Al Bowlly sings again. Hush , Listen. The very thought of you … And I forgot to do … The little ordinary things that everyone ought to do …. Listen to Al Bowlly. Listen to the voice, the white-tuxedo voice, the smoothie Valentino of a voice; the voice that feels like it’s raining honey yet there are rainbows round your shoulder and Al Bowlly loves you, he really sincerely does … the very thought of you and Al Bowlly really does forget to do the little ordinary things that everyone ……

Never, never break your promise … For I believe in You … Listen to Al Bowlly, crooning with Geraldo, crooning the way he crooned when he knocked Crosby kneecaps over larynx in the 1935 pop-polls in America. Visualise him standing there, glistening teeth and glistening hair and lover’s eyes and hero’s jaw, the finest thing you ever saw … Time on my hands and You in my arms .. Listen to Al Bowlly, singing from the grave. From his 30 year grave. Say it isn’t so. Al Bowlly lives. He lives again. Say, don’t you remember ? They called me Al …

Al shares his resting place with 200 other unfortunate souls … mingled with all the other names is inscribed simply, BOWLLY A.A….” Say, don’t you remember ? I’m your pal … You’re their pal, Al … Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime ? ..

The Al Bowlly scene, 1972. In Britain, Canada, America, Australia and New Zealand.. Al Bowlly lives .. Hold that thought .He was born at the end of the century in Portuguese East Africa; raised in Johannesburg. His father was Greek and his mother was Lebanese and Al turned out to be a small, slim, gigolo-haired man. He worked as a singing barber and as a jockey, he busked in the streets of London. By Reel Two he was a superstar crooner in Britain and America. By Reel Three, in the late 30’s he was sick and broke … It was a schmaltzy, MGM-ish showbiz story. The final punchline, like Glenn Miller flying into the sunset in his doomed aeroplane, had Al Bowlly sitting in his London flat while the air-raid sirens howled and the German bomb-bays opened above his head. His last record was called “When That Man is Dead and Gone” … Too bad. But so what .. So 31 years later the Al Bowlly Circle are still mad about the boy.

“The Al Bowlly Scene, 1972” by Martin White

One thought on “IN CONCLUSION ….

Add yours

  1. Oh my! The first two paragraphs are so poetical and stirring! Perfect description of Al’s golden voice on his listeners.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

Interwar London

Popular Culture in 1920s and 1930s Britain


Information and Resources for Historic-Sound Enthusiasts

Wistful Nostalgia.

Vintage blogger. Al Bowlly admirer. 1930s enthusiast. Fiction writer and artist.

%d bloggers like this: