John Willie, Come On!

Album: Golden Greats (1926)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • "John Willie, Come On!" is a Lancashire dialect song about a man who visits London with his wife; it was written, recorded and sung by the comic performer George Formby.

    In his study Victorian Song From Dive To Drawing Room, Maurice Willson Disher blamed Formby and this song in particular for the "Simple Simon" attitude supposedly adopted towards people with Lancashire accents which it is said makes it difficult for them to be taken seriously.
  • "John Willie, Come On!" was published by Francis, Day & Hunter of London in 1909; according to the on-line discography of the George Formby Appreciation Society, it was recorded by Formby on June 11, 1926 for Edison Bell/Winner. But George Formby was born on May 26, 1904, which means he would have had to have been an extraordinary child prodigy to write this song.

    The solution to this conundrum is that there were two George Formbys! The first was born in 1875 as James Booth; he took the stage name Formby after a Lancashire town. After his death in 1921, his son decided to follow in his father's footsteps, performing initially as George Hoy, his mother's maiden name to avoid trading on his father's reputation - although he based his act on his father's songs.

    It was not though until he took up the ukulele that he became first a national, and then an international star. Because he rose to greater heights than his father, George Formby Junior is known simply as George Formby, while his father is now alluded to as George Formby Senior.
  • In spite of its obvious Lancashire connection, if you listen closely you will hear an echo of the French national anthem, "La Marseillaise", in the opening bars of the original 1908 recording of "John Willie, Come On!" >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 3

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Michelle Branch

Michelle BranchSongwriter Interviews

Michelle Branch talks about "Everywhere," "The Game Of Love," and her run-in with a Christian broadcasting network.

Linda Perry

Linda PerrySongwriter Interviews

Songwriting Hall of Famer Linda Perry talks about her songs "What's Up" and "Beautiful," her songwriting process, and her move into film music.

Alan Merrill of The Arrows

Alan Merrill of The ArrowsSongwriter Interviews

In her days with The Runaways, Joan Jett saw The Arrows perform "I Love Rock And Roll," which Alan Merrill co-wrote - that story and much more from this glam rock pioneer.

70s Music Quiz 1

70s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

The '70s gave us Muppets, disco and Van Halen, all which show up in this groovy quiz.

Lori McKenna

Lori McKennaSongwriter Interviews

Lori's songs have been recorded by Faith Hill and Sara Evans. She's performed on the CMAs and on Oprah. She also has five kids.

Supertramp founder Roger Hodgson

Supertramp founder Roger HodgsonSongwriter Interviews

Roger tells the stories behind some of his biggest hits, including "Give a Little Bit," "Take the Long Way Home" and "The Logical Song."