Whit Cunliffe

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Whittaker "Whit" Cunliffe (15 December 1875 in Haslingden – 1 May 1966) was an English comic singer known for the outfits worn during his stage performances[1] and his World War I song "Hoch, Hoch Der Kaiser" and other songs including "What Does it Matter to Me?" (1906) and "A Different Girl Again". Cunliffe was described as being a bit of a dandy.[2]

Like a number of other Music Hall stars, he chose to sing slightly risqué songs (like "Tight skirts have got to go" or "Let's have free trade amongst the girls"). His songs often also referred to political questions of the day and have a generally conservative tone ("Do you believe in women's rights?" "Blame it on poor old Lloyd George." "You'll get on in England if you're not an Englishman".) Generally, his political songs were conservative in outlook. His 1914 song "Tow the row row" for example both laughs at the forced feeding in prison of suffragettes a couple of years earlier, and denounces the Social Insurance laws put in place by Lloyd George's government in 1911.

Cunliffe was an enthusiastic supporter of the First World War and was involved in a great many concerts raising money to help the war drive.

Cunliffe was referred to as the last surviving member of the Lions Comiques,[3] the first great music hall singers.[4] "Whit Cunliffe and Charles Whittle were indeed great singers of great songs and the epitome of what made Music Hall".[2]

Cunliffe died in Battle, East Sussex, shortly before his 91st birthday.[5]

Other songs[edit]

  • "I will! I won't! As Soon as the Girl Gets you Home" (wrote)[6]
  • "Women get the Best of it; Poor Old Father" (composer)[6]
  • "Hallo Hallo Hallo, It's a Different Girl Again!"[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bailey, Paul (2001). Three Queer Lives: An Alternative Biography of Fred Barnes, Naomi Jacob and Arthur Marshall Hamish Hamilton; ISBN 0-241-13455-2, ISBN 978-0-241-13455-9. p. 47
  2. ^ a b W. J. MacQueen-Pope. The Melodies Linger On: the Story of Music Hall, Allen, 1950
  3. ^ Pulling, Christopher. They Were Singing G. G. Harrap (1952). p. 60
  4. ^ Russell, Dave. Popular Music in England, 1840-1914, p. 88
  5. ^ "England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007," Whitaker Cunliffe, 1966
  6. ^ a b Catalog of Copyright Jan. 1908 Library of Congress
  7. ^ The Bystander [1] (An Illustrated Sixpenny Weekly)April 3, 1907 to June 26, 1907 The Graphic Office London page 446