zondag 9 juli 2017
Champagne Charlie (1866) / Champagne Charley (1917) / Champagne Charlie Is My Name (1932)
"Champagne Charlie" is a music hall song composed in 1866 by Alfred Lee with lyrics by George Leybourne (real name Joseph Saunders).
Leybourne popularised the song which premièred in August 1866 at the Princess' Concert Hall in Leeds. For the act, he caused some controversy when he appeared in a cut down top hat, similar to a style worn by the murderer Franz Muller. It was one of Leybourne's most famous songs and he would later be nicknamed Champagne Charlie.
Joe Saunders (1842-84) was a Birmingham factory worker who, under his stage name George Leybourne, lauded the delights of champagne for a tidy sum. In the book Folksong & Music Hall, author Edward Lee says the song "Champagne Charlie" which Leybourne introduced in 1866 was sponsored by the champagne firms, was an instant success and boosted his income from 25 pounds to 120 pounds a week, an enormous sum for a working man in those days. On stage, Leybourne created the character of Champagne Charlie, and "His act was popular largely because of its appeal to the mixture of mockery and admiration which audiences of the time felt towards the type of rich man with a private income, who lived and dressed flashily, and spent his time wandering from one London entertainment to another." Leybourne's life mirrored his act; "he lived furiously, drank heavily, and died early". The music for "Champagne Charlie" was composed by Alfred Lee, and the words were written by Leybourne himself.
The sheet music was also published in the United States - by S.T. Gordon of New York, and at San Francisco by Gray's Music Store, whose copy credits it "As sung with great success by Miss Ada Webb".
But already in 1767 "Champage Charlie" was the nickname of Charles Townshend.
Charles_Townshend (1725-1767) was the British Chancellor of the Exchequer in the mid-1769s responsible for the Customs duties on tea, glass, lead, paper, paper, alcohol, and painter’s colors that became known as “Townshend duties.” Many modern histories say he was nicknamed "Champagne Charley" or "Charlie", but that phrase arose nearly a century after his death. Townshend did like champagne. His taste became notorious after he delivered a striking speech ("the champagne speech") in the House of Commons on 8 May 1767.
The first recording of the song I could find was part of a medley.
(o) Victor Mixed Chorus (1916) (in the medley "Songs of the past, no. 19")
Recorded June 28, 1916
Released on Victor 35585
(c) Robert Sterling (=Halfdan Meyer) (1917) (as "Champagne Charley")
Sung in the Norwegian language.
Recorded October 18, 1917 in New York
Released on Victor 72259
Robert Sterling was a nick-name for the Norwegian artist Halfdan Meyer.
(c) Jay Wilbur and his Band (1931) (as part of the "Old Timers Medley part 1")
Recorded October 1, 1931 in London
Released on Imperial 2569
(c) Jack Leon's Band (1931) (as part of the "Old Timers-Selection part 2")
Recorded December 1931 in London
Released on Piccadilly 889
(c) Blind Blake (1932) (as "Champagne Charlie Is My Name")
Recorded June 1932 in Grafton, WI
Released on Paramount 13137
A contemporary play called Champagne Charlie was written about Leybourne, and in 1944 this was made into a film featuring Tommy Trinder and Stanley Holloway, with Trinder in the title role.
Here´s the complete movie ("Champagne Charlie" starts at 35 min and 19 sec)
(c) Tommy Trinder (1944) (as "Champagne Charlie")
Recorded August 1944 from the soundtrack of the Ealing Studios film "Champagne Charlie".
(c) Leon Redbone (1978)
On the album "Champagne Charlie".
By the time Redbone recorded the song, it was in the public domain.