George Melly was not just a Jazz singer, he was also a lecturer, critic, writer and a good all round entertainer. He had a tremendous sense of humor and a real party spirit.
George was born in Liverpool in 1926 on august the 17th and he attended Stowe Street School where he soon showed interest in music and art especially jazz and surrealism. He joined the navy at the end of World War 2 and was given a desk job which is not what he wanted. Although he was never involved in any combat he did serve actively at sea for a short period.
From the late 1940’s, George found himself moving into the jazz music scene, working with ‘The Magnolia Jazz Band’ who were a trad band in the New Orleans style which was to become very popular in the early 60’s through players like Acker Bilk.
It was around this time when jazz was becoming more popular that George surprisingly moved to a new career working for The Observer newspaper as their TV & Film critic, and also writing for the Daily Mail.
A return to jazz was going to be an obvious move for George and he began working with ‘The Feetwarmers’ in the 70’s and continued with them for the following 20 years. He released three albums during this time and wrote about their gigs and tours in Punch magazine. ‘The Stranglers’ wrote the song ‘Old Codger’ for him and they recorded it with him in 1978.
Amongst his other activities he was BHA president for 3 years in the early 70’s and associated with ‘The appreciation of Max Miller society’ along with other well known performers.
George had moved towards a more heterosexual way of life in his thirties and married twice. He had 2 children, Pandora to his first wife and Tom to his second wife Diana. He lived with Diana in the Brecon Beacons until 1999. He loved fly fishing and spent hours on the river Usk which he bought a mile length of for his personal use.
His last appearance was a charity benefit show in London at the 100 Club in June 2007.
George had been suffering with lung cancer and emphysema for some time and at the age of 80 he finally passed away at his home in London.
The BBC broadcasted a tribute to him “George Melly’s Last Stand” in 2008.