Leading dance bands and being the father of a famous female singer must have agreed with Harry Davis--after all, he lived to the ripe old age of 96. A key figure in the history of British dance bands, he formed his initial combo with associate Oscar Rabin, a violinist, in 1922. That was The Romany Five, rulers of the bandstand at the groovy Palais de Dance in Derby. As the group expanded to a full size orchestra, Rabin made an extreme switch in his instrumental contribution, from violin all the way down to bass saxophone. But it was Davis, because of his good looks, who was chosen to be the group's front man. These attractive physical features were passed along to his daughters, one of which was the popular vocalist Beryl Davis. Besides acting as an emcee, Davis was a guitarist bandleader in an era when such a thing was a rarity. Beryl Davis began her career with her father's group but eventually out-sized the old man, developing an international career and performing with the likes of Frank Sinatra. Meanwhile Harry Davis was loyal to his old pal Rabin up until 1951, when he finally struck out on his own. Part of this entailed moving to Hollywood, where he remained until his death.
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