Basil Hood

b. 5 April 1864, Yorkshire, England, d. 7 August 1917, London, England. After studying at Wellington and Sandhurst, Hood became a regular officer in the British army. He began writing for British musical…
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Artist Biography

b. 5 April 1864, Yorkshire, England, d. 7 August 1917, London, England. After studying at Wellington and Sandhurst, Hood became a regular officer in the British army. He began writing for British musical theatre, his first short work being The Gypsies (1890). He wrote lyrics for Lionel Monckton’s ‘What Will You Have To Drink?’, and also wrote two more short works before Gentleman Joe (1895), his first complete score. The show was a sufficient success for Hood to resign his commission. He wrote The French Maid, with music composed by William Slaughter, which opened in Bath in 1896 before moving to London the following year. Hood wrote other light shows, including collaborating with Arthur Sullivan, who had fallen out with W.S. Gilbert. With Sullivan, Hood wrote The Rose Of Persia (1899) and began The Emerald Isle (1901). When Sullivan died, Hood completed the score with Edward German and this new team then went on to write Merrie England (1902) and Princess Of Kensington (1903). He wrote lyrics for more Monckton songs, for The Girls Of Gottenberg (1907), although for many of his most successful shows in the years leading up to World War I Hood alone wrote book and lyrics.

At producer George Edwardes’ request, Hood turned to adapting German and Viennese operettas, which is where he found his métier. Often discarding the original premise, he helped create lively and very popular operettas. During these years, Hood worked on shows for London’s West End and New York’s Broadway, among them The Merry Widow (1907), The Dollar Princess (1908), A Waltz Dream (1911), The Count Of Luxemburg (1911) and Gypsy Love (1912). In 1913, he wrote The Pearl Girl, but when war broke out in 1914 Hood returned to the military, going to work at the War Office in London where he threw himself into his tasks. So much so, that his sudden death appears to have been from exhaustion.