Percy Greenbank

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b. 24 January 1878, London, England, d. 9 December 1968, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, England. Like his older brother, Harry Greenbank, Percy worked first as a journalist before entering the theatre…
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b. 24 January 1878, London, England, d. 9 December 1968, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, England. Like his older brother, Harry Greenbank, Percy worked first as a journalist before entering the theatre as a songwriter. At the behest of George Edwardes, when Harry died he began writing lyrics for songs for interpolation into musical comedies the impresario produced at his theatres, including the Gaiety and Daly’s. Among composers and other lyricists with whom Greenbank collaborated were Ivan Caryll, Lilian Eldée, Harry Graham, Seymour Hicks, Frederick Lonsdale, Lionel Monckton, Adrian Ross, Paul Rubens, Howard Talbot, Fred Thompson and Hadyn Wood.

The first of the shows was The Messenger Boy (1900), writing the lyric for the title song, and he added new material to the previous year’s San Toy on which his brother had worked, notably ‘Somebody’ and ‘All I Want Is A Little Bit Of Fun’. Through the next two decades he collaborated on songs included in The Toreador and The Gay Cadets (both 1901), A Country Girl and Three Little Maids (both 1902), My Lady Molly, The Orchid and The Earl And The Girl (all 1903), The Blue Moon, The Cingalee, Véronique and Lady Madcap (all 1904), The Little Michus (with Greenbank writing English lyrics for the original Les P’tites Michu) and The Spring Chicken (both 1905), The Girl Behind The Counter, See See, The New Aladdin and Two Naughty Boys (all 1906), The Three Kisses (1907), The Belle Of Brittany (1908), Our Miss Gibbs and A Persian Princess (both 1909), The Quaker Girl (1910), The Mousmé (1911), Princess Caprice, Autumn Manoeuvres and The Dancing Mistress (all 1912), The Girl From Utah (1913), The Cinema Star, After The Girl and Tonight’s The Night (all 1914, the latter in New York), Tina (1915), Houp-La! (1916) and The Boy (1917). In the years following the end of WW1, Greenbank’s contributions continued although for fewer productions: The Girl For The Boy, The Kiss Call (both 1919), My Nieces (1921), The Little Duchess (1922), The Street Singer (1924), and Yvonne (1926), for which he wrote the English libretto based upon the original German production. That show, his last important work, had music and lyrics by Jean Gilbert and Vernon Duke. Although he continued to work on occasional projects, from the early 30s Greenbank was effectively in retirement from the theatre.