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
Ann Stephens’ version “They’re Changing Guards at Buckingham Palace” 1941
Anytime I see the image of the Changing of the Guards, I’m reminded of this childern’s song.
London-born Ann Stephens (21 May 1931 – 15 July 1966) was the first to record “Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace” in 1941. Stephens was a British child actress and singer, popular throughout the 1940s.
In 1941 she recorded “Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace”, inspired by A. A. Milne’s verses about Christopher Robin (music by Harold Fraser-Simson)
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 slightlt 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”