Dance Band Encyclopaedia
Born: London, 1899.
Died: London, 1964.
Signature tunes: L'Amour Toujours L'Amour
Born in London, Al
Collins went to America in his teens and remained there throughout the
first World War, working as a violinist accompanied by a young Billy
Mayerl on piano. Returning to England in 1919, he lead a band at the
Piccadilly Hotel for David de Groot for over a year until William de Mornys of the
Savoy Hotel group discovered him and put him in charge of a small dance
band at the Savoy Hotel. The hotel bands in those days didn't have a
According to William De Mornys, manager of the Savoy Hotel Group, if any of the rather brash American musicians in the Savoy Orpheans or Havana Band started playing up by jazzing numbers when they shouldn't, de Mornys sent them to Claridges for Al Collins to use; the restaurant manager there would not tolerate any loud jazz, and would complain to de Mornys if any were played at his establishment.
In 1929 - 1930,
Collins transferred to the main Savoy Hotel, sharing the musical duties
with Arthur Lally and later with Percival Mackey. He only made one
recording during this period, a semi-private recording for Columbia.
Later on he left the dance music scene and played violin for various 'straight' orchestras before retiring to Israel where his son and daughter were living. He soon returned to London where he had an interest in an amateur orchestra right up until his death in 1964.
As mentioned above, he made very few recordings, considering his long career at some of the top hotels. The only commercially issued ones during the pre WWII era were 4 titles for Regal in 1923 whilst at Claridges and 4 titles for Decca in 1936 whilst at the Berkeley. In 1944 & 1945 he recorded several sets of medleys for Decca's "Music While You Work" series.
Acknowledgments: Dance Music At The Savoy Hotel and Signature Tunes, both by Chris Hayes.
AL COLLINS AND HIS ORCHESTRA: Al Collins-vn-dir: 2t /tb /Ben Tucker and another -cl-ss-as /cl-ts /Dave Comer-p /Hyatt Berry-bj /bb /Sid Racklin-d. London, c. December 28, 1923,
Dirty Hands, Dirty Face
When You And I Were Dancing
A Kiss In The Dark (waltz) (intro: Weaving My Dreams)
BAND, conductor AL COLLINS: Al Collins-vn dir: 2t/tb/?Ben
Tucker and another cl-as/ts/p/g/sb/d.
London, December, 1930.
|March On (Adapted from Song Of The Blue Shirts) - vOrch
AL COLLINS AND HIS ORCHESTRA: Al Collins-vn-dir: Arthur Lousley-t /Jack Miranda - Harry Hines-cl-as /Ben Tucker-cl-ts /Pat Dodd-p /Len Shevill-g /Ronnie Gubertini-d. London, October 31, 1932
-- -- --
AL COLLINS AND HIS BERKELEY
HOTEL ORCHESTRA: Al Collins-vn-dir:
Arthur Lousley - Norman Payne - Bill Shakespeare-t /Bill Mulraney and another-tb
/Jack Miranda and another-cl-as /Harry Hines-cl-as-bar-a /Ben Tucker-cl-ts /vn/
Pat Dodd-p/ Eddie Freeman-g/ Al Burke-sb/ Ronnie Gubertini-d/ Suzanne Botterill
- Jimmy Leary - Bert Yarlett-v.
London, January 31, 1936
With All My Heart - vSB
Moon For Sale - vBY
Old Ship O' Mine - vBY
Moon Over Miami - vJL
AL COLLINS AND HIS BAND: Al Collins dir: probably Norman Payne-t/ Mickey Lewis - Jock Scott-as/ George Pallat-ts /Abe Walters-p/ Maurice Smart-pac/ Alfie Crask-sb/ Ginger Conn-d. London, April 3, 1944
Can't Be Love / This Years
San Francisco / Jingle Bells
Music, Maestro, Please / I've Got A Feelin' You're Foolin'
The Love Bug Will Bite You / Mama, I Wanna Make Rhythm
London, August 1, 1944
Myself And I / Mine
A Little Bit Independent / Let Me Whisper
Everything's In Rhythm With My Heart / White Sails
Did Your Mother Come From Ireland? / The Masquerade Is Over
London, October 26, 1944
Ain't Got A Dime To My Name / Frankie And
Sweet And Lovely / I Surrender Dear
A Bench In The Park / It All Depends On You
I Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight? / Poor Little Rich Girl
London, January 31, 1945
Swinging On A Star / Choc'late Soldier From The
Dance With A Dolly / The Trolley Song
Tico-Tico / Ten Days With Baby
If You Ever Go To Ireland / Pretty Kitty Blue Eyes