Obituary: Hubert W. David

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The Independent Culture
HUBERT W. DAVID was amongst the youngest composers to write a million-selling song, for he was barely 20 when "Felix Kept on Walking" found its place on the hit parade of the day.

It was inevitable that "Micky" David would enter the music business, for he had total encouragement from his father, Worton David, a co-founder in 1914 of the Performing Right Society and famous for his music-hall songs "Hello, Hello, Who's Your Lady Friend?" and "Hold Your Hand Out Naughty Boy".

David began his long career in writing and publishing at the age of 16, joining the Lawrence Wright Music Company and selling sheet music from song shops on the Blackpool Pleasure Beach. He soon turned his hand to songwriting, and achieved early modest success with "Robinson Crusoe Blues", "In the Eyes of the World" and "Oh Star of Eve".

He eventually returned to London, where he and his father began their own publishing company, specialising in novelty songs. A chance meeting with a director of J. Lyons & Co led to a contract to promote the personal waitress service at Lyons Corner Houses. Thus was born the name "Nippy" for the waitresses and "The Nippy Song" to go with them.

David's next venture was as music adviser to the Twickenham Film Studios, which at the time were churning out second feature "B" movies as fast as they could make them. He served a successful two years there before the lure of Tin Pan Alley saw him back in London, working initially for the Peter Maurice Music Company and then for Chappell's. A few years later he opened his own orchestral service supplying music scores and band parts for the many orchestras under the control of the J. Lyons Organisation.

During the Second World War, blitzed out of his London office, he ran his business from home whilst working alternate days and nights with the Civil Defence in Westminster as a rescue-truck driver before joining the Royal Army Service Corps. Upon demob, by now without his orchestral business, it was back to Tin Pan Alley, this time with the Keith Prowse Music Company.

He began writing songs again. "A Rose in a Garden of Weeds", recorded by Donald Peers, was his next hit, closely followed by "The Ring Your Mother Wore", recorded by Matt Monro. He also wrote as a freelance journalist for Odhams Press, contributing three weekly articles, for Melody Maker, Woman and the Sunday People. This led to the request for a column in the Mecca Organisation house magazine Dance News, which later became a commercial magazine with David as sub-editor.

Around the same time BBC television, with the assistance of Eric Morley of Mecca, began a programme called Come Dancing. Naturally the show required a signature tune and Hubert W. David was asked to provide one. Joe Loss recorded it and another success was born.

In 1989 "Micky" David was awarded the Gold Badge of the British Academy of Composers & Songwriters for his loyal services to British Popular Music. He was well known in his later years for his continuous work for the Performing Right Society Members' Fund. For over 35 years he served as Councillor, Chairman, Finance Chairman and Trustee. He was still in harness as an Honorary Consultant at the end.

Hubert Worton David, composer: born Wortley, West Yorkshire 19 May 1904; married 1928 Di Rees (died 1993); died Esher, Surrey 22 April 1999.