We’ll Gather Lilacs, also called We’ll Gather Lilacs In The Spring, is a song by Welsh composer Ivor Novello which he wrote for the hit musical romance Perchance to Dream.
The stage musical opened at the Hippodrome Theatre in London’s West End in 1945 and ran until 1948. The song, sung in the show by Olive Gilbert, was the most popular and enduring to emerge from the production.
The song was originally recorded by Muriel Barron & Olive Gilbert (1945) and by Geraldo and his Orchestra, who reached the UK charts with it in 1946.
A recording by Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra (vocal by Stuart Foster) was a minor hit in the USA in 1946.
We’ll Gather Lilacs has since been performed by many artists, including notably Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth, Richard Tauber and Bing Crosby.
Frank Sinatra (for his album Sinatra Sings Great Songs from Great Britain (1962), Marion Grimaldi and Julie Andrews.
Written as World War II drew to its close, the song describes the yearning of parted couples to be reunited.
The song evokes the joy they would feel when together once again, and the pleasures of the English countryside in spring with its lilac blossom.
The song was performed at Novello’s cremation in 1951 by Olive Gilbert It was also used in the 1954 film Lilacs in the Spring.
Ivor Novello (1893 – 1951) was a Welsh composer and actor who became one of the most popular British entertainers of the first half of the 20th century.
Novello (David Ivor Davies) was born into a musical family, and his first successes were as a songwriter.
Novello’s first big hit was “Keep the Home Fires Burning” (1914), which was enormously popular during the First World War.
Novello’s 1917 show, Theodore & Co, was a wartime hit.
After the war, Novello contributed numbers to several successful musical comedies and was eventually commissioned to write the scores of complete shows. He wrote his musicals in the style of operetta and often composed his music to the libretti of Christopher Hassall.
In the 1920s, Novello turned to acting, first in British films and then on stage, with considerable success in both.
Novello starred in two silent films directed by Alfred Hitchcock, The Lodger and Downhill (both 1927).
On stage, Novello played the title character in the first London production of Liliom (1926).
Novello briefly went to Hollywood, but he soon returned to Britain, where he had more successes, especially on stage, appearing in his own lavish West End productions of musicals. The best known of these were Glamorous Night (1935) and The Dancing Years (1939).
From the 1930s, Novello often performed with Zena Dare, writing parts for her in his works.
Novello continued to write for film, but he had his biggest late successes with stage musicals: Perchance to Dream (1945), King’s Rhapsody (1949) and Gay’s the Word (1951).
The Ivor Novello Awards were named after him in 1955.
Jim Morrison (1943 -1971) was an American singer, songwriter and poet, who was the lead vocalist of the rock band the Doors.
Morrison’s wild personality, poetic lyrics, distinctive voice, unpredictable and erratic performances, and the dramatic circumstances surrounding his life and early deathhas contributed to his iconic standing.
Morrison is regarded by music critics and fans as one of the most iconic and influential frontmen in rock history.
Since Morrison’s death, his fame has endured as one of popular culture’s most rebellious and oft-displayed icons, representing the generation gap and youth counterculture.
Together with pianist Ray Manzarek, Morrison co-founded the Doors during the summer of 1965 in Venice, California.
The band spent two years in obscurity until shooting to prominence with their number-one single in the United States, “Light My Fire”, taken from their self-titled debut album.
Morrison recorded a total of six studio albums with the Doors, all of which sold well and received critical acclaim.
Morrison was well known for improvising spoken word poetry passages while the band played live.
Manzarek said Morrison
“embodied hippie counterculture rebellion”.
Morrison died unexpectedly in Paris at the age of 27, amid conflicting witness reports.
Since no autopsy was performed, the cause of Morrison’s death remains disputed.
Though the Doors recorded two more albums after Morrison died, his death severely affected the band’s fortunes, and they split up in 1973. In 1993,
Morrison was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Doors.
Elizabeth Cotten (1893 -1987) was an American blues and folk musician, singer, and songwriter.
A self-taught left-handed guitarist, Cotten developed her own original style.
When Elizabeth Cotten and her brothers were playing music together each would have songs that they called their own, and Freight Train was one that she made up and sang as hers.
It was one of the few she ever composed herself and was largely inspired by the train running near her home.
