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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Leslie "Hutch" Hutchinson.................

Leslie Arthur Julien Hutchinson, known as "Hutch" (born Gouyave, Grenada, 7 March, 1900 – died London, England, 18 August, 1969) was one of the biggest cabaret stars in the world during the 1920s and 1930s.

Born in Grenada in 1900 to George Hutchinson and Marianne (née Turnbull), he took piano lessons as a child.  He moved to New York City in his teens, originally to take a degree in medicine as he won a place due to his high aptitude, and began playing the piano and singing in bars. He then joined a black band led by Henry "Broadway" Jones, who often played for white millionaires such as the Vanderbilts, attracting the wrath of the Ku Klux Klan. In 1924 he left America for Paris, where he had a residency in Joe Zelli's club and became a friend and lover of Cole Porter.  He was for some time the highest paid star in Britain and was one of the biggest stars during the twenties and thirties in the UK.

"Hutch" was rumoured to have been a bisexual and was alleged to have had relationships with Ivor Novello, Merle Oberon, and actress Tallulah Bankhead. The rumours include affairs with Edwina Mountbatten and members of the British Royal Family which supposedly led to his social ostracism and the destruction of his professional career.

Encouraged by his lover Edwina Mountbatten, he came to England in 1927 to perform in a Rodgers and Hart musical, and soon became the darling of society and the population in general. "Hutch" was a favourite singer of the then Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII). He was regularly heard on air with the BBC. One of his greatest hits was "These Foolish Things". He was a much-loved wartime entertainer.

As well as being a friend and lover of Cole Porter, he recorded several of his songs, including "Begin the Beguine" and Porter's list song "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)", to which he supposedly made up some 70 new verses.

He married Ella Byrd, a woman of African, English, and Chinese ancestry, in 1923 or 1924 in New York City  Their daughter, Lesley Bagley Yvonne, was born on 9 April 1926. Hutch would go on to sire six further children to five different mothers. Gordon was born in August 1928, Gabrielle in September 1930, Gerald and Chris in 1948, and Graham (Chris' full brother) in 1953, and Emma in April 1964.

Leslie Hutchinson suffered from ill-health in his later years and died from pneumonia on 19 August, 1969. Only 42 people attended his funeral.

A dreadfully racist article, IMHO..... Unpleasant enough that I won't reprint it here....from:

Ekkkk.........tedious scandal crap. I love his voice. I'm not even going to go into my feelings on the prevailing racial attitudes of the time...blah, blah, blah.....I just know that it has kept an amazing talent from reaching a wider audience, based on that talent alone.  I don't have a lot of it is.

With a song in my heart 1930
How deep is the ocean
This is worth fighting for
Begin the beguine
He loves and she loves
A foggy day
All I do is dream of you
Close your eyes
Deep purple
Don't blame me
Dream shadows
Dusty shoes
East of the sun west of the moon
For all we know
Let's do it (let's fall in love)
Have you forgotten so soon
Night and day
You are
You go to my head
The way you look tonight
When you wish upon a star/the old music box medley
What is this thing called love


  1. hi,
    i've been collecting hutch recordings for quite some time. this filled in a few gaps.
    mine are all on 78s, some of the are digitised, let me know if you want them!
    email if you do want them, i also have ade a couple of torrents, 78 rpm records uploaded by djoutrage parts 1 and 2 with some of his recordings in.

  2. Hi,

    I am working on a docu film about UK black music and would like to include some images of Leslie Hutchinson. Please could you let me know where you found the 2 images so I can get clearances to use within the film?