I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles
I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles (John Kellette, Jaan Kenbrovin)
Wikipedia indicates that, “The number was debuted in the Broadway musical The Passing Show of 1918, and it was introduced by Helen Carrington.” According to Internet Broadway Database, the show opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on 25 July 1918 and closed on 9 November 1918, running for a total of 142 peformances. However, the list of opening night songs in the show at IBDb does not include “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles.” If both Wikipedia and IBDb are correct, then the song was presumably interpolated into the show sometime after opening night and before the show closed in November of 1918. It is for this reason that on 10 January 2016 I moved the song from those dated 1919 to those of 1918 on this site.
The music was written by John Kellette. The lyrics are credited to “Jaan Kenbrovin”, actually a collective pseudonym for the writers James Kendis, James Brockman and Nat Vincent. The number was debuted in the Broadway musical The Passing Show of 1918, and it was introduced by Helen Carrington.
The copyright to “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” was originally registered in 1919, and was owned by the Kendis-Brockman Music Co. Inc. This was transferred later that year to Jerome H. Rernick & Co. of New York and Detroit. When the song was written, James Kendis, James Brockman, and Nat Vincent all had separate contracts with publishers, which led them to use the name Jaan Kenbrovin for credit on this song. James Kendis and James Brockman were partners in the Kendis-Brockman Music Company.
Becomes a hit
The waltz was a major Tin Pan Alley hit, and was performed and recorded by most major singers and bands of the late 1910s and early 1920s. The song was a hit for Ben Selvin’s Novelty Orchestra in 1919. The Original Dixieland Jass Band recording of the number is an unusual early example of jazz in 3/4 time.
The song also became a hit with the public in British music halls and theatres during the early 1920s. Dorothy Ward was especially renowned for making the song famous with her appearances at these venues. The song was also used by English comedian “Professor” Jimmy Edwards as his signature tune – played on the trombone. Harpo Marx would play the song on clarinet, which would then begin emitting bubbles.
The West Ham Connection
The song is now better known in the UK as the club anthem of West Ham United, a London-based football club. It was introduced to the club by former manager Charlie Paynter in the late twenties. A player, Billy J. “Bubbles” Murray who played for the local Park School had an almost uncanny resemblance to the boy in the famous “Bubbles” painting by Millais used in a Pears soap commercial of the time. Headmaster Cornelius Beal began singing the tune “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” with amended lyrics when Park players played well.
Beal was a friend of Paynter, while Murray was a West Ham trialist and played football at schoolboy level with a number of West Ham players such as Jim Barrett. Through this contrivance of association the club’s fans took it upon themselves to begin singing the popular music hall tune before home games, sometimes reinforced by the presence of a house band requested to play the refrain by Charlie Paynter.
Six Brown Brothers – a medley: Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here / I’ll Say She Does / Smiles / I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles – 1919
Helen Clark & George Wilton Ballard – Edison Blue Amberol 3798, released August 1919
Dame Vera Lynn, DBE (born Vera Margaret Welch on 20 March 1917) is an English singer whose career flourished during World War II. Nicknamed “The Forces’ Sweetheart”, the songs most associated with her are “We’ll Meet Again” and “The White Cliffs of Dover”.
Lynn was born Vera Margaret Welch on 20 March 1917, in East Ham, then in Essex, now part of Greater London. Vera Lynn went to what is now called Brampton Primary School in East Ham. Her father was a plumber and Vera Welch grew up with her parents’ Cockney accent, which can still be detected when she speaks. She began singing at the age of seven in a working men’s club, and later adopted her grandmother’s maiden name for her stage name. Lynn’s first radio broadcast was in 1935 with the Joe Loss Orchestra. She was already being featured on the records of dance bands, including those led by Loss and Charlie Kunz. She made her first solo record on the Crown label in 1936, “Upon the Wooden Hill to Bedfordshire”. (The label was soon bought out by Decca.) After a short time with Loss, she sang with Kunz. Lynn then joined the dance band of Bert Ambrose. [read more] Wikipedia extract
Vera Lynn – date unknown
West Ham United Fans