DESCRIPTION: "I've seen a deal of gaiety throughout my noisy life; With all my grand accomplishments I ne'er could get a wife... For Champagne Charlie is my name (x2), Good for any game at night my boys." The singer details his drunken life
AUTHOR: Music by Alfred Lee/Words by Lee and/or George Leybourne
EARLIEST DATE: 1864
KEYWORDS: drink nonballad courting
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (7 citations):
RJackson-19CPop, pp. 47-52, "Champagne Charlie" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gilbert, pp. 60-61, "Champaign Charlie" (1 text)
Scott-EnglishSB, pp. 116-117, "Champagne Charlie" (1 text, 1 tune)
WolfAmericanSongSheets, #279, p. 20, "Champagne Charlie" (1 reference)
ADDITIONAL: Peter Davison, _Songs of The British Music Hall_, Oak, 1971, pp. 16-18, "Champaigne Charlie" (1 text, 1 tune, plus a photo of the sheet music cover)
Aline Waites & Robin Hunter, _The Illustrated Victorian Songbook_, Michael Joseph Ltd., 1984, pp. 92-94, "Champagne Charlie" (1 text, 1 tune)
Reginald Nettel, _Seven Centuries of Popular Song_, Phoenix House, 1956, p. 209, "(no title)" (partial text)
Blind [Arthur] Blake, "Champaign [sic] Charlie Is My Name" (Paramount 13137/Crown 3357, 1932; on BefBlues3)
Champaigne Charlie No. 2 ("Some time ago I had a beau, and Charlie was his name") (WolfAmericanSongSheets p. 20, presumably a parody of "Champagne Charlie")
NOTES: This is one of several songs developed as vehicles for George Leybourne (real name: Joe Saunders; c. 1842-1884), a singer and actor who made a living spoofing the life of upper-class British society. As "Heavy Swell," Leybourne exaggerated the hard-drinking, hard-gambling life of the young London dandy -- but only slightly.
Of all the songs Leybourne used, this was the most popular. It is, however, questionable whether he actually had a hand in the lyrics; many believe that they, like the tune, come from Alfred Lee. In America, it also received two new texts, one by H.J. Whymark and another by George Cooper.
Waites & Hunter make the interesting observation that this started a sort of a songwriting race between George Leybourne and his rival Albert Vance. Freely accepting subsidies from the liquor industry, they started singing the praises of various intoxicating beverages, working their way down the price scale until Vance hit bottom with "Beautiful Beer." Other than this song, however, none of these productions seems to have been in any way memorable. - RBW
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