Tom Clare (26 September 1876 – 5 December 1946) was a British music hall singer from the early twentieth century, born in London. He was best known for singing humorous songs which he accompanied on the piano.
He made his first stage appearance when he was eight years old, with the Mohawk Minstrels. He was particularly well known, in the First World War era, for his ironic, humorous songs, "The Fine Old English Gentleman" (a song which gently mocked the arrival of modernity, "Who Bashed Bill Kaiser?" and "What did You do in the Great War, Daddy?" This last song (based on a 1915 Savile Lumley propaganda poster, "Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?") criticized those who claimed to be war heroes but in fact had been busy on the black market, or avoiding work, throughout the war. In another of his songs he poked fun at certain civilian decorations which had been (in the opinion of The Times) too generously bestowed. Songs of social criticism are rare at this time in the Music Hall, and Tom Clare's stand out. He can be found on both the 1901 & 1911 census as an entertainer he was also involved with the Bohemia Theatre at Broadstairs, Kent.
He was also involved in a large number of charity concerts in aid of wounded soldiers.
Although, like most singers of his time, it was in live shows that he gained his reputation, he began recording his songs on cylinder as early as 1906, with his hit "The Girl in the Big Black Hat".
- "Lumley poster". Telegraph.co.uk. 2008-11-07. Retrieved 2013-07-12.
- "The Fine Old English Gentleman" CD Windyridge republished 2006
- The Times 13 August 1918
- The Times 25 July 1917
- Garrett, John M. Sixty Years of British Music Hall Songs London: Chappell & Co., 1976.
- Kilgariff, Michael Sing us one of the old songs: A guide to popular song 1860–1920
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