Bill Savill and his Orchestra

Bill SavillBill Savill was born in London on 15th March 1910. In the thirties he played drums for Teddy Brown, fulfilling many engagements at night-clubs such as The Mitre, Golden Square, and 50-50. When war came he joined the RAF and, having attained the rank of Sergeant, was instrumental in forming the dance orchestra of RAF Fighter Command, which he directed until 1944. He also provided the resident band at the Officers' Club, Grosvenor House, between 1942 and 1946. It was with this band, a sextet, that he made his first broadcast in 1943. In fact, he made over 100 'Services Calling' broadcasts, as well as appearances at the Allied Club, Piccadilly, and at St. James's Palace. If this wasn’t enough, he was also Musical Director for a show called 'This is the Gen' at the Phoenix Theatre, West London.

After demobilisation, he formed a civilian orchestra which gave its first broadcast on the Light Programme in 1946. He soon established his own highly distinctive style with this 14-piece dance orchestra, consisting of strings, saxes, piano and rhythm. Familiar names such as Eric Rogers, Neville Hughes, Reg Leopold and Neil Richardson played in the orchestra over the years, the latter being responsible for many of the arrangements.

Bill Savill continued to fulfill engagements at the Dorchester, Claridge's and Hyde Park Hotels and at the Royal Albert Hall. He became very much associated with London's high society, playing for private functions, hunt balls, and charity balls such as the Royal Caledonian Ball, Queen Charlotte's Debutantes’ Ball, and the Westminster Appeal for the Blind Ball to name but a few.

There were also numerous engagements for RAF associations and Masonic and Rotary functions. In 1951, Bill Savill was awarded the Jack Hylton Cup for Musical Directors.

On radio, Bill Savill and his Orchestra were particularly associated with 'Music While You Work' and between July 1946 and September 1967 appeared on no less than 308 programmes, sometimes doing as many as 20 editions in a year. They were the last ballroom orchestra to appear in the series — just nine days before its demise in September 1967. No doubt much of their appeal was due to their individuality of style and the fact that they were one of the few post-war dance orchestras to use a string section instead of brass.

 
Letter to Bill Savill from BBC Light Entertainment Booking Manager
(click pages to read)

From 1957 onwards, they produced a series of superb LPs for Decca, which were not only perfect for dancing but also ideal for listening. The orchestra was augmented from 14 to 19 musicians for these records — a few extra strings were added, as was a trumpet, but this was used most discreetly and the overall sound was very similar to the broadcasts.

After MWYW finished, Bill Savill's broadcasts became infrequent, with occasional appearances in 'Breakfast Special' until the late sixties. For some time, Bill had provided orchestras in his own name for private functions and he continued to do this for many years after broadcasts ceased.

He died on 3rd March 1995.

Click here!
Listen to 'Music While You Work'
played by Bill Savill and his Orchestra
as broadcast at 3.31p.m on 7th October 1964

MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK
played by
Bill Savill and his Orchestra
on 7th October 1964

Calling All Workers (Sig)
I've got you under my skin
This is my lovely day
Most gentlemen don't like love
Ramona
A couple of swells
I got lost in his arms
It's a lovely day today
Bluesette
Hello Dolly
People
No Strings
The Sweetest Sounds
Wrap your troubles in dreams
Chicken Barbecue
If ever I would leave you
The girl from Ipanema
Rosalie
Have you met Miss Jones
Where or when
Rag Doll
Cuban Boy
Descansado
Bali Hai
Young and healthy
Keep young and beautiful
Lullaby of Broadway
Spead a little happiness
Dance little lady
There's no business like show business
Calling All Workers (
Sig)
Eric Coates
Cole Porter
Vivian Ellis
Cole Porter
Mabel Wayne
Irving Berlin
Irving Berlin
Irving Berlin
Toots Thielmans
Jerry Herman
Jule Styne
Richard Rodgers
Richard Rodgers
Harry Barris
Edward Nash
Frederick Loewe
A. Carlos Jobim
Cole Porter
Richard Rodgers
Richard Rodgers
Crewe/Gaudle
Frank Chacksfield
Armado Trovajoli
Richard Rodgers
Harry Warren
Harry Warren
Harry Warren
Vivian Ellis
Noel Coward
Irving Berlin
Eric Coates

Click here!
Listen to 'Music While You Work'
played by Bill Savill and his Orchestra
as broadcast at 3.31p.m. on 18th March 1963

Music While You Work at 3.31 p.m. on 18th March 1963
Played by Bill Savill and his Orchestra

Calling All Workers (Sig)
Let's Face the Music and Dance
I Whistle a Happy Tune
You're the Cream in My Coffee
Lonely
The Best Things in Life are Free
Button Up Your Overcoat
Good News
I'll Follow my Secret Heart
Some Day I'll Find You
The Night has a Thousand Eyes
Bushel and a Peck
If I Were a Bell
Guys and Dolls
Slightly Out of Tune
I Get Along Without You Very Well
Globetrotter
The Street of Linden Trees
Pied Piper
The Last Time I Saw Paris
I Love Paris
C'est Magnifique
Soul Bossa Nova
Betty Dear
Alley Cat
Surrey with the Fringe on Top
Out of My Dreams
People Will Say We're in Love
Broken Date
Together Wherever we go
Everything's Coming Up Roses
Dancing with My Shadow
My Hat's on the Side of My Head
We’ll All Go Riding on a Rainbow
Calling All Workers (
Sig)
Coates
Berlin
Rodgers
De Sylva
Bilk
De Sylva
De Sylva
De Sylva
Coward
Coward
Wayne
Loesser
Loesser
Loesser
Jobim
Carmichael
Meek
Geller
Race
Kern
Porter
Porter
Jones
Agoult
Bjorn
Rodgers
Rodgers
Rodgers
Phillips
Styne
Styne
Wood
Wood
Wood
Coates

CD cover Dutton Vocalion have recently re-released two of Bill Savill's LPs from 1959 on a CD

WE COULD HAVE DANCED ALL NIGHT
The original LP SKL 4019 (1959) STEREO

In A Dancing Mood
The original LP SKL 4065 (1959) STEREO

Click on the picture to order


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Text by Brian Reynolds : e-mail brian@mastersofmelody.co.uk