Jack Hylton's Life
Jack was born in Bolton, Lancashire on 2nd July 1892. He accompanied his father on the piano and sang in clubs as the "Singing Mill Boy". He became relief pianist for several bands and went on to play for the Queens Dance Orchestra. Here he arranged and recorded popular songs 'Directed by Jack Hylton' and created his own band.
He started recording under his own name in 1923 and became so popular he had to provide bands in several locations at the same time. The performances also included variety performers and soloists, and they toured America and Europe. He was one of the directors of the Decca record label. The band finished in the early 1940s due to many members being called into war service.
His career then changed direction and, as a theatrical impressario, he discovered many well known artists and produced talent shows. His musical productions dominated the London theatres at the time. Some well known stars working for him were Morecambe & Wise, Shirley Bassey, Arthur Askey, George Formby, Vera Lynn and the Crazy Gang.
Later, whilst continuing to produce theatre productions, he became head of Light Entertainment for Associated Redifussion (the new ITV channel) and promoted many of his stars on TV. He died in 1965 whilst his stage production 'Camelot' was being performed.
Many of his friends and colleagues arranged a gala performance 'The Stars Shine for Jack' in his memory. The proceeds were donated by the family and trustees of his estate to Lancaster University which was being built at the time. The money helped finance the building of the music rooms, hence the Jack Hylton Music Rooms.