Filed under: Al Bowlly cantor nascido em LM — ABM @ 16:48

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Al Bowlly nasceu em Lourenço Marques em 7 de Janeiro de 1898 de pais de origem grega, creio. Daí seguiu para a então União Sul- Africana e para Londres e a América dos Anos 30. Morreu durante o bombardeamento nazi da capital britânica, vítima de uma bomba-páraquedas que lhe caiu em cima . Nesta imagem, canta perante um microfone da norte-americana National Broadcasting Company. Neste blog há um esboço biográfico seu mais completo, para ver basta premir no nome dele em cima na indexação. Seguem algumas das cantigas que interpretou.




Filed under: Al Bowlly cantor nascido em LM — ABM @ 14:21

Antes de Bing Crosby, antes de Sinatra, houve Al Bowlly, que foi pioneiro na gravação de músicas clássicas da era das Big Bands e Jazz e na interpretação sob o seu próprio nome, numa altura em que, à excepção de Al Jolson,  os cantores ainda eram meros apêndices das orquestras. Nasceu por acaso na pequena Lourenço Marques em 7 de Janeiro de 1898, filho de pais gregos e libaneses e passou os primeiros anos da sua vida em Joanesburgo. Morreu em Londres durante o grande blitz alemão, em Abril de 1941, vítima duma bomba alemã, quando regressava a casa de um concerto. Teve uma carreira brilhante e atribulada entre 1927 e 1941.


Al Bowlly, anos 1930.

O site Alchetron, que descreve a sua vida, refere o seguinte:

Al Bowlly (7 January 1898-17 April 1941) was a Mozambican-born South African/British singer, songwriter, composer and band leader, who became a popular jazz crooner during the British dance band era of the 1930s and later worked in the United States. He recorded more than 1,000 records between 1927 and 1941. Bowlly was born in Lourenço Marques, in the then Portuguese colony of Mozambique, to Greek and Lebanese parents who met en route to Australia and moved to South Africa. Bowlly was brought up in Johannesburg. After a series of odd jobs across South Africa in his youth, including being a barber and a jockey, he gained his musical experience singing for a dance band led by Edgar Adeler on a tour of South Africa, Rhodesia, India and Indonesia during the mid-1920s. However, he fell out with Adeler and was fired from the band in Surabaya, Indonesia. After a spell with a Filipino band in Surabaya he was then employed by Jimmy Liquime in India. Bowlly worked his passage back home by busking[cantar nas ruas em troca de moedas].

Just one year after his 1927 debut recording date in Berlin, Germany, where he recorded Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies” with Edgar Adeler, Bowlly arrived in London for the first time as part of Fred Elizalde’s orchestra, although he nearly didn’t make it after foolishly frittering away the fare money sent to him by Elizalde.

That year, “If I Had You” became one of the first popular songs by an English jazz band to become well known in America as well, and Bowlly had gone out on his own by the beginning of the 1930s. First, however, the onset of the Great Depression in 1929 resulted in Bowlly being made redundant and returning to several months of busking to survive. In the 1930s, he signed two contracts—one in May 1931 with Roy Fox, singing in his live band for the Monseigneur Restaurant in London, the other a record contract with Ray Noble’s orchestra in November 1930.

During the next four years, he recorded over 500 songs. By 1933 Lew Stone had ousted Fox as bandleader, and Bowlly was singing Stone’s arrangements with Stone’s band. After much radio exposure and a successful British tour with Stone, Bowlly was inundated with demands for personal appearances and gigs—including undertaking a subsequent solo British tour—but continued to make the bulk of his recordings with Noble. There was considerable competition between Noble and Stone for Bowlly’s time as, for much of the year, Bowlly would spend all day in the recording studio with Noble’s band, rehearsing and recording, only then to spend the evening playing live at the Monseigneur with Stone’s band. (Many of these Noble sides were issued in the United States by Victor, which meant that by the time Noble and Bowlly came to America, their reputation had preceded them.)


A visit to New York City in 1934 with Noble resulted in more success, and their recordings first achieved popularity in the United States; he appeared at the head of an orchestra hand-picked for him and Noble by Glenn Miller (the band included Claude Thornhill, Charlie Spivak and Bud Freeman, among others).

During the mid-1930s, such songs as “Blue Moon”, “Easy to Love”, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “My Melancholy Baby” were sizable American successes—so much so that Bowlly gained his own radio series on NBC and traveled to Hollywood in 1936 to meet Bing Crosby, one of his biggest competitors.

