honour. Yet in the early Twentieth Century, Harry Lauder was Scotland’s first international superstar and the highest paid entertainer in the world. He was also the first British artist to sell over a million records. He was friends with Charlie Chaplin and Churchill was a fan, along with several American presidents. He even had his own luxury train during tours to America. During the war, Lauder also made history, raising £1 Million for veterans of the first world war and became the first Knight of the Music Hall in the process.

In this 150th anniversary year of Lauder’s birth, we might think of Lauder as a Scottish icon, but perhaps it’s time to discover what lay beneath Lauder’s carefully crafted tartan persona, Jamie is on a mission to find out.

With contributions from Dr Paul Maloney, Research Fellow at Queen’s Uni Belfast and author of 'Scotland and the Music Hall, 1850-1914' and Mairi Buchananan from Forestry and Land Scotland.

Image courtesy of University of Glasgow Library, Scottish Theatre Archive.

Who was Harry Lauder and what's his legacy 150 years later?

Nowadays younger generations might be more familiar with Lauder's name due to the A199 Portobello bypass, named Sir Harry Lauder road in his honour. Yet in the early Twentieth Century, Harry Lauder was Scotland’s first international superstar and the highest paid entertainer in the world. He was also the first British artist to sell over a million records. He was friends with Charlie Chaplin and Churchill was a fan, along with several American presidents. He even had his own luxury train during tours to America. During the war, Lauder also made history, raising £1 Million for veterans of the first world war and became the first Knight of the Music Hall in the process.

Who was Harry Lauder and what's his legacy 150 years later?