Wally Whyton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wallace Victor "Wally" Whyton (23 September 1929 – 22 January 1997)[1][2] was a British musician, songwriter and radio and TV personality.


Born in London, England, Whyton grew up listening to jazz, blues and folk music, and learned to play first the piano, then trombone, and finally guitar. In 1956, while working in advertising,[3] he formed the Vipers Skiffle Group, which became the resident band at the 2i's Coffee Bar in Soho.[4] After a number of hit records produced by George Martin, including Whyton's song "Don't You Rock Me Daddy-O", the group split up in 1960, and Whyton moved into television work.[5]

Photogenic and with a soft-spoken voice, Whyton normally wore a cardigan as he presented the children's programmes, Small Time, Lucky Dip, Tuesday Rendezvous (on which The Beatles made their second television appearance, performing "Love Me Do"), Five O'Clock Club, Ollie and Fred's Five O'Clock Club and Five O'Clock Funfair for Associated-Rediffusion and Rediffusion London.[6] Whyton normally performed a song while playing his guitar on the children's shows. He was also a presenter on the BBC's Play School (1966) and Play Away (1973).[7]

Subsequently, he was the host of Granada TV's Time for a Laugh.[8] From the 1960s to the 1990s he was a presenter on BBC Radio 2, mainly fronting folk and country music programmes. One of these was "Hello Folk" and another "Country Club".[9] In the 1970s "Hello Folk" was rebroadcast (coming live from London on tape) on BFBS.[10] In 1976, he toured Germany, visiting the Forces Folk clubs presenting The McCalmans and Mike Harding.

Despite his busy schedule as a broadcaster, Whyton continued to find time to record. As well as recording an album of Woody Guthrie songs, Children's Songs of Woody Guthrie, he wrote and recorded the conservation anthem, Leave Them a Flower.[11] The song was translated into Dutch for Flemish singer Louis Neefs who recorded it as Laat ons een bloem. His version became one of the biggest hits of his career and remains a favourite song in various all-time lists of best Flemish songs ever recorded. In February 2022, Laat ons een bloem finished 9th in the BeNe Top 1000, a list of 1000 best songs originating from the Netherlands and (Flemish) Belgium, as voted for by listeners of Flemish Radio 2.[12]

Meanwhile, Whyton also recorded an album titled "Growing Up with Wally Whyton" including medleys of songs for children.

The cover of Whyton's It's Me, Mum! appeared on Steve Carter's Worst Album Covers Ever Created.[13]

Whyton presented a regular show for the BBC World Service until a few weeks before his death from lung cancer in January 1997.[14]

It's Me Mum[edit]

It's Me, Mum! (sic) (Fontana, STL5476) was released in 1968 and featured Whyton playing 12-string guitar and singing contemporary and traditional folk songs from the United States, an old music-hall song, and a couple of his own songs: "Selma, Alabama (April 1965)", and "When Winter Comes". Also appearing were John Mark (guitar), Phil Bates (bass) and Terry Cox (drums).[15]


  1. ^ "Obituary: Wally Whyton". The Independent. 24 January 1997.
  2. ^ "The Dead Rock Stars Club 1996 - 1997". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com.
  3. ^ "Vipers Skiffle Group". 45-rpm.org.uk.
  4. ^ Haslam, Dave (13 August 2015). Life After Dark: A History of British Nightclubs & Music Venues. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9780857207005 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ "Original versions of Don't You Rock Me Daddy-O by The Vipers Skiffle Group". Secondhandsongs.com.
  6. ^ "Wally Whyton". Bfi.org.uk. Archived from the original on 10 August 2019.
  7. ^ Here's A House: The Story of Play School, Volume 1, Paul R Jackson, 2010
  8. ^ "From Small Time to big time - ITV - Transdiffusion Broadcasting System". Transdiffusion.org.
  9. ^ "Wally Whyton's Country Club". 15 January 1976. p. 48 – via BBC Genome.
  10. ^ "BFBS Radio Show Archive: Folk Music Shows". Bfbs-radio.blogspot.com.
  11. ^ "Wally Whyton | Biography & History". AllMusic.
  12. ^ "Radio2.be (Flemish Radio 2, in Dutch)". radio2.be (in Dutch). Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  13. ^ "Documenting All Things Hideous". Trendhunter.com.
  14. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (2002). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Fifties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 491/2. ISBN 1-85227-937-0.
  15. ^ "Wally Whyton - It's Me, Mum!". Discogs.com. 1968.
  16. ^ "It's Me, Mum! - Wally Whyton | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 October 2019.

External links[edit]