Discover New Music

Last.fm is a music discovery service that gives you personalised recommendations based on the music you play.

Start your Last.fm profile Close window

Billy Cotton & His Band

Tags

Everyone’s tags

More tags

Biography

William Edward Cotton (6 May 1899 – 25 March 1969), better known as Billy Cotton, was a British band leader and entertainer, one of the few whose orchestras survived the dance band era. Today, he is mainly remembered as a 1950s and 1960s radio and television personality, although his musical talent emerged as early as the 1920s. In his younger years Billy Cotton was also an amateur footballer for Brentford F.C.(and later, for the then Athenian league club Wimbledon, now AFC Wimbledon), an accomplished racing driver and the owner of a Gipsy Moth which he piloted himself.

Born in Smith Square, London, to Joseph (born in 1858 in Coventry, Warwickshire) and Susan Cotton, Cotton was a choirboy and then started his musical career as a drummer, an occupation he also pursued in the army during the First World War. He enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers by falsifying his age and saw service in Malta and Egypt, before landing at Gallipoli in the middle of an artillery barrage. Later in the war he was recommended for a commission and learned to fly Bristol Fighter aircraft. He flew solo for the first time on 1918-04-01, the day the Royal Flying Corps became the Royal Air Force. He was then not yet 19 years old.

He married Mabel E. Gregory in 1921 and had two sons, Ted and Bill Jnr. In the inter-war years. he had several jobs such as bus driver before setting up his own orchestra, the London Savannah Band, in 1924. At first a straight dance band, over the years the London Savannah Band more and more tended towards music hall/vaudeville entertainment, introducing all sorts of visual and verbal humour in between songs.

Top Albums

Listening Trend

3,429listeners all time
11,198scrobbles all time
Recent listeners trend:

Start scrobbling and track your listening history

Last.fm users scrobble the music they play in iTunes, Spotify, Rdio and over 200 other music players.

Create a Last.fm profile

Shoutbox

Leave a comment. Log in to Last.fm or sign up.

Top Listeners