Blue Eyes

 

 

Blue Eyes (US cover) Blue Eyes song card 1 Blue Eyes song card 2 Blue Eyes song card 3

Music by Lawrence Wright as “Horatio Nicholls”, words by Fred Godfrey [as “Godfrey Williams,” according to British Library & Feldman/Lawrence Wright/Haviland music sheets; American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) lists as Godfrey & Nicholls; EMI lists Godfrey as “Geoff Williams” & Wright as “Horatio Nicholls] — London: Lawrence Wright Music; Bert Feldman, 1915 [ASCAP lists publisher as EMI April Music Corp]; New York: F.B. Haviland, 1919 [as Those Two Blue Eyes].

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Fred Godfrey’s youngest daughter Peggie (1912–2001, the author’s mother), who had blue eyes, always claimed he wrote the song for her. Although it is mainly associated with Dorothy Ward, others sang it, too:

“Evelyn Grace, who was so popular with the Winter Garden, Blackpool, Concert Party last season, began a further engagement at this rendezvous on Whit Moday. Lawrence Wright had the pleasure of hearing his popular ballads ‘Take Me Back To Your Heart’ and ‘Blue Eyes’ rendered by this clever soprano at the opening concert” (“Song Notes,” The Stage, 27 May 1915, p. 22).

“Evelyn Grace, the soprano at the Winter Garden, Blackpool, concerts, is daily receiving requests for...‘Blue Eyes’. The sales of this song, the firm [Lawrence Wright Co.] state, are far ahead of any other new ballad” (“Song Notes,” The Stage, 3 June 1915, p. 16).

“Emilie Hayes repeated her success with ‘Blue Eyes’ last week at the Empire, South Shields. It is interesting to note that her husband, Mr. G.H. Elliott, introduced a new song by the writers of ‘Blue Eyes’ (Fred Godfrey and Lawrence Wright), entitled ‘There’s A Little Baby Up In The Moon’” (“Song Notes,” The Stage, 22 July 1915, p. 9).

“The Lawrence Wright Music Co. were last week inundated with orders for ‘Blue Eyes’. Many orders were noticed from Barrow-in-Furnace [Lancashire], which were obviously the result of the rendition of the number by the Bernard Ash Quartet at the Palace that week” (“Song Notes,” The Stage, 12 August 1915, p. 21).

“‘Blue Eyes’ is being used as an instrumental entracte. It is being played by many seaside orchestras this season, notably Garforth Mortimer’s ‘Blue Anglaiso’ Orchestra, Victoria Pier, Blackpool, where it is being requested daily” (“Song Notes,” The Stage, 12 August 1915, p. 21).

“Bert Errol sends Lawrence Wright the gratifying news that ‘Blue Eyes’ was his biggest success at the Hippodrome, Bristol, last week” (“Song Notes,” The Stage, 9 September 1915, p. 18).

“‘Blue Eyes’, no matter where it is sung, is successful. Further testimony to this fact was contained in a letter from Frank Bevan, the baritone of Away Down South company,...in which he says... ‘I put [‘Blue Eyes’] on last night and made and made an instantaneous ‘hit’. It is really the best song I have ever sung’....That ‘Blue Eyes’ lends itself most admirably to special treatment is evidenced by the fact that it is one of the principal items in the repertory of the Bernard Ash Quartet, who have been frequently encored for their rendering since they first introduced the song at the Palace, Blackpool, in May last. Newspaper reports from South Shields show that it is the item the public are talking about this week” (“Song Notes,” The Stage, 9 September 1915, p. 18).

“Corporal T. O’Callaghan writes from ‘Somewhere in France’: ‘On behalf of our concert party I wish to thank you for the splendid batch of songs [Feldman & Co.] sent me. ‘Blue Eyes’ has already become a craze, and I am sure it will soon be all over France’” (“Song Notes,” The Stage, 11 November 1915, p. 26).

 

Winner 2863
Listen to a
1915 recording
by Stanley Kirkby.


Recordings

Black Diamonds Band, in “Camp Concert” (Zonophone Twin 1572, 1915)

The Bohemian Band (Edison Bell Winner 2912, 1915)

Stanley Kirkby (Clarion 915, 1915 [cylinder]; John Bull 554; Jumbo 1311, 1915; The Winner 2863, 1915; The Winner 2921 [reissue?], 1915; Clarion 109, 1916; Clarion 129, 1916)

The Mayfair Orch.; dir. by George W. Byng (HMV C-624, 1915)

Dorothy Ward
Bert Feldman & Co.
album cover

Murray Johnson (HMV B-549, 1915)

Will Thompson (Popular 596, 1915)

Dorothy Ward (Regal G-7170, 1915)

The New Mayfair Dance Orch., in “Memories Of Horatio Nicholls” (HMV B-280, 1935)

Debroy Somers Band, in “Memories of Horatio Nicholls” (Columbia DX-673, 1935)

Charlie Kunz, in “Charlie Kunz’ Twenties Waltz Medley” (Decca F-9904, 1952); reissued on LP “Charlie Kunz Piano Medley No. 4” (London LB 678, 1952?)

Clarence Wright, in 7-LP set “Palace Of Varieties — Old Time Music Hall” (BBC CN-1426, 1976)

Harry Davidson & His Orch. (Columbia SCD 2033)

 

Stage Interpolations

Interpolated by Beatrice Allen and Harry Geale in the John Tiller revue The Swiss Miss (Elephant and Castle, London, 1915); by Grace Scarboro in Campbell and Mostel’s revue What A Beauty (1915); by Doris Earle in the revue Seconds Out (Metropolitan, London, 1915).