The Bands That Mattered

Brian Matthew celebrates the golden age of British dance bands, when some of the biggest and most glamorous stars on the pop scene were bandleaders.

Four of the best - Bert Ambrose, Roy Fox, Jack Hylton and Lew Stone - were dubbed the bands that mattered" and over the next five weeks Brian tells their stories.

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More Bands That Mattered, Carroll Gibbons and Ray Noble

More Bands That Mattered, Carroll Gibbons and Ray Noble

More Bands That Mattered, Carroll Gibbons And Ray Noble20110308

Brian Matthew continues to celebrate the golden age of British dance bands, throwing the spotlight on bandleaders Carroll Gibbons and Ray Noble.

Carroll Gibbons was an American who came to Britain in the 20s and made his life in Britain as leader of London's Savoy Hotel Orpheans.

Ray Noble, on the other hand, was a talented British bandleader and composer who, after success in the British recording studios, crossed the Atlantic.

Here, he forged a new career in New York and Hollywood, on radio with George Burns and on film with Fred Astaire.

Both men were elegant sophisticates, both led HMV's New Mayfair Dance Orchestra, and both composed successfully.

Brian Matthew tells their sometimes intertwined stories with the help of music; the archive words of Noble and others; and observations from Michael Law, the leader of today's Piccadilly Dance Orchestra which continues to keep the music of Gibbons and Noble alive.

Brian Matthew celebrates the bandleaders Carroll Gibbons and Ray Noble.

More Bands That Mattered, Carroll Gibbons And Ray Noble20110308

Brian Matthew continues to celebrate the golden age of British dance bands, throwing the spotlight on bandleaders Carroll Gibbons and Ray Noble.

Carroll Gibbons was an American who came to Britain in the 20s and made his life in Britain as leader of London's Savoy Hotel Orpheans.

Ray Noble, on the other hand, was a talented British bandleader and composer who, after success in the British recording studios, crossed the Atlantic.

Here, he forged a new career in New York and Hollywood, on radio with George Burns and on film with Fred Astaire.

Both men were elegant sophisticates, both led HMV's New Mayfair Dance Orchestra, and both composed successfully.

Brian Matthew tells their sometimes intertwined stories with the help of music; the archive words of Noble and others; and observations from Michael Law, the leader of today's Piccadilly Dance Orchestra which continues to keep the music of Gibbons and Noble alive.

Brian Matthew celebrates the bandleaders Carroll Gibbons and Ray Noble.

More Bands That Mattered, Jack Payne and Henry Hall

More Bands That Mattered, Jack Payne and Henry Hall

More Bands That Mattered, Jack Payne And Henry Hall20110301

Following last year's celebration of the golden age of British dance bands, Brian Matthew charts the rise and fall of the BBC Dance Orchestra and profiles two very different leaders - Jack Payne and Henry Hall.

In Britain, the shifting of dance music from the ballroom to the radio studio began with the institution of the BBC Dance Orchestra, playing under the leadership of Jack Payne from 1928, and then, Henry Hall.

Brian looks at the bandleaders, their particular attributes and foibles, and their musical achievements.

This programme draws on archive recordings; the written memoirs of Payne, Hall and Sir John Reith; the newspaper pundits of the day; and the thoughts of current BBC Big Band maestro, Barry Forgie.

We hear how the two leaders' styles differed and listen-in to a live music broadcast - complete with acrobatics! Henry Hall's famous microphone technique is examined, as he introduces Johnny Mercer to the British public; and we find out how he learnt from Sir John Reith that the band was no longer wanted.

The singer and Coronation Street actress Betty Driver also shares memories of touring with Henry's post-BBC orchestra.

Brian Matthew charts the rise and fall of the BBC Dance Orchestra and its two leaders.

More Bands That Mattered, Jack Payne And Henry Hall20110301

Following last year's celebration of the golden age of British dance bands, Brian Matthew charts the rise and fall of the BBC Dance Orchestra and profiles two very different leaders - Jack Payne and Henry Hall.

In Britain, the shifting of dance music from the ballroom to the radio studio began with the institution of the BBC Dance Orchestra, playing under the leadership of Jack Payne from 1928, and then, Henry Hall.

Brian looks at the bandleaders, their particular attributes and foibles, and their musical achievements.

This programme draws on archive recordings; the written memoirs of Payne, Hall and Sir John Reith; the newspaper pundits of the day; and the thoughts of current BBC Big Band maestro, Barry Forgie.

