Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 15 February 1888, Leicester, England; d 19 May 1964, London) Composer, publisher, arranger, UK pop music pioneer. His father ran a music shop and he began selling songs from a market stall; his first published hit was 'Don't Go Down The Mines, Daddy' by William Geddes and Robert Donnelly (1910); he went to London's Denmark Street the following year and it became the UK's equivalent of Tin Pan Alley: the house journal Melody Maker began in 1922 is still going as a pop paper. He had UK rights to USA hits by Hoagy Carmichael and others; he specialised in comedy ('Birmingham Bertie From Bow'; 'Yes, We Have No Bananas') and was famous for promotional stunts: for 'Sahara' in 1924 he rode a camel around Piccadilly Circus; for 'Me And Jane In A Plane' in '27 he flew Jack Hylton and his band around Blackpool Tower, dropping sheet music. At Blackpool (a UK seaside resort) his production of On With The Show ran for 32 years. He adopted the name Horatio Nicholls for his own writing; the best known of more than 500 songs was 'Among My Souvenirs' '27 (words by the American Edgar Leslie, his best-known collaborator), introduced by Hylton in the UK, Paul Whiteman in the USA, sung by Carmichael in the film The Best Years Of Our Lives '46, a hit for Connie Francis '59, revived '76 by Marty Robbins, etc. Wright received an Ivor Novello award '62 for Outstanding Services to British Popular Music. After he died Lawrence Wright Music was sold to Dick James, then to ATV, then to Michael Jackson.