b. 21 August 1910, London, England, d. 1994, Majorca, Spain. Prolific writer of light orchestral music, whose ‘Puffin’ Billy’ is instantly recognisable in Britain and the USA through its use as a signature tune - in the UK for the BBC’s Children’s Favourites, and in the USA for Captain Kangaroo. The tune’s association with these popular children’s programmes has ensured that it remains in demand by television advertisers today. White was a natural musician, largely self-taught, whose early career (as Teddy White) found him variously on violin, alto saxophone and clarinet with leading London dance bands, especially Lou Preager. As a composer he achieved early success with ‘Desert Star’ thanks to a Jack Harris 1939 record for HMV Records. When RAF duties permitted, he continued broadcasting during World War II. By the end of the 40s his career as an orchestra leader and composer was firmly established, with regular work for the BBC and publishers’ mood music libraries. Charles Williams recorded his ‘Runaway Rocking Horse’ in 1946, and other successes quickly followed, such as ‘Caprice For Strings’, ‘Clockwork Clown’, ‘Effervescence’, Cabana’, ‘Fairy On The Fiddles’, ‘Idle Jack’, ‘White Wedding’, ‘Yodelling Strings’, ‘Leading Lady’, ‘Paris Interlude’ and ‘The Roundabout’. In 1961 the very first stereo 45 single released in Britain featured The Sound Of Ed White playing his compositions ‘Coral Reef’ and ‘Tropical Blue’ (Pye 7NSR 15320). White’s best-known piece ‘Puffin’ Billy’ (1954) was simply one of a number of short works he composed for London publishers Chappells. It was inspired by a trip to the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England, where he saw some antiquated steam engines, one of which had ‘Puffin’ Billy’ on the front. ‘Puffin Billy’ was most recently used as the opening theme to the Comic Strips’ two parodies of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five adventures. He was married to singer Janie Marden, who pre-deceased him.
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