DAN DONOVAN on record by Peter Wallace

Dan Donovan is best remembered for being principal vocalist with the Debroy Somers Band (April 1930-August 1934) and with The BBC Dance Orchestra directed by Henry Hall (September 1934-May 1937). As well as being a familiar voice over the airwaves, Dan made over 500 commercial recordings during the 1930s, most of them as dance band vocalist. These are almost all listed in the British Dance Band Discography and so I have only listed the number of Danís recordings with each band. Dan recorded with many different combinations when he was a member of the Debroy Somers band but his BBC contract did not permit him to continue with freelance work when he was Henry Hallís principal vocalist.

Following this I have listed other recordings, principally his solo discs, in the first attempt at a Dan Donovan discography. The information given is incomplete, and I would welcome additions and corrections so that we can publish a complete listing. Please send further information to me at british-dance-bands@hotmail.com

Peter Wallace October 2000


AS VOCALIST WITH THE DANCE BANDS (Main Reference Source: British Dance Bands On Record 1911 to 1945 by Brian Rust & Sandy Forbes. General Gramophone Publications Ltd 1987)

Note: The totals given below also include Danís recordings as a member of vocal trios etc.

with Bertini (19 recordings)

Record labels: Sterno; Eclipse

1931 = 3

1933 = 6

1934 = 10

with Harry Bidgood (16 recordings)

Record label: Broadcast

1930 = 12

1931 = 4

with Chris Denver (George Scott Wood?) (2 recordings)

Record label: Trusound

1933 = 2

with Howard Flynn (Stanley Barnett) (4 recordings)

Record label: Edison Bell Winner

1933 = 4

with Stan Greening (7 recordings)

Record label: Regal)

1930 = 2

1931 = 5

with Henry Hall (122 recordings)

Record label: Columbia

1934 = 16

1935 = 64

1936 = 34

1937 = 8

with Charlie Kunz (17 recordings)

Record labels: Sterno; 4-in-1; Homochord

1933 = 9

1934 = 8

with Harry Leader (2 recordings)

Record label: Eclipse

1934 = 2

with Benny Loban (2 recordings)

Record label: Sterno

1931 = 2

with Madame Tussaudís Dance Orchestra dir.Stanley Barnett (2 recordings)

Record label: Edison Bell Winner

1934 = 2

with Mantovani (4 recordings)

Record labels: Sterno: Homochord; Plaza; Lewis

1934 = 4

with Orlando (2 recordings)

Record label: HMV

1937 = 2

with Oscar Rabin (37 recordings)

Record labels: Sterno; Plaza

1933 = 37

with Scott Wood (2 recordings)

1934 = 2

with Debroy Somers (205 recordings)

Record labels: Columbia, Regal

1930 = 41

1931 = 72

1932 = 48

1933 = 25

1934 = 19

with Nat Star (39 recordings)

Record labels: Sterno; Solex; Plaza; Peacock; Lewis

1930 = 8

1931 = 24

1933 = 7

with Jay Wilbur (12 recordings)

Record labels: Broadcast; Broadcast 4 Tune; Rex

1932 = 2

1933 = 10


During 1938, Dan Donovan and his Music were resident at the Lansdowne Restaurant in London. On March 7th they recorded four titles for HMV: Sheís The Daughter Of The Old Grey Mare; Three Green Bonnets; Rose of Tralee; and ĎTis I Myself.

DAN DONOVAN (solos and other recordings not included in Rust/Forbes)

This listing has been compiled with the assistance of Terry Brown, Harold Kaye, Barry McCanna, Mike Taylor, Mike Thomas, and with special help from Douglas Gardner.


c. June 1932

202 To Have And Hold You In My Arms Broadcast 870A

203 Iím So Alone With The Crowd Broadcast 870B

QUENTIN M.MACLEAN at the Wurlitzer Organ, Vocalist: Dan Donovan

The Trocadero Cinema, Elephant & Castle, London, S.E.

18th August 1932

WA-12940-1 It Was So Beautiful Col.DB 904 / STE 1016(CD)

WA-12491-1 The Clouds Will Soon Roll By Col. DB 904 / STE 1016(CD)


c. July/August 1933

I Cover The Waterfront Rex 8009

When Old Friends Drifting Apart Rex 8009


DAN DONOVAN (Tenor in English with Orch.) (1937/1938)

OEA-4986-1 The Greatest Mistake Of My Life HMV BD-438

OEA-4987-1 Little Old Lady Of Poverty Street HMV BD-438

OEA-5111- Silvery Moon And Golden Sands HMV BD-463

OEA-5112- Little Old Lady HMV BD-463

OEA-5432-1 September In The Rain HMV BD-448

OEA-5433-1 Little Irish Home HMV BD-448

Iíll Marry Ye When Me Garden Grows HMV BD-455

Daughter Of Mother Machree HMV BD-455


DAN DONOVAN Tenor accompanied by Charles Ernesto & his Quintet

Irish Medley Ė Pt.1 (When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, Little Bit HMV BD-479

Of Heaven, Off To Philadelphia, Mountains Of Mourne)

Irish Medley Ė Pt.2 (Believe Me, If All Those Endearing, HMV BD-479

Little Town In Old County Down)

DAN DONOVAN (Tenor in English with Orchestra)

The Girl In The Alice Blue Gown HMV BD-500

On Linger Longer Island HMV BD-500

All The Way From Ireland HMV BD-517

My Irish Song HMV BD-517

Spring Time In County Clare HMV BD-562

God Remembers Everything HMV BD-562

SINGERS ON PARADE(Parts 3 & 4) with Felix Mendelssohn and his Orchestra.

London. c.October 1938

DR-2983- Marjorie Stedeford: Love Walked In; Jack Plant: Time And DECCA F.6832

Time; Dinah Miller: Itís DíLovely.

DR-2984- DAN DONOVAN: The Red Maple Leaves; Alice Mann: DECCA F.6832

Says My Heart; Jack Cooper: Music Maestro Please.

DAN DONOVAN acc. By Frank Dey at the Hammond Organ

* with the addition of Len Stevens at the piano

London 5th November 1938

CAR- Change Partners RZ MR-2895

CAR-5152-1 You Go To My Head RZ MR-2896

CAR-5153-1 On The Sentimental Side* RZ MR-2896

CAR- Music Maestro Please* RZ MR-2895


P J Wallace 10/00

reproduced from the files of the British dance bands yahoogroup with the permission of Peter Wallace

this page first published by John Wright, 9 July 2001
last update 9 July 2012vintage@r2ok.co.uk

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