We hear how the two leaders' styles differed and listen-in to a live music broadcast - complete with acrobatics! Henry Hall's famous microphone technique is examined, as he introduces Johnny Mercer to the British public; and we find out how he learnt from Sir John Reith that the band was no longer wanted.

The singer and Coronation Street actress Betty Driver also shares memories of touring with Henry's post-BBC orchestra.

Brian Matthew charts the rise and fall of the BBC Dance Orchestra and its two leaders.

01Bert Ambrose20091120

Brian Matthew celebrates the golden age of British dance bands, when some of the biggest and most glamorous stars on the pop scene were bandleaders.

Four of the best - Bert Ambrose, Roy Fox, Jack Hylton and Lew Stone - were dubbed the bands that mattered" and over the next five weeks Brian tells their stories.

He begins with Bert Ambrose, who held sway at The Embassy Club and The Mayfair Hotel, was the favourite of royalty and employed, among others, Ted Heath, Anne Shelton, Stanley Black and Vera Lynn.

With the help of many interviews from the BBC archives and historic recordings of his various bands, Brian reveals how Benjamin Baruch, the son of a Jewish wool merchant, became Ambrose - leader of the West End's foremost dance orchestra and one of the most glamorous figures of his day.

Writer Tony Staveacre has scoured the BBC's sound archive and interviewed many musicians and friends to assemble this vivid portrait of an era Robert Graves called "The Long Garden Party".

The series includes contributions from Ambrose and Roy Fox; band members; experts like Russell Davies, as well as Brian Matthew himself, who personally knew many of the figures in this remarkable story.

We also hear the music created by these men and the "bands that mattered".

Music to which a whole generation danced in the great houses and palaces, prestigious hotels, swanky night-clubs, ballrooms and - by listening live nightly on the BBC - in private homes."

01Bert Ambrose20091120

Brian Matthew celebrates the golden age of British dance bands, when some of the biggest and most glamorous stars on the pop scene were bandleaders.

Four of the best - Bert Ambrose, Roy Fox, Jack Hylton and Lew Stone - were dubbed the bands that mattered" and over the next five weeks Brian tells their stories.

He begins with Bert Ambrose, who held sway at The Embassy Club and The Mayfair Hotel, was the favourite of royalty and employed, among others, Ted Heath, Anne Shelton, Stanley Black and Vera Lynn.

With the help of many interviews from the BBC archives and historic recordings of his various bands, Brian reveals how Benjamin Baruch, the son of a Jewish wool merchant, became Ambrose - leader of the West End's foremost dance orchestra and one of the most glamorous figures of his day.

Writer Tony Staveacre has scoured the BBC's sound archive and interviewed many musicians and friends to assemble this vivid portrait of an era Robert Graves called "The Long Garden Party".

The series includes contributions from Ambrose and Roy Fox; band members; experts like Russell Davies, as well as Brian Matthew himself, who personally knew many of the figures in this remarkable story.

We also hear the music created by these men and the "bands that mattered".

Music to which a whole generation danced in the great houses and palaces, prestigious hotels, swanky night-clubs, ballrooms and - by listening live nightly on the BBC - in private homes."

02Roy Fox *20091127

This week's bandleader in the spotlight is the Californian emigre Roy Fox who came to Britain in 1930 as The Whispering Cornettist" and put together one of the sharpest bands on the scene.

With a dapper manner and a past that included affairs with the likes of Jean Harlow, Fox brought to the role of bandleader a sophisticated elegance unmatched by any others.

Writer Tony Staveacre has scoured the BBC's sound archive and interviewed many musicians and friends to assemble this vivid portrait of an era Robert Graves called "The Long Garden Party".

The series includes contributions from Ambrose and Roy Fox; band members; experts like Russell Davies, as well as Brian Matthew himself, who personally knew many of the figures in this remarkable story.

We also hear the music created by these men and the "bands that mattered".

Music to which a whole generation danced in the great houses and palaces, prestigious hotels, swanky night-clubs, ballrooms and - by listening live nightly on the BBC - in private homes."

02Roy Fox *20091127

This week's bandleader in the spotlight is the Californian emigre Roy Fox who came to Britain in 1930 as The Whispering Cornettist" and put together one of the sharpest bands on the scene.

With a dapper manner and a past that included affairs with the likes of Jean Harlow, Fox brought to the role of bandleader a sophisticated elegance unmatched by any others.

Writer Tony Staveacre has scoured the BBC's sound archive and interviewed many musicians and friends to assemble this vivid portrait of an era Robert Graves called "The Long Garden Party".

