Bandleader, Musical Artist
1898 – 1941
Who was Al Bowlly?
Albert Allick Bowlly was an East African 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. His most popular songs include "Midnight, the Stars and You", "Goodnight, Sweetheart", "The Very Thought of You", "Guilty", and "Love Is the Sweetest Thing".
Born in Lourenço Marques in the then-Portuguese colony of Mozambique, Bowlly 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. He was then employed by Jimmy Liquime to perform in India, Calcutta, Singapore and the Raffles Hotel. In 1928, he arrived in the United Kingdom and briefly worked with Percival Mackey's band before being made redundant due to the 1930s depression. In 1930, he was spotted and signed to accompany both Roy Fox's and Ray Noble's orchestras that November. The signing with Noble led a to a successful association between the two which resulted in over 500 records being produced over a four-year period.
In 1933, Bowlly began to collaborate with Lew Stone and had further success producing some of the most popular jazz records of the 1930s. A year later, Bowlly travelled abroad to New York which resulted in further success, and an introduction into the American charts. During the mid-1930s, Bowlly recorded "Blue Moon", "Easy to Love", "I've Got You Under My Skin", and "My Melancholy Baby" which were all sizable successes.