Sunday, 17 March 2019

Peggy Dell born March 17 1905

Margaret Tisdall (8 January 1906 – 30 April 1979), better known by her stage name Peggy Dell, was an Irish singer and pianist who became a popular music hall entertainer.

Born in Dublin, Tisdall made her first public appearance as a pianist at the age of nine at the Olympia Theatre, where her father played flute with the pit orchestra. Later, at the age of 13, she was employed by Woolworth's to play at their store in Grafton Street in order to improve the sales of sheet music.

While still in her teens Tisdall formed her own band which played at various Dublin venues, such as the Theatre Royal and the Capitol Theatre. In the early 1930s she joined Roy Fox's band in London as his first female singer. For visual appeal on posters and handbills, Peggy Tisdall then adopted the stage name ‘Peggy Dell’ and kept it throughout her subsequent career. A deep voice added to the jazz-band quality of her performance.


She toured the USA to great acclaim with the Jack Hylton Orchestra, returning to Dublin on the eve of the second world war. She turned down a BBC offer of a place in Tommy Handley's new ITMA (‘It's That Man Again’) radio show of 1939–49, a series later enshrined in the canon of British entertainment. 
Nevertheless, in the comparative safety of ‘Emergency’ Dublin, Peggy Dell joined Phil Murtagh's band at the Metropole ballroom on O'Connell St., close to the Capitol. She continued to appear at the Theatre Royal .Her fame was undiminished and ‘the Peggy Dell Orchestra’ achieved national prominence.. She played and sang at dances, performed in revues, and acted in pantomimes.

The 1950s preserved her appeal but time, fashion, and technology gradually affected the cohort of Dublin entertainers who had started out with the new state. After 1960, television provided alternative popular entertainment, and economic development swallowed up the live entertainment halls, replacing them with undistinguished office blocks. Peggy Dell was on stage for the last week of shows at the Theatre Royal in June 1962. What later became the genre of ‘rare ould times’ nostalgia was then part of a highly emotional endgame for fading stars.

She suffered serious head injuries in a taxi accident in 1970, causing recurrent fainting spells, virtually ending her career and her remaining public profile. Some thought she had died, so private did she become. By a twist of fate, her career was suddenly resurrected on 22 December 1973 by her guest appearance on a special RTÉ ‘Late late show’ television birthday tribute to Noel Purcell. Surprised audiences were struck by Peggy Dell's physical presence and virtuosity at the piano, leading to many inquiries and expressions of delight at her part in the show.

RTÉ subsequently provided her with a television series, ‘Peg o' my heart’, from which commercial albums were made. Other numbers were revived from her previous recordings. In 1974 her television series won a Jacob's award and she was engaged to entertain Mediterranean cruises until 1975, highlights of a second career which happened by chance.

In February 1975, she won a Jacob's Award for the programme. From then until her death, Dell enjoyed renewed success as an entertainer, performing regularly on radio and television, as well as making live appearances. In 1975 she released an album entitled Among My Souvenirs.

Peggy Dell never married. She died in Dublin aged 73 and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

(Edited from Wikipedia & Dictionary of Irish Biography)


boppinbob said...

Couldn’t get a compilation of Peggy Dell although there is a 16 track album out there somewhere, so I gathered as many off the web and have tried to put them in date order. Managed to get 20 titles from YouTube and other sources plus album art (although rushed) . So for “Peggy Dell – Collected” go here:

1. I Cover The Waterfront (1933)
2. Without That certain Thing
3. In Other Words We’re Through (1934)
4. True
5. When Tomorrow Comes
6. Over My Shoulder
7. St. Louis Blues (1935)
8. Some Of These Days
9. A Little Bit Indepenent (1936)
10. Eeny meeny Miney Mo
11. You’ve Got The Wrong Rhumba
12. Cinderella Sweetheart (1938)
13. Now It Can be Told
14. Gypsy Tears (1939)
15. I Shall Always Remember You Smiling
16. Our Love
17. Sing My Heart
18. Summer Sweetheart
19. My Prayer
20. Did Your Mother Come From Ireland (19??)

Please note all tracks are from various sources so may vary in bit rate and quality.

All recorded from 1933 – 1939 with Roy Fox and Jack Hilton’s Orchestras. Sorry but no time to give specifics regarding discography.

Crab Devil said...


Mickey Bitsko said...

Wonderful, thanks! Love the video!

By the by, for anyone wondering who the gent with the long white beard in the video is, that's actor Noel Purcell (1900 - 1985), whom you may have seen in such films as John Huston's "Moby Dick."