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Florrie Forde (16 August 1875 – 18 April 1940), born Flora May Augusta Flannagan, was an Australian popular singer and entertainer. She was one of the greatest stars of the early 20th Century music hall.

Forde was born in Fitzroy, Melbournemarker, Australia in 1875, the sixth of the eight children of Lott Flannagan, and Phoebe - who also had two children from a prior marriage. At the age of sixteen, she ran away from home to appear on the Sydneymarker music hall stage, adopting the last name of her stepfather. At the age of 21 in 1897, she left for Londonmarker, and on August Bank Holiday 1897, she made her first appearances in London at three music halls — the South London Palace, the Pavilion and the Oxford — in the course of one evening. She became an immediate star, making the first of her many sound recordings in 1903, and making 700 individual recordings by 1936.

Forde had a powerful stage presence, and specialised in songs that had powerful and memorable choruses in which the audience was encouraged to join. She married in 1909 and was soon drawing top billing, singing songs such as Down At The Old Bull And Bush and Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?. She appeared in the very first Royal Command Performance in 1912. During World War I, her most famous songs were some of the best known of the period, including Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag and It's A Long Way To Tipperary.

Florrie Forde formed her own travelling Review in the 1920s. It provided a platform for new rising stars, the most famous being the singing duo of Flanagan and Allen. She collapsed and died after singing for troops in Aberdeenmarker, Scotlandmarker of a cerebral haemorrhage on 18 April 1940.

The Anglo-Irish poet Louis MacNeice left a tribute to her in a poem, 'Death of An Actress', recalling how:
With an elephantine shimmy and a sugared wink

She threw a trellis of Dorothy Perkins roses

Around an audience come from slum and suburb

And weary of the tea-leaves in the sink.

She is buried in Streatham Park Cemetery London.

Selected Songs

  • Down At The Old Bull And Bush
  • She's a Lassie from Lancashire
  • Oh! Oh! Antonio!
  • Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?
  • Flanagan
  • Take Me Back To Dear Old Blighty
  • Hold Your Hand Out, Naughty Boy
  • Goodbye-ee
  • Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage
  • Daisy Bell
  • I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside
  • Now I Have to Call him Father
  • Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag
  • It's A Long Way To Tipperary


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