Elton Hayes

Over the last few years Geoff Waite has very kindly shared details of his research into the life and music of  Elton Hayes.  As regular readers of the blog will know Elton was a huge success as Allan-a-Dale in Walt Disney's live action movie the Story of Robin Hood (1952). Sadly today, Elton Hayes is almost completely forgotten.

A few weeks ago I uploaded a poster advertising Elton at the Liverpool Empire in the early 1950's and Geoff has added some more fascinating details about 'the man with the small guitar.'

Geoff says:

"With reference to the poster of Elton Hayes at the Liverpool Empire, Neil was wondering about his stage act. I am attaching a copy of one of Elton’s programmes that provides details of some of the songs he featured in his regular act. As he was sharing billing with other artists at the Liverpool Empire, presumably Elton’s act was reduced to a much smaller number of songs on that occasion, so this programme would have been produced for his solo appearances around the country.

Neil is not far wrong when he says that the film left Elton as image goes in medieval mode, but I don’t think he would have minded too much. His live performances had always relied heavily on songs from the 18th and 19thcenturies even before he starting making records and Disney beckoned. He specialised in old English folk songs and ballads, arranging them himself to suit his distinctive singing style. Some of these he used to good effect when he appeared in the restoration play ‘The Beaux Stratagem’ during its 18 month run from 1949 at the Phoenix and Lyric Theatres in London.

Some of the folk songs featured in the programme have been around for so long that they have acquired more than one title.  For example, ‘A Mock Song’ was recorded by Elton as the beautiful ’tis true I never was in love’ and ‘The Phoenix’ became ‘I Pass All My Hours’. ‘The Unquiet Grave’ is also known as ‘Cold Blows the Wind’ and rather more obviously ‘My Lady Greensleeves’ is just known as ‘Greensleeves’.

There is a small printing error. ‘Adelphi Archer’s’ should read ‘Adelphi Arches’. Perhaps Elton was thinking of his Robin Hood days!
Whilst the listing is mostly old folk songs I see that he was intending to include some….'Modern, Traditional and Folk Songs of the British Isles’ so I would like to think that Elton sang ‘Whistle my Love’ somewhere in his act. I am pretty certain the programme was printed long after the release of the Disney film. As he was also intending to sing some of the Edward Lear nonsense songs he recorded, such as ‘The Owl and the Pussy Cat’ it must have been quite a show, I wish I had been there!

Elton’s farewell concert was in Woolwich in November 1967 and then he retired from show business to farm and latterly he took up new interests in carriage driving and playing and composing music for the post horn. 

You mention Elton’s nineteen-city tour of the USA and Canada, and I am also sending you a couple of extracts from Parlophone Record Bulletins for May and December 1952. In the May edition, Parlophone mention Elton’s impending visit to America to promote Disney’s Robin Hood film. It confirms that he was due to sail in the Queen Mary on 8 May 1952. The ‘new’ Elton release the bulletin is promoting was ‘The Miller’s Daughter’ which is a folk song penned by Elton himself  In the December edition is a nice little comment by Elton about his recipe for success. The bulletins show just how popular Elton was back in the 1950’s."

A special thank you to Geoff for all his help in supplying information on the life and career of Elton Hayes. We now have 18 pages about 'the man with the small guitar' and of course he will always be our favorite Allan-a-Dale from that wonderful film. To see the many pictures, discography and life story of Elton Hayes please click here.


Clement of the Glen said...

A big thank you to Geoff Waite for all this information about 'Our' Allan-a -Dale, Elton Hayes.

I am sure we would all have liked to have seen him in concert!

Clement of the Glen said...

Just to make all my readers aware of Neil's terrific new blog :


There will be a couple of links on here soon. It's well worth a visit!!

Neil said...

Thanks for the promotion above of my Blog which concentrates on 50s films on very much a random basis just as the whim takes me. Hope you like it.
The details that Geoff has obtained on Elton Hayes are most interesting and it seems his entertainment career lasted well over 40 years. I have a feeling that he served in the forces during the war.
I also accessed the following:-

He was highly nervous before live performances and so retired from show business in the 1960s. He bought a small thatched cottage on the Essex-Suffolk border and, after studying at a local agricultural college, became a farmer, breeding pedigree livestock. He took up carriage driving and became a member of the British Driving Society.

After suffering a stroke in 1995, Hayes had to give up his farm and moved to live with friends, who cared for him until his death. He married in 1942, Betty Inman, who died in 1982.

Clement of the Glen said...

He certainly did join the forces during the war and thanks to Geoff we now know a great deal more about Elton.

This is the link that has details about the early days of Elton:

and there is also his obituary here:

We also have song lists and discography's-all kindly supplied by Geoff.