[Arthur J.] Mills (1872–1919)
The issue of songwriting credits can be vexatious. From 1914 to 1919, the names of Mills, Scott, and Godfrey appear on a large number of songs. Some hit the mark, such as Take Me Back To Dear Old Blighty (1916), one of the two or three most popular British war songs of the era, and Down Texas Way (1917), a favourite with the Canadian Army veterans’ troupe “The Dumbells.” It is impossible to determine each writer’s actual contribution, but it seems fair to note that most of the songs were published by Star Music, the company which Mills and Scott founded in 1906. There is no doubting the songwriting talents of Mills and Scott, but it is interesting that Dorothy Ward, who introduced Take Me Back To Dear Old Blighty, attributed the song solely to Godfrey. Ship Ahoy! (All The Nice Girls Love A Sailor), an enormous hit credited to Mills and Scott (1908) and still much loved more than a century later, is one of several songs Godfrey claimed to have written but for which he received no credit.
One can say only that, like many other writers, Mills, Scott, and Godfrey were constantly scribbling down songs and pounding them out on the piano in the hope of selling them to the stars of the Music Hall. Some writers — Mills and Scott, Worton David, Lawrence Wright, Ivor Novello — were astute enough to establish their own publishing companies, to maintain greater control over their copyrights and royalties. Less-businesslike men — Godfrey and Harry Castling among them — as well as the drinkers and gamblers, faced penury or fell upon the charity of friends in the business when their song ideas dried up or tastes changed.The death of A.J. Mills in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, age just 48, was reported in the Lancashire Evening Post on 23 October 1919, but the cause of death was not given. Perhaps he was felled by the great influenza pandemic.
All of the following songs are by Mills, Scott, and Godfrey unless otherwise noted:
Date unknown: On The Other Side; Rosalie (1918?)
In addition to these songs, the trio provided the book (Mills) and music (Godfrey and Scott) for the show Three Weeks And A Bit, which opened at the Tottenham Palace, London, in April.1916.