Harry Parr-Davies

Harry Parr-Davies (24 May 1914 – 14 October 1955) was a Welsh composer and songwriter.

He was born Harry Parr Davies in Briton Ferry, Neath, South Wales and was a musical prodigy, having composed whole operettas by the time he was in his teens. He came to the attention of composer Sir Walford Davies, who encouraged him to study at Oxford. At the age of fourteen he had already composed six songs, and left Wales to expand upon his juvenile success.

In 1931, in an uncharacteristic moment of assertiveness, he talked his way into the dressing room of the singing star Gracie Fields at London's Winter Garden theatre. From 1934, he worked as Fields' accompanist. He wrote songs for Jack Buchanan and Anna Neagle among others. His best-known songs included "Pedro the Fisherman", "Wish Me Luck as You Wave Me Goodbye" and "Sing as We Go".

He provided additional lyrics for Jan Peerce's best-selling recording of "Bluebird of Happiness" (music by Sandor Harmati, words by Edward Heyman).

In 1939 the show Black Velvet included Parr-Davies's song "Crash, Bang, I Want To Go Home". Other wartime shows which featured his work included Big Top, Happidrome (starring Tessie O'Shea), Full Swing, The Knight was Bold and The Lisbon Story. In the course of the war he was seconded from his regiment to join Gracie Fields in ENSA.

In 1944, his musical, Jenny Jones, which had a Welsh setting, was a flop, but it was followed by the successful revue Fine Feathers (1945), Her Excellency (1949) starring Cicely Courtneidge, and Dear Miss Phoebe (1950).

Parr-Davies was at the peak of his success when he died on 14 October 1955 from an internal haemorrhage caused by a perforated ulcer for which, according to his sister, Billie David, he had declined to seek medical attention. He died at his London home in Knightsbridge, but is buried beside his father and mother (whom he predeceased) in Oystermouth Cemetery near Swansea.

Birth and Death Data: Born May 24th, 1914, Died October 14th, 1955

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1939

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer


Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Gramophone 0GF28 10-in. 7/26/1939 Wish me luck Gracie Fields Female vocal solo, with orchestra composer  


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Parr-Davies, Harry," accessed August 3, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108104.

Parr-Davies, Harry. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved August 3, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108104.

"Parr-Davies, Harry." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 3 August 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108104


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