The series includes contributions from Ambrose and Roy Fox; band members; experts like Russell Davies, as well as Brian Matthew himself, who personally knew many of the figures in this remarkable story.

We also hear the music created by these men and the "bands that mattered".

Music to which a whole generation danced in the great houses and palaces, prestigious hotels, swanky night-clubs, ballrooms and - by listening live nightly on the BBC - in private homes."

03Jack Hylton *20091204

Third in our series comes the great Jack Hylton, who started out as a humble clog dancer in Lancashire and ended up as one of the West End's most powerful impresarios.

On the way he led the finest show band in the country, one that toured Europe throughout the 30s and carried an unrivalled roster of talent and entertainment with it.

Writer Tony Staveacre has scoured the BBC's sound archive and interviewed many musicians and friends to assemble this vivid portrait of an era Robert Graves called The Long Garden Party".

The series includes contributions from Ambrose and Roy Fox; band members; experts like Russell Davies, as well as Brian Matthew himself, who personally knew many of the figures in this remarkable story.

We also hear the music created by these men and the "bands that mattered".

Music to which a whole generation danced in the great houses and palaces, prestigious hotels, swanky night-clubs, ballrooms and - by listening live nightly on the BBC - in private homes."

03Jack Hylton *20091204

Third in our series comes the great Jack Hylton, who started out as a humble clog dancer in Lancashire and ended up as one of the West End's most powerful impresarios.

On the way he led the finest show band in the country, one that toured Europe throughout the 30s and carried an unrivalled roster of talent and entertainment with it.

Writer Tony Staveacre has scoured the BBC's sound archive and interviewed many musicians and friends to assemble this vivid portrait of an era Robert Graves called The Long Garden Party".

The series includes contributions from Ambrose and Roy Fox; band members; experts like Russell Davies, as well as Brian Matthew himself, who personally knew many of the figures in this remarkable story.

We also hear the music created by these men and the "bands that mattered".

Music to which a whole generation danced in the great houses and palaces, prestigious hotels, swanky night-clubs, ballrooms and - by listening live nightly on the BBC - in private homes."

04Lew Stone - 120091211

The fourth and final subject of this series is Lew Stone, who's rated today as the very best of the 1930s bandleaders.

He took charge of a band at The Monseigneur Restaurant in Piccadilly by accident, when the American trumpeter/leader Roy Fox fell ill and Lew stepped up from the piano stool to take his place.

He went on to set the style for one of the most successful broadcast and recording dance bands of the pre-war years, when the congenial atmosphere and unique swirl of talent that centred on the West End spread out to ballrooms and theatres nationwide.

Brian Matthew tells the first part of the Lew Stone Story, in which his widow Joyce (now 97) recalls the glorious musical atmosphere of the 1930s.

04Lew Stone - 120091211

The fourth and final subject of this series is Lew Stone, who's rated today as the very best of the 1930s bandleaders.

He took charge of a band at The Monseigneur Restaurant in Piccadilly by accident, when the American trumpeter/leader Roy Fox fell ill and Lew stepped up from the piano stool to take his place.

He went on to set the style for one of the most successful broadcast and recording dance bands of the pre-war years, when the congenial atmosphere and unique swirl of talent that centred on the West End spread out to ballrooms and theatres nationwide.

Brian Matthew tells the first part of the Lew Stone Story, in which his widow Joyce (now 97) recalls the glorious musical atmosphere of the 1930s.

05 LASTLew Stone - 2 *20091218

In the last programme of this series celebrating the Great British Dance Bands, Brian Matthew recounts the final chapters of the Lew Stone story and marks the end of an era in British popular music.

The concluding episode reveals how a modest maestro became a musical survivor by adapting to the huge sea-changes in British popular music after the World War.

It features contributions from the composer Gordon Langford; singer Helen Mack, who recalls the wartime concerts and broadcasts that kept the nation dancing in a time of peril; and Lew Stone's widow Joyce adds her own vivid reminiscences of a Golden Age of dance music.

05 LASTLew Stone - 2 *20091218

In the last programme of this series celebrating the Great British Dance Bands, Brian Matthew recounts the final chapters of the Lew Stone story and marks the end of an era in British popular music.

The concluding episode reveals how a modest maestro became a musical survivor by adapting to the huge sea-changes in British popular music after the World War.

It features contributions from the composer Gordon Langford; singer Helen Mack, who recalls the wartime concerts and broadcasts that kept the nation dancing in a time of peril; and Lew Stone's widow Joyce adds her own vivid reminiscences of a Golden Age of dance music.