This is all a bit long and complicated for the guilty pleasures thread, but it encourages me to fess up: I love British light music. It was the soundtrack of my childhood. Does anybody else love it, I wonder?
So-called because it’s British and light, with irresistibly perky tunes and arrangements (particularly pizzicato strings), British light music is a distinctive sub-genre that flourished mostly in the 40s, 50s and 60s and was always on the radio in one form or another. Its roots probably lie in the rockin’ choons of Arthur Sullivan, and some of Elgar’s less grandiloquent moments.
Even if you don’t think you’ve heard any, you have, because it’s been used in more radio and TV theme tunes than you can shake a stick at. Even if it hasn’t, you’ll probably have heard it somewhere if you’re of a certain age or heading that way. For instance:
Ronald Binge: Sailing By (Shipping Forecast); Elizabethan Serenade (later to become Elizabethan Reggae).
Eric Coates: By the Sleepy Lagoon (Desert Island Discs); Knightsbridge March (In Town Tonight); Calling All Workers (Music While You Work); The Dam Busters March.
Trevor Duncan: Little Suite – March (Dr Finlay’s Casebook).
Frederic Curzon: March of the Bowmen (can’t find what this was used for, but pretty sure it was used for something).
Robert Farnon: Westminster Waltz, Jumping Bean, Portrait of a Flirt (In Town Tonight, also much-loved by present-day programme-makers if they want to inject a 50s vibe into something); All Sports March (Pathe News); The Colditz March (The Colditz Story).
Ron Goodwin: 633 Squadron; I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue theme music; Battle of Britain.
Albert Ketelby: In a Monastery Garden (theme tune of noted siffleur Ronnie Ronalde); In a Persian Market (beloved of sand-dancers).
Haydn Wood: Horse Guards, Whitehall (Down Your Way).
Angela Morley (nee Wally Stott): Hancock’s Half Hour theme; Goon Show music; Fun in the Sun & Rotten Row (if this wasn’t Look at Life music it should have been).
Sidney Torch: Barwick Green (The Archers theme).
Charles Williams: Devil’s Galop (Dick Barton theme).
Vivian Ellis: Coronation Scot (Paul Temple theme); Alpine Pastures (My Word!).
Edward White: Puffing Billy (Children’s Favourites); Runaway Rocking Horse.
Jack Strachey: In Party Mood (Housewives’ Choice).
Clive Richardson: Melody on the Move.
Ray Martin: Top of the Form theme.
Arthur Benjamin: Jamaican Rumba.
There’s loads more on Spotify if anybody feels moved to investigate. If it makes you want to gnaw your own leg off, that’s fine, I’ll just carry on.