He had appeared with his own band, the Radio City Rhythm Makers, but they had split by late 1937 when his vocal problems were traced to a wart in his throat, which briefly caused him to lose his voice. With him and Marjie separated and his band dissolved, that year he was once again down on his luck. He was forced to borrow money from friends for a trip to New York for the surgery of which he was so in need. In 1938, he finally returned to the United States to undergo successful major throat surgery for the removal of his vocal wart, but still had difficulties later in his career.

Later career

His absence from the UK in the early 1930s damaged his popularity with British audiences, despite his association with the gifted pianist, Monia Liter, as his accompanist. His career began to suffer as a result of problems with his voice from around 1936, which affected the frequency of his recordings. He played a few small parts in films around this time, yet never professed to be an actor. The parts he did play were often cut, and scenes that were shown were brief. Noble was offered a role in Hollywood although the offer did not, unfortunately, include Bowlly, as a singer had already been instated. Bowlly moved back to London with his wife Marjie in January 1937.

With his diminished success in Britain, he toured regional theatres and recorded as often as possible to make a living, moving from orchestra to orchestra, including those of Sydney Lipton, Geraldo and Ken Johnson. He underwent a revival from 1940, as part of a double act with Jimmy Messene (whose career had also suffered a recent downturn), with an act called Radio Stars with Two Guitars, performing on the London stage. It was his last venture before his death in April 1941.

The partnership was an uneasy one, as Messene suffered from a serious drinking problem by this stage, and was known to turn up incapable on stage, or to not turn up at all, much to Bowlly’s consternation. His last recorded song, made two weeks before his death, was a duet with Messene of Irving Berlin’s satirical song on Hitler, “When That Man is Dead and Gone”.

Personal life and death

In December 1931, Bowlly married Constance Freda Roberts in St Martin’s District, London, but Bowlly discovered his new wife in bed with another man on their wedding night. The couple separated after a fortnight, and sought a rapid divorce. He remarried in December 1934, this time to Marjie Fairless, the marriage lasting until his death (Freda remarried in 1965, dying in Richmond-upon-Thames in 1967).

On 16 April 1941, Bowlly and Messene had just given a performance at the Rex Cinema in Oxford Street, High Wycombe, now demolished. Both were offered the opportunity of an overnight stay in the town, but Bowlly opted to take the last train home to his flat at 32 Duke Street, Duke’s Court, St James, London. His decision proved to be fatal, as he was killed by a Luftwaffe parachute mine that detonated outside his flat at ten past three in the morning. His body appeared unmarked: although the massive explosion had not disfigured him, it had blown his bedroom door off its hinges and the impact against his head proved fatal. He was buried with other bombing victims in a mass grave at what is today known as Hanwell Cemetery, Uxbridge Road, Hanwell, where his name is given as Albert Alex Bowlly.


Al Bowlly is sometimes credited with inventing crooning, or “The Modern Singing Style”, releasing a book of the same name. Bowlly experimented with new methods of amplification, not least with his Melody Maker advert, showing him endorsing a portable vocal megaphone. With the advent of the microphone in 1931, Al adapted his singing style, moving away from the Jazz singing style of the 20s, into the softer, more expressive crooning singing style used in popular music of the 1930s and 1940s. It was Bowlly’s technique, sincerity, diction and his personality that distinguish him from many other singers of the 1930s era.

Al is also credited with being the first “pop star”. Prior to the advent of Bowlly, the bandleaders were the stars and the main attractions, with the records being sold as “Ray Noble and his orchestra (with vocal refrain)”, a phenomenon that can be seen on 78s of the period. Most singers were all but anonymous; however, Al’s popularity changed this, with him being the first singer to be given a solo spot on BBC radio due to popular demand, and records appearing featuring his own name. Bowlly’s personality, good looks, charisma, and above all his voice, earned him the nickname “The Big Swoon”, with Al finding himself being mobbed by female fans for autographs and photos after his performances.

As well as singing, Bowlly played both the guitar and the ukulele, with Joyce Stone, Lew Stone’s wife, saying: “You only had to play anything once to Al and he’d got it.” Bowlly remains one of the most highly regarded singers of his era because of his extraordinary range, his command of pitch and rhythm, and, above all, the sincerity with which he could deliver a lyric. Ray Noble is often quoted as saying that Al often stepped away from the microphone with tears in his eyes; “never mind him making you cry, he could make himself cry!”

A Blue Plaque commemorating Bowlly was installed by English Heritage at Charing Cross Mansion, 26 Charing Cross Road, described as “his home at the pinnacle of his career”, in November 2013.

Director Stanley Kubrick used Al Bowlly’s music for the famous iconic American horror film: The Shining. It was used in reference to World War Two, which was Al Bowlly’s main age and cause of death. Kubrick’s The Shining partially got such successful ratings because of the atmosphere that Al Bowlly’s music contained.

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