Month: June 2014

Happy Feet

Thought I’d share the rather extraordinary remix of Hylton’s version of Happy Feet. It was commissioned by Baz Lurmann for his album Something For Everybody. It’s remixed by Paul Mac and mixed by Blam, and whilst I’m not that old, and know lots about lots of different kinds of music, I don’t know what that means!

Anyway, I kind of like it, and I suspect somehow or other, I’ll use it in the concert next year. In the meantime, open you ears and your mind, and don’t just dismiss it as being rubbish! It’s ace!

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The Jack Hylton Music Maker Juke Boxes

The prototype Jack Hylton Music Maker MK-1

The prototype Jack Hylton Music Maker MK-1

It wasn’t just the entertainment industry in which Jack Hylton was a leading light and forward thinker. At least three other areas are of note, those being the first UK manufactured juke boxes, the first UK bowling alleys, and the Earl’s Court Circus of the 1950’s.

This is a most extraordinary diversion for Hylton, though of course with some two thousand recorded titles in circulation through the 1940’s perhaps it’s no wonder that he found extra ways for them to be played. It’s been mentioned to this author a number of times that Hylton was the first to bring a jukebox to the UK and whilst this fact is not strictly true, the story of the Jack Hylton Music Maker is a fascinating one.

Wurlitzer jukeboxes had been imported into the UK in the 1930’s in very small numbers. Wurlitzers were popular, to the point where pre-war customers were calling any juke box Wurlitzer, such as the Seeburg Wurlitzer, or the Rock-Ola Wurlitzer, to denote Seeburg or Rock-Ola juke boxes. By the 1940’s, restrictions on non-essential goods into the UK had taken hold (as they had in many countries after the war) and of course jukeboxes were far from essential, despite their popularity. As a result, whilst some existed, they weren’t freely available, certainly not to the American GI’s, based in the UK. (more…)

An Update

Cabaret Follies at the Queen's Hall Roof, Hylton picture on the right hand side.

Cabaret Follies at the Queen’s Hall Roof, Hylton picture on the right hand side.

Well, I’m off overseas for a week and hoping to have a little spare time in-between imparting my knowledge to the next generation of performers, to make some progress with the Hylton biography.

In fact, there’s already progress as the book, which doesn’t exist yet, has an ISBN number, which, apparently, is a good thing for writing a book. I also have a template, have written the title and written the first chapter heading. Yes, I know it’s like being at school and writing the title of the essay at the top of the page and thinking that it’s enough to have a break. Quite frankly it’s not enough and all the time spent on the book is time not spent arranging music for the concert. (more…)