Billy Merson

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Billy Merson as Platt in Whirled into Happiness

Billy Merson (1879–1947) was an English music hall performer and songwriter. He began his career while working in a lace-making factory, and doing shows in the evenings. It took some time until he could make a living from his stage work. "For five or six years on the stage, I survived on a salary hardly enough to keep body and soul together", he said.[1] In 1922, he starred in Whirled into Happiness. As a comedian Merson was often paired with George Formby Senior.[2]

Songs he wrote include "The Photo of the Girl I Left Behind", "Desdemona" and (possibly his best known) "The Spaniard That Blighted My Life", which also became one of Al Jolson's first hits.

He was chairman of the music hall at the Players Theatre in London. He also appeared in a few films, including three made in the DeForest Phonofilm sound-on-film process, Billy Merson Sings Desdemona, Billy Merson Sings Scotland's Whiskey (a satire on Sir Harry Lauder), and Billy Merson in a Russian Opera (all 1926-1927).

He came from Nottingham.

Selected filmography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Era, a professional music hall journal, 3 January 1917.
  2. ^ Parlor Songs article on Al Jolson

External links[edit]