Hughie Charles

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b. 24 July 1907, Manchester, England, d. 6 October 1995, Eastbourne, Sussex, England. A songwriter and theatre producer, Hughie Charles and his early collaborator Ross Parker, were responsible for two…
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b. 24 July 1907, Manchester, England, d. 6 October 1995, Eastbourne, Sussex, England. A songwriter and theatre producer, Hughie Charles and his early collaborator Ross Parker, were responsible for two of the most fondly remembered popular anthems of World War II - ‘There’ll Always Be An England’ and ‘We’ll Meet Again’. An outstanding sportsman in his youth, Charles turned down the opportunity to play for Lancashire County Cricket Club in favour of a career in music. He formed his own dance band which played at venues around Manchester, before moving to London and working in music publishing. In 1939, at the outbreak of war, he took over the running of the Irwin Dash Music Company when its owner returned home to the USA. A year earlier, he and Ross Parker had enjoyed their first hit, ‘I Won’t Tell A Soul (That I Love You)’. They followed that in 1939 with the defiantly optimistic ‘There’ll Always Be An England’ and ‘We’ll Meet Again’, both of which were successful for Vera Lynn, and many other artists. Throughout the war years, Charles wrote more than 50 songs, mostly ballads, in collaboration with such as Parker, Sonny Miller, Joe Irwin, Roma C. Hunter, Leo Towers, Louis Elton, Joe Lubin, and Noel Gay. These included ‘Blue Skies Are Round The Corner’, ‘I Shall Be Waiting’, ‘Russian Rose’, ‘The King Is Still In London’, ‘I Shall Always Remember You Smiling’, ‘Silver Wings In The Moonlight’, ‘There’s A Land Of Begin Again’, ‘When They Sound The Last All Clear’, ‘By Candlelight’, ‘Where The Waters Are Blue’, ‘Till Stars Forget To Shine’, ‘Sing A Song Of Tomorrow-Today’, ‘Journey’s End’, ‘The Wedding Waltz’, and ‘Till All Our Prayers Are Answered’. When peace came, Charles joined the Jack Hylton theatrical production organization, eventually becoming its general manager. He played an important role in the presentation of imported US extravaganzas such as Kiss Me, Kate, Call Me Madam, and Kismet, as well as the legendary long-running Crazy Gang shows. In the 60s he ran his own production company for a time, before retiring to Sussex in the early 70s with his second wife, the former musical comedy actress Joan Mann. In 1986, Charles received the prestigious Jimmy Kennedy Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.