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George Formby
The Lancashire Hot-pot Swingers
Manchester Music in the 1930's and 1940's
Manchester, or Lancashire to be precise, produced two of the biggest superstars during the pre-war and wartime period. Both George Formby and Gracie Fields at one point became the highest paid artists in the World finding fame on both sides of the Atlantic and even in Russia with their cheeky Northern movies and songs. Whilst their material maybe strictly of that era, their legend has certainly lived on.
| 1930's & 40's | 1950's | 1960's | 1970's | 1980's | 1990's | 2000's |
 
 
 
 
1910
Gracie Stansfield makes her professional debut as "Gracie Fields" at the Rochdale Hippodrome
 
 
 
 
1921
James Booth, better known as legendary Edwardian Music Hall star George Formby (senior) dies at his home in Stockton Heath, Warrington. His son, George Booth quits his job as a jockey to start his own music hall career using his father's material. He opened at the Earlestown Hippodrome Theatre, near Newton Le Willows, Wigan under the stage name of George Hoy. He later changes it to George Formby, in tribute to his famous father.
 
 
 
 
1926
A young George Formby George Formby
John Willie, Come On listen to soundbites
George Formby makes his recorded debut with the '78 singles 'John Willie, Come On', (written by his later father), 'I Parted My Hair In the Middle' and 'The Man Was a Stranger To Me'
 
 
 
 
1931
Gracie Fields Gracie Fields
Sally In Our Alley listen to soundbites
Gracie Fields makes her cinema debut in the box office smash, 'Sally in Our Alley', which produces her signature song 'Sally'. She plays Sally Winch, a young Lancashire lass working as a waitress who believes her boyfriend died in the Great War. The film gives her Superstar status, making her the most popular entertainer in Britain, and later the highest paid movie star in the world
 
 
 
 
1932
George Formby has his first success with the Jack Hylton Band on the '78 'The Old Kitchen Kettle'
Gracie Fields appears in the film 'Looking on the Bright Side'
The British intelligence service, MI5, open a file and start to watch the Manchester home of Communist Party member Jimmie Miller. In April 1932, he helps organise the mass trespass of Kinder Scout in The Peak District, a massive protest at English laws denying ramblers access to open countryside. He writes the song 'The Manchester Rambler' which becomes the official song of the Ramblers Federation.
 
 
 
 
1933
Gracie Fields appears in the films 'This Week of Grace' and 'Love, Life and Laughter'
 
 
 
 
1934
Gracie Fields Gracie Fields
Sing As We Go listen to soundbites
Gracie Fields appears in what many appear to be her greatest film. She plays a mill girl who relocates to Blackpool. By now she had already sold over 4 million records and the title track 'Sing As We Go' is later given the Monty Python treatment in their comedy parody 'Sit On My Face'
George Formby George Formby
Boots! Boots!
George Formby makes his film debut in John E Blackley's Mancunian Films production of 'Boots! Boots!'. He stars alongside his wife Beryl as his father's famous old character, John Willie.
 
 
 
 
1935
Gracie Fields appears in the film 'Look Up and Laugh'
George Formby appears in the Mancunian Films classic, 'Off The Dole', again as his father's old character, John Willie. Later on in the year he stars in his first big hit and what many consider to be his greatest film, 'No Limit'
 
 
 
 
1936
Gracie Fields appears in the film 'Queen of Hearts'
George Formby George Formby
Keep Your Seats Please listen to soundbites
George Formby appears in the film, 'Keep Your Seats Please' which produces his biggest ever hit, 'When I'm Cleaning Windows', selling over a million copies
 
 
 
 
1937
George Formby appears in the film, 'Keep Fit'
Gracie Fields appears in the film 'The Show Goes On'
George Formby George Formby
Feather Your Nest listen to soundbites
George Formby appears in the film, 'Feather Your Nest', in which he famously sings 'Leaning On A Lampost', which sells over 150,000 copies within a month of its release
 
 
 
 
1938
Gracie Fields appears in the films 'We're Going to Be Rich' and 'Keep Smiling'. She is also honoured with a CBE for services to Entertainment
George Formby appears in the film, 'I See Ice' and later in the wartime movie, 'It's In The Air'
 
 
 
 
1939 
World War II breaks out
Gracie Fields appears in the film 'Shipyard Sally'. She later overcomes cancer of the cervix in the same year.
George Formby appears in the films, 'Trouble Brewing', 'Come On George' and wartime flick 'Spare A Copper', which produces the song 'I'm The Ukulele Man' listen to soundbites
 
 
 
 
1940 
Jimmie Miller enlists in the British Army in July 1940, only to dessert in December 1940
Gracie Fields, by now living in America with an Italian husband is criticised by the British media and labelled a traitor (Italy had entered the war on Hitler's side). Churchill publicly defends her and she later returns on two occassions to play concerts in factories and canteens, raising over $500,000 for the British War effort.
George Formby appears in the Wartime movie, 'Let George Do It' in which he has a dream, punching Hitler on the nose and calling him a "windbag". It's regarded by many as his greatest movie and features the song 'Mr Wu's A Window Cleaner Now' and 'Grandad's Flannelette Nightshirt' listen to soundbites 
 
 
 
 
1941 
George Formby appears in the films, 'Turned Out Nice Again' and 'South American George'
 
 
 
 
1942
George Formby appears in the film, 'Much Too Shy'
 
 
 
 
1943 
Gracie Fields appears in the film 'Stage Door Canteen' and 'Holy Matrimony'
George Formby appears in the wartime films, 'Get Cracking' and 'Bell-Bottom George'
 
 
 
 
1944
George Formby appears in the film, 'He Snoops To Conquer'
 
 
 
 
1945
Gracie Fields appears in the film 'Molly and Me' and 'Paris Underground'
George Formby appears in the film, 'I Didn't Do It'
World War II ends
 
 
 
 
1946
George Formby appears in the film, 'George In Civvy Street' and receives the OBE for services to Entertainment
Jimmie Miller re-appears, changing his name to Ewan MacColl. He is surprisingly not charged for dessertion
 
 
 
 
1949
On 26th August, Phil Lynott is born in West Bromwich, the son of a young white Irish girl and a black Brazilian sailor. 3 weeks after his birth, his father leaves. Facing the prospect of being a single mother, raising a black baby in 1950's Catholic Ireland, his mother relocates to Moss Side, Manchester
 
 
 
 
| 1930's & 40's | 50's | 60's | 70's | 80's | 90's | 2000's |
 
 
 
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