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Will Fyffe

Will Fyffe, CBE (16 February 1885 – 14 December 1947) was a Scottish music hall artist, a star of the 1930s and 1940s, on stage, screen and records.

Fyffe made his debut in his father's stock company at the age of six. He travelled extensively throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK, playing the numerous music halls of the time, where he performed his sketches and sang his songs in his own inimitable style. During the 1930s, he was one of the highest paid musical hall artistes in Britain.

In addition, Fyffe appeared in 23 major films of the era (American and British), sometimes starring, and recorded over 30 songs, delivered with his own unique style.

His singer-songwriter skills are still well-known today, particularly his own composition, "I Belong To Glasgow". This song has been covered by Danny Kaye, Eartha Kitt, Gracie Fields and Kirk Douglas:

"If your money, you spend,
You've nothing to lend,
Isn't that all the better for you"

As a result of this song, Fyffe became forever associated with Glasgow, even though he was born 70 miles (110 km) away in the east coast city of Dundee, where a street bears his surname. Fyffe was also Freemason, who was initiated and then became a full member of Lodge St John, Shotts No 471. Fyffe left some rare footage of his stage act, which gives us a glimpse of stage life in those times. In the footage, he performs the "Broomielaw" sketch and sings his song "Twelve and a Tanner a Bottle". The footage came about as a result of a screen test, shot for Pathe in New York in 1929.

Fyffe died after falling from a window in the Rusacks Hotel in St Andrews in December 1947. The fall has been attributed to dizziness caused by an operation on his ear.

Birth and Death Data: Born February 16th, 1885 (Dundee), Died December 14th, 1947 (St Andrews)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1927

Roles Represented in DAHR: vocalist, lyricist, composer, speaker

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Columbia W144059 10-in. 4/28/1927 I'm 94 to-day Will Fyffe Male vocal solo and talking, with orchestra vocalist, lyricist, composer, speaker  
Columbia W144060 10-in. 4/28/1927 I belong to Glasgow Will Fyffe Male vocal solo and talking, with orchestra vocalist, lyricist, composer  
Columbia W144061 10-in. 4/28/1927 The engineer Will Fyffe Male vocal solo and talking, with orchestra vocalist, lyricist, composer  
Columbia W144062 10-in. 4/28/1927 Sandy's holiday Will Fyffe Male vocal solo and talking, with orchestra vocalist, lyricist, composer  
Columbia W144208 10-in. 5/24/1927 The centenarian Will Fyffe Male vocal solo and talking, with orchestra vocalist, composer, lyricist  
Columbia W144209 10-in. 5/24/1927 The gamekeeper Will Fyffe Male vocal solo and talking, with orchestra vocalist, lyricist, composer  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Fyffe, Will," accessed October 26, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108970.

Fyffe, Will. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 26, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108970.

"Fyffe, Will." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 26 October 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108970

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