Cotten played a guitar strung for a right-handed player, but played it upside down, as she was left-handed. This position meant that she would play the bass lines with her fingers and the melody with her thumb.
Her signature alternating bass style has become known as “Cotten picking”.
Cotten began writing music while toying with her older brother’s banjo.
Being left-handed, so Cotten played the banjo in reverse position.
Later, when Cotten transferred her songs to the guitar, she formed a unique style, since on the banjo the uppermost string is not a bass string, but a short, high-pitched string which ends at the fifth fret.
This required her to adopt a unique style for the guitar. She first played with the “all finger down strokes” like a banjo.
Later, Cotten’s playing evolved into a unique style of fingerpicking. Her signature alternating bass style is now known as “Cotten picking”. Her fingerpicking techniques have influenced many other musicians.
For her part, Elizabeth Cotten was about as “marginal” and “humble” as could be, but her music had sophistication, bearing the nimbleness of a musical master and the mark of a lifetime of experience.
She played her first live show with Mike Seeger in 1959 and before long had launched one of the more glamorous careers among grandmothers, at the intersection of folk and blues, playing alongside stars like Taj Mahal and Muddy Waters.
Cotten also played the legendary Newport Folk Festival in 1968, as well as the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the Smithsonian Festival, and others.
Cotten later relocated to Syracuse, New York, though she was frequently on the road. Cotten recorded seven albums and toured nationally and abroad for the duration of her life.
In 1985, at 93, Cotten won a Grammy for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording for her album Elizabeth Cotten — Live!
Lyrics – Freight Train, Freight Train by Elizabeth Cotten
Freight Train, Freight Train Run so fast Freight Train, Freight Train Run so fast Please don’t tell what train I’m on They won’t know what route I’m going
When I’m dead and in my grave No more good times here I crave Place the stones at my head and feet And tell them all that I’m gone to sleep
When I die Lord bury me deep Way down on old Chestnut Street So I can hear old number nine As she comes rolling by
When I die Lord bury me deep Way down on old Chestnut Street Place the stones at my head and feet And tell them all that I’ve gone to sleep
Jack Jackson (1906 – 1978) was an English trumpeter and bandleader popular during the British dance band era, and who later became a highly influential radio disc jockey.
Jackson was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire, the son of a brass band player and conductor, and began playing cornet at the age of 11 before playing violin and cello in dance bands.He learnt to play trumpet and worked in swing bands in circuses, revues, ballrooms and ocean liners.
In 1926 Bert Ralton brought his band to England, and Jackson joined them for a three-month tour of southern Africa.
Jackson joined Jack Hylton’s band in 1927, staying until 1930 as the orchestra’s lead trumpet and cornet.
During this time, he also “freelanced” for numerous bands and studio orchestras.
After leaving Hylton in late 1930, Jackson returned to England where, after briefly playing with Ray Noble and Roy Fox, he joined Jack Payne and the BBC Dance Orchestra in 1931, staying with him after leaving the BBC the following year.
Jackson left Payne to form his own band in 1933. By the end of year, Jack Jackson and his Orchestra started a five-year residency at the Dorchester Hotel in London.
Jackson’s signature tune was “Make Those People Sway”, and his regular closing theme tune was “Dancing in the Dark”.
By 1939, Jackson had a regular radio show on Radio Luxembourg.
After the 1939-45 war, Jackson decided not to reform his band, and turned to compering on the BBC Light Programme in such shows as “Record Roundup”, which ran from 1948 to 1977.
Jackson’s methods of presentation included punctuating records with surreal comedy clips and using quick cutting of pre-recorded tapes to humorous effect. This was a major influence on later British disc jockeys such as Kenny Everett and Noel Edmonds.
Jackson had a chat show on ITV in 1955. His presentation style was evident in the 1960 comedy and musical film Climb Up the Wall, in which he starred.
Jackson appeared as himself in Jamboree (1957). He emigrated to Tenerife in 1962, sending his taped programmes by air to the BBC each week.
Jackson was one of the disc jockeys that launched BBC Radio 1 on Saturday 30 September 1967. He broadcast at 1pm with the “Jack Jackson Show”.
Jackson then moved from Radio 1 to BBC Radio 2.
Jackson is remembered as a member of the UK Radio Academy’s Hall of Fame.