Dance Band Encyclopaedia


Benny Loban

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Bandleader and Violinist 
 April 16th, 1902
Died:   March 7th, 1993

Benny Loban was born in Nikolayev, Ukraine on April 16, 1902, the second of five children, to Russian Jewish parents. The family emigrated to Winnipeg, Canada in 1913 to flee the persecution of the Russian pogroms. Benny learned to play the violin and was considered a child prodigy and after some coaching by a dedicated Winnipeg teacher, John Waterhouse, Benny won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London at the age of 18.

After winning some four Medals of Achievement at the Academy, he graduated and returned to Canada. For a period he played at various cinemas for the silent films. After the arrival of "Talkies" work in this area dried up. Finding the musical opportunities very limited he went back to England where he lead several small ensembles at various Lyons Corner Houses, after which he lead a number of dance bands over the years.

In 1930 he lead the Savoy Orpheans band on tour. See photo. This was not the famous band that had played at the Savoy Hotel in the 1920s, but one formed by it's former leader, Ben Evers in 1929. Benny Loban took over direction in late 1929 or early 1930 briefly, before passing the name onto Jack Hart. Subsequently, the Savoy management insisted the name belonged to them and should be applied only to bands under their management and playing at the hotel. Benny's Savoy Orpheans made a couple of recordings for Dominion Records in March 1930 (see foot of Page).

Late in 1930, he formed his "Music Weavers" and toured the country over the next four or five years with this band. They also made a handful of recordings, this time for Sterno in late 1930 and early 1931. See foot of page for details of the records, and the articles from "Melody Maker" (right of page). It seems he played at the Gaiety Theatre in Ayr during the Summer season and then at the West End Dance Hall in Birmingham for the Winter season, both on regular bases.

At the same time, Benny Joined Debroy Somers' band in January 1931 (according to "Melody Maker") and is shown as remaining with the band until the late 1930s (according to Rust & Forbes "British Dance Bands on Record"). I'm not sure how this fits in with leading his own band at this period.

From 1938-40, Benny lead the resident band at the Royal Bath Hotel in Bournemouth where he frequently broadcast with such notables as Stanley Holloway, Tommy Handley, Ted Ray and Bebe Daniels.

From 1940-45 he headed the band at the prestigious Palais Ballroom in Glasgow. Benny was one of four bands invited to broadcast on VE Day. Following the end of WW II and the decline of the dance bands, Benny was invited to be musical director of a number of stage musicals such as Waltz Time, The Girl Friend and others.

Benny returned to Canada in 1952 where he settled back in his home town of Winnipeg. He was involved in some of the very limited musical activity there but eventually established himself in the Investment Real Estate business which he actively pursued until shortly before his death. He died of a stroke on March 7, 1993 while visiting his son in Toronto.

My thanks to Gerald Loban, Benny's son, for the information and  photo scans

Mike Thomas January 2nd 2004

Benny Loban.jpg (27646 bytes)
Benny Loban

Benny Loban twice.jpg (58667 bytes)
Trick photo showing Benny as violinist and conductor

Ben Loban Savoy Orpheans.jpg (144845 bytes)
Benny Loban's Savoy Orpheans

Benny & Mrs Loban Dec 1930 MM.jpg (52241 bytes)
Christmas Greetings, December 1930 Melody Maker

Benny Loban Dec 1930 MM article.jpg (130573 bytes) Melody Maker, December 1930

Benny Loban July 1931 MM article.jpg (126464 bytes)
Melody Maker, 
July 1931

Benny Loban Jan 27 1934 MM article.jpg (121884 bytes)
Melody Maker,
Jan 27th, 1934

Benny Loban Dec 1934 Tune Times article.jpg (84637 bytes)
Tune Times,
December 1934

As mentioned in the text above, Benny Loban made just a few recordings which I shall list here in the usual discographical format set down by Brian Rust and others as standard.

SAVOY ORPHEANS: Benny Loban-vn dir possible: Harry Smith - Bert Youall -t/ Eric Tann -tb/ Harry Fisher -tb-hp/ Claude Hughes - Fred Gilmore - Ed Ball -cl-as-ts/ Clifford Hellier -p/ Barry Lindoorn -bj-g/ Al Roach -bb/ Hall Dillman -d/ Cavan O'Connor -v.                                                                                                                London, March 1930

1710-2-4 Should I? - vCO'C Dominion C-300, C-322, Celebrity 4376
1712-3 Figaro - vCO'C&ch Dominion C-323

Note: Celebrity 4376 as Celebrity Dance Orchestra.
All details taken from Brian Rust & Sandy Forbes "British Dance Bands on Record"

BENNIE LOBAN AND HIS MUSIC WEAVERS: Benny Loban -vn-dir: Bill Piercy -t/ Harry Dale -tb/ Jack Dale - Ted Ball -cl-as/ Mark Morris -cl-ts/ George Baldwin -p/ Harry Bidwell -bj-g-vn/ Tom Eggerdon -sb-bb/ Paul Summers -d-x. Bob & Alf Pearson - Dan Donovan -v.                                                                           London early December 1930.

S-1216-1 Oh! Donna Clara - vB&AP Sterno 598
S-1217-1 Just Imagine Sterno 598

BENNY LOBAN AND HIS BAND: Probably as before                                           London late January 1931.

S-1316-1 I Bring A Love Song - vDD Sterno 642
S-1317-1 You Will Remember Vienna (waltz) - vDD Sterno 642

Note: Personnel details from December 1930 issue of "Melody Maker". Other details from "British Dance Bands on Record".

While we're on it, although Benny made no more records, I have the following personnel details of his Music Weavers from "Melody Maker" and "Tune Times".

From Melody Maker July 1931 issue:
Benny Loban - vn-dir Billy Piercy - t/ Harry Dale -tb/ Jack Davis - Tim Carnie -cl-as/ Edgar Greenhaw - cl-ts-vn/ William Thompson -p/ Charles Teakle -bj-g-cl-as/ R. S. Hull -sb-bb/ Jimmy Tigue -d-x.

From Melody Maker, January 27th, 1934 issue:
Benny Loban -vn dir: Billy Piercy - t-v/ Cliff Woodbridge -t-p-a/ Harry Dale -tb-v/ Jack Davis - Tim Carnie - Ted Greenhow -cl-as-ts-vn/ Billy Funnell -p-pac-a/ Bob Rhodes - bj-g-sb-p/ Jimmy Tigue -d-x-v.

From Tune Times, December 1934 issue:
Benny Loban -vn-dir: Billy Piercy - Wally Hale- t/ Harry Dale -tb/ Jack Davis - Ted Greenhow -cl-as/ Tim Carnie - cl-ts-vn/ Billy Funnell -p-pac-a/ Bob Rhodes - sb/ Jack Roy -d.