Saturday, January 30, 2010


Alex Glasgow was born in England but moved to Australia in 1981. He became an Aussie but his famous single was originally recorded in England.

Alex Glasgow was born in 1935 in Gateshead Durham England. He cited one of his greatest influences as Gateshead Public Library. After graduating in Languages from Leeds University, he taught in Germany. On his return to Newcastle-On-Tyne, he joined the BBC. He also began to write topical songs. He composed the music for Alan Plater's play Close The Coalhouse Door. Alex is best known for his recording of "When The Boat Comes In", used in the TV series When The Boat Comes In. He also wrote the scripts for four episodes. Alex emigrated to Australia in 1981 where he died in 2001.

Copy of his obituary:

By Alan Plater - The Guardian, Thursday 17 May 2001.

…Alex moved to Australia because he suffered from arthritis and the climate in Perth was expected to give him some relief - and enable him to continue playing the guitar.

Alex started his career in WW2 forces broadcasting and once had a record in the German charts, an experience echoed when his recording of Dance To Thi Daddy - the theme music of the BBC series, When The Boat Comes In, for which he wrote some memorable episodes - made it to the charts.

This revealed Alex at his most characteristic. He refused resolutely to go on Top of the Pops, or do guest shots on any television variety shows. "I'm not a bloody commodity," he said. Once, prior to an ideologically-acceptable appearance on television with Henry Livings, he was appalled when a make-up girl tried to cut his hair "to match the picture in the Radio Times". "Leave my hair alone," he said. "I do not have a public image."

As a performer, maybe the most accurate description of him was chansonnier. He was multi-lingual and once spent an evening with Jake Thackray trying to work out the joke in a key verse of a Georges Brassens' song before making the triumphant discovery that the tag line was sung in French, but with a Belgian accent.

He figured if he was doing his job properly, he should always be in trouble.

But even his nearest and dearest were shocked when, in 1981, he left his native Gateshead and moved to Fremantle. The year before, he and Henry Livings had appeared at the Perth Festival in their legendary road show, The Northern Drift, and Alex fell in love with the place.

He and wife Paddy celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary in mid-air on their way to a new life. He justified the move with his special brew of unchallengeable assertions. "They're wonderful people. They're all like Geordies. And do you realise, 70% of the world's wild flowers are in Western Australia?" His Letters from a Pom, and Henry Livings's replies, were a regular feature in the Guardian during the early period of his migration.

The last few years of his life were cursed with illness of a particularly cruel nature. He went bravely but not gently. Gentle wasn't his style, except within the family. He lived long enough to take photographs of his first grandchild. He is survived by Paddy, and by his children, Richard, Daniel and Ruth.

The copy here for download was supplied by Jimmy Barnes, many thanks Jim!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, the link to the song does not work for me. I have been looking for this Alex Glasgow song as an mp3 file everywhere.