George Formby: When I'm Cleaning Windows (1936)

 |   |  <1 min read

George Formby: When I'm Cleaning Windows (1936)

In his later years George Harrison developed an affection for the ukulele, and one of its greatest practitioners, English music hall comedian, singer and actor George Formby.

Right at the end of the Free As A Bird single Harrison threw in a nod to Formby, and specifically to this mildly naughty song which had them rolling in the aisles in the Thirties and Forties.

Formby -- from Lancashire -- may seem an odd influence on the Beatles (Lennon also a fan, McCartney more recently picking up ukulele), but consider the period: they grew up when Formby was still a hugely popular figure and his music was widely played on radio, and was sung in pubs and homes around the country.

Formby's humour was shot through with double entendres (some of his songs were banned by the BBC) and folksy homilies, and he moved into films, appeared at Royal Variety Performances, entertained the troops, skewered Hitler in song, and when he died in 1961 more than 100,000 mourners turned out.

Herman's Hermits had a minor hit with Leaning on a Lamp Post (see below). 

Even today he is name-checked in popular culture -- although his music is rarely played anywhere.

So here is George Formby at his risque best. 

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with a backstory see From the Vaults

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

The Rolling Stones: Continental Drift (1989)

The Rolling Stones: Continental Drift (1989)

For reasons which were never clear or explained, in 1989 the Rolling Stones included this interesting piece of rock exotica on their Steel Wheels album, which was otherwise business as usual in the... > Read more

Grace Jones: Me, I Disconnect From You (1981)

Grace Jones: Me, I Disconnect From You (1981)

Before interviewing Gary Numan recently I put a call out on Facebook to anyone who had questions for the man they wanted answered. He was a delight to speak with (see here) and happy to... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

SPOTIFY'S HQ IN SWEDEN: The quiet revolution

SPOTIFY'S HQ IN SWEDEN: The quiet revolution

The ambience of the Stockholm headquarters of Spotify – the world's fastest growing online music streaming service – isn't what you might expect. No skateboard-riding computer nerds... > Read more

THE LENNON LEGEND BOOK, REVIEWED (2003): More or less Lennon

THE LENNON LEGEND BOOK, REVIEWED (2003): More or less Lennon

Had John Lennon lived, he would have turned 63 last month. It's interesting to speculate what kind of music he might be making today. Interesting, but pointless: Lennon never saw the trickle-down... > Read more