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Jack Payne and His Orchestra



Jack Payne (August 22, 1899 – December 4, 1969) was a British dance music bandleader.

John Wesley Vivian Payne was born in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire - the only son of a music warehouse manager. While serving in the Royal Flying Corps he played the piano in amateur dance-bands.

Payne served in the Royal Air Force during World War I, and led dance bands for the troops. In the 1920s he played in a six-piece band which became the house band at the London Hotel Cecil in 1925. This ensemble regularly performed on the BBC in the latter half of the decade. In 1928, Payne became the BBC Director of Dance Music, a post he held until leaving in 1932 to return to playing hotel venues.

His signature tune was Irving Berlin’s ‘Say it With Music’, a song which he often sang to. After leaving the BBC in 1932, Payne took his band on nationwide tours and made a film Say it with Music, followed three years later by another movie Sunshine Ahead. In the 1930s he spent a little less time touring, so he could concentrate his efforts on running a theatrical agency.

Payne had three successful waltzes - Blue Pacific Moonlight, Underneath the Spanish Stars and Pagan Serenade, which he composed. These were later published in the 1930s.

Payne did some jazz recording, including working with Garland Wilson. He toured South Africa and France in the 1930s. In 1941 he returned to the post of Director of Dance Music at the BBC, remaining there until 1946; following this he became a disc jockey. He followed this change of career by returning to the dance-music scene to present his own television show, ‘Words and Music’, which ran for three series.

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  • philkentbass

    I used to work for Jack Payne when he owned a hotel in Mayfield in East Sussex in the early sixties. I would be happy to share my memories of Jack with anyone who may be interested!

    9 Jan 2009 Reply

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