b. Oscar Rabinowitz, 26 April 1899, Latvia, Russia, d. 20 June 1958, England. An extremely popular figure on the British dance band scene from the 30s through to the 50s. After emigrating to England with his parents when he was a small child, Rabin won a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music and led his own outfit while in his teens. In the late 20s he formed a small dance band with singer and actor Harry Davis, and their association lasted for some 25 years. Davis fronted the bands, and Rabin, who was a fine musician and an astute businessman but did not have the extrovert personality necessary to lead on the stand, concentrated on playing the saxophone. They spent most of the 30s resident at two prestige London venues, the Astoria, Charing Cross Road and the Hammersmith Palais, and their first recordings to be released were made early in 1933. A hectic touring schedule during the 40s was followed by a long spell at Mecca’s Lyceum Ballroom in the Strand in the 50s. Harry Davis left the organization in 1951, and was replaced by David Ede, who continued to lead the band for some years after Rabin’s death in 1958. Many talented artists have reason to be grateful for the showcase Rabin afforded them over the years, including musicians Don Rendell, Arthur Greenslade, Eddie Harvey, Bill Geldard, Don Pashley, Kenny Clare, Bernie Fenton, Laurie Gold, and vocalists Alan Dean, Bob Dale, Annabelle Lee, Cyril Shane, Marion Williams and Harry Davis’ daughter Beryl Davis, among many others. Rabin also nurtured future top band leaders and arrangers such as Wally Stott, Ken Mackintosh and Tito Burns. Rabin’s attractive and familiar signature tune, ‘Dancing Time’, was written by Jerome Kern and George Grossmith Jnr. for the highly successful 1922 London musical The Cabaret Girl.
Oscar Rabin Biography