This edition of The Archive Hour not only shines a spotlight on the lesser-known stars of the British music hall but also reveals how this cultural phenomenon is surviving, thanks to a team of dedicated archivists who are using their computers to store recordings that go as far back as the 1890s.
by Johnny Foreigner
Anytime I see a photo of the “Changing of the Guards” in London, I’m reminded of the children’s song “Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace,” inspired by A. A. Milne and made a hit song by young Ann Stephens in 1941.
London-born Ann Stephens (21 May 1931 – 15 July 1966) was the first to record “Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace.” Stephens was a British child actress and singer, popular throughout the 1940s.
Like most many American baby boomers, I first heard this song on the Captain Kangaroo Show. That version was made in 1959 by late British variety performer Max Bygraves.
Bygraves’ onstage catchphrase “I wanna tell you a story,” is only slightly better than Marty Allen’s “Hello Dere!” – but Bygraves is a much better singer. Give a listen to this video we nicked.
Which version do you like better?
Max Bygraves’ 1959 version “They’re Changing Guards at Buckingham Palace”