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Billy Cotton

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Billy Cotton was the great-great-uncle of TV and radio presenter Fearne Cotton.

Cotton married Mabel E. Gregory in 1921. They had two sons, Ted and Sir Bill Cotton, who later turned the BBC’s managing director of tv. In 1962, Billy Cotton suffered a stroke. He died in 1969 whereas watching a boxing match at Wembley Arena.

As a racing driver, he raced at Brooklands between the wars however his most interesting second got here in 1949 when he completed eighth within the 1949 British Grand Prix, sharing an English Racing Automobiles with David Hampshire.

During the Second World War Cotton and his band toured France with the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA). After the warfare, he began his profitable Sunday lunchtime radio present on BBC, the Billy Cotton Band Show, which ran from 1949 to 1968. In the Fifties, composer Lionel Bart contributed comedy songs to the present. It commonly opened with the band’s signature tune and Cotton’s name of “Wakey Wakey”. From 1957, it was additionally broadcast on BBC tv. Cotton typically additionally offered vocals on lots of his band’s recordings, along with work as a vocalist on recordings that did not characteristic his band.

At first a standard dance band, the London Savannah Band regularly tended in the direction of music corridor/vaudeville leisure, introducing visible and verbal humour in between songs. Famous musicians who performed in Billy Cotton’s band through the Twenties and Thirties included Arthur Rosebery, Syd Lipton and Nat Gonella. The band was additionally famous for his or her African American trombonist and faucet dancer, Ellis Jackson. Their signature tune was “Somebody Stole My Gal”, and so they made quite a few industrial recordings for Decca.

Born in Smith Square, London, to Joseph and Susan Cotton, Cotton was a choirboy and began his musical profession as a drummer. He enlisted within the Royal Fusiliers by falsifying his age and noticed service within the First World War in Malta and Egypt earlier than touchdown at Gallipoli in the course of an artillery barrage. He was beneficial for a fee and realized to fly Bristol Fighter plane. Not but 19 years previous, he flew solo for the primary time in 1918, on the day the Royal Flying Corps turned the Royal Air Force. After the top of the warfare, within the early Twenties, he labored at a number of jobs, together with as a bus driver, earlier than organising his personal orchestra, the London Savannah Band, in 1924.

William Edward Cotton (6 May 1899 – 25 March 1969) as Billy Cotton was an English band chief and entertainer, one of many few whose orchestras survived the British dance band period. Cotton is now primarily remembered as a Fifties and Sixties radio and tv character, however his musical profession had begun within the Twenties. In his youthful years Billy Cotton was additionally an novice footballer for Brentford (and later, for the then Athenian league membership Wimbledon), an achieved racing driver and the proprietor of a Gipsy Moth, which he piloted himself. His autobiography, I Did It My Way, was printed in 1970, a 12 months after his dying.

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