Wednesday, June 4, 2014

At the Music Hall: “I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside,” 1907

At the sea, the cast of  Upstairs, Downstairs.

Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside
I do like to be beside the sea!
I do like to stroll upon the Prom, Prom, Prom!
Where the brass bands play: "Tiddely-om-pom-pom!"

You can still hear these words being sung at a good many English pubs late at night. This popular song, written in 1907 by John A. Clover-Kind was a favorite of the music hall crowds of the early Twentieth Century. A tune about a jubilant afternoon spent on the beach, it cheered people with images of August Bank Holiday and much-deserved, much-needed rest. In 1909, Mark Sheridan—a celebrated performer of his day—made this song one of his signature tunes. As the English working class was given more freedom to take trips to the seaside, this continued to be a much beloved song—symbolic of their rise in station.

At some point in your life, you’ve no doubt heard this song. It has been featured in a variety of films and television shows for as long as those media have existed. One famous rendition is from the 1939 film “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” in which Basil Rathbone (as Holmes in disguise) gives a rousing rendition of this fun song. A clip is below.

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