Al Bowlly - Britain's First Pop Star

Clare Teale presents a series profiling 30s singer Al Bowlly, the first to step out from behind the band and into the spotlight.

With anecdotes about his fascinating life, and playing some of his huge catalogue of songs, the series recreates the dance band era.

Bowlly was the voice of the Thirties.

His iconic recordings of Pennies from Heaven, The Very Thought of You and Goodnight Sweetheart reflected the dreams, aspirations and style of the decade leading up to the Second World War.

After his death during the London Blitz of 1941, his name could have easily slipped into obscurity.

But instead, Al's stylish singing and early death have inspired many other musicians, film-makers and writers, including Stanley Kubrick, Ray Davies, Bryan Ferry, Richard E Grant and Richard Thompson.

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012007122820100312

Clare Teale presents a series profiling 30s singer Al Bowlly, the first to step out from behind the band and into the spotlight.

With anecdotes about his fascinating life, and playing some of his huge catalogue of songs, the series recreates the dance band era.

Bowlly was the voice of the Thirties.

His iconic recordings of Pennies from Heaven, The Very Thought of You and Goodnight Sweetheart reflected the dreams, aspirations and style of the decade leading up to the Second World War.

After his death during the London Blitz of 1941, his name could have easily slipped into obscurity.

But instead, Al's stylish singing and early death have inspired many other musicians, film-makers and writers, including Stanley Kubrick, Ray Davies, Bryan Ferry, Richard E Grant and Richard Thompson.How Al came to Britain and became a recording artist.

Another chance to hear acclaimed jazz singer and Al Bowlly fan, Clare Teal, tell the story of the 1930s singing star.

With popular songs like Love Is The Sweetest Thing and The Very Thought Of You, Al was the first singer to eclipse the popularity of the danceband leaders by emerging from the outskirts of the orchestra to take centre stage.

With film star good looks and a guitar slung over his shoulder he was Britain's first pop star.

His recording career lasted just 14 years but he recorded over 1000 songs that voiced the dreams, aspirations and style of the inter-war years.

The first episode of a four-part series reveals how the Africa-born Al Bowlly travelled across half the world to make his name in London.

Often on the breadline and broke, a chance meeting gives Al his lucky break.

The series features contributions from the likes of playboy Hugh Hefner, Denis Norden, Roy Hudd and archive interviews with dance band stars of the 30s like Ray Noble, Roy Fox, Nat Gonella, Monia Liter and Tiny Winters.

Another chance to hear Clare Teal tell the story of the 1930s singing star.

022008010420100319

Another chance to hear Clare Teal reveal the story behind Britain's first pop star.

The second episode looks at how Al Bowlly made the transition from a theatre queue busker to Britain's favourite vocalist.

With contributions from the likes of Hugh Hefner, Denis Norden, the late actor Ian Carmichael, Roy Hudd and archive interviews with dance band stars of the 30s like Ray Noble, Nat Gonella, Monia Liter and Tiny Winters.

A look at Al and the dance band leaders.

03*2008011120100326

Clare Teal profiles 1930s singer Al Bowlly, first to step out from behind the band and into the spotlight.

Al the solo singer and a move to the US.

Clare Teal on 1930s singer Al Bowlly's move to the US.

Al the solo singer and a move to America.

04 LAST2008011820100402

Clare Teal presents a series profiling 1930s singer Al Bowlly, the first to step out from behind the band and into the spotlight.

With anecdotes about his fascinating life, and playing some of his huge catalogue of songs, the series recreates the dance band era.

Bowlly was the voice of the Thirties.

His iconic recordings of Pennies from Heaven, The Very Thought of You and Goodnight Sweetheart reflected the dreams, aspirations and style of the decade leading up to the Second World War.

After his death during the London Blitz of 1941, his name could have easily slipped into obscurity.

But instead, Al's stylish singing and early death have inspired many other musicians, film-makers and writers, including Stanley Kubrick, Ray Davies, Bryan Ferry, Richard E Grant and Richard Thompson.

Clare Teal presents a series profiling 1930s singer Al Bowlly.

Clare Teal presents the last programme in the series profiling 1930s singer Al Bowlly.