Fred Godfreys Collaborators
“Fred Godfrey, Worton David, and Lawrence Wright...
— The Stage, 22 July 1915
Fred Godfrey sometimes worked alone, but usually he collaborated with other songwriters, among them some of the busiest and most successful of the Music Hall era. Typically, however, the songs were published as “written and composed by...”, making it impossible to ascertain who was responsible for what aspect of the creative work unless the collaborator, such as Harry Castling, is known to have been primarily a lyricist.
Another complication is that the publishers and artists themselves frequently had their names added to the composing credits as a condition of acceptance for publication or performance. One is thus left wondering just how many of the songs published by, for example, Star Music and with composing credits to Fred Godfrey, A.J. Mills, and Bennett Scott were actually the product of these three men, considering the latter two were owners of the publishing company. The same holds true for Lawrence Wright Music and the many songs with credits to Godfrey and Wright (or “Horatio Nicholls,” Wright’s pseudonym) and for Worton David Music and the songs credited to Godfrey and David. Mills, Scott, Wright, and David were, of course, accomplished composers in their own right, but it is easy to imagine writers such as Godfrey showing up at the music publishers with an essentially finished song already in hand. Some of Godfrey’s reminiscences and those of Dorothy Ward with respect to, for example, Take Me Back To Dear Old Blighty suggest strongly that this was indeed often the practice.
As for the artists, such as George Formby Jr., Max Miller, and Mark Sheridan, whose names appear in the credits, it is almost certainly
the case that they had little if anything to do with writing the songs
they accepted, as very few of them — Harry Lauder is a grand exception
— wrote their own material in those days.
For information on some of Fred Godfrey’s collaborators and the music they created, please click on the names below: