Baritone singer Edmund Hockridge was at his height in the mid-'50s, at a time when big ballad singers ruled the charts just before rock & roll came along. Born in Vancouver on the 9th August 1919, he studied the piano and was heard by John Charles Thomas the New York Metropolitan Opera star who heard him singing in church while in London during World War II. Back in Canada, he won a Forces club amateur talent contest in 1941 which led to engagements on the radio shows [RoviLink="VW"]Maple Leaf Matinee and [RoviLink="VW"]Johnny Canuck's Revue. Spending time travelling between London and Vancouver, he also performed on the BBC with the Queen's Hall Light Orchestra and the Melachrino Strings.
Hockridge appeared in several Gilbert & Sullivan opera and also sung the roles of Don Giovanni and Peter Grimes as well as leading roles in London's West End productions of Carousel, Guys And Dolls, Can Can and The Pajama Game during the early 1950s. He began recording at this time and enjoyed three British hit singles, the biggest being his version of "Young and Foolish," which hit the Top 10 in March 1956, his other hit singles being "No Other Love" and "By the Fountains of Rome" (both in 1956). Still, he never charted again after this, apart from two EPs in the separate EP charts -- Most Happy Fella and The Music Man in 1960 -- despite releasing over 20 singles for various labels and over 15 albums.
Working as a cabaret performer around the world, he invited his family, wife and two sons to join him on stage as the Hockridge Family Singers and continued to perform on stage until his retirement in the 1990s. EMI released a CD of his work from the early 1950s titled Songs From The Great American Musicals and they also released a 20 track compilation, The Best of Edmund Hockridge in 2003 and followed that with a 25 track compilation, The Ultimate Collection in 2007. ~ Sharon Mawer
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