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Flanders and Swann

Flanders and Swann were British actor and singer Michael Flanders and composer and linguist Donald Swann who joined forces to write and perform comic songs in the two-man revues At The Drop Of A Hat and At The Drop Of Another Hat.

Flanders and Swann attended the same school (Westminster School) but went their separate ways during the Second World War. However, a chance meeting in 1948 led to a musical partnership writing songs and light opera; Swann writing the music and Flanders writing the words. Their songs were performed by artists such as Ian Wallace and Joyce Grenfell.

In December 1956, Flanders and Swann hired the New Lindsey Theatre, Notting Hill, to perform their own two-man revue At The Drop Of A Hat, which opened on New Year's Eve. Flanders sang a selection of the songs that they had written, interspersed with comic monologues, and accompanied by Swann on the piano. The show was successful and transferred next month to the Fortune Theatre, where it ran for over 2 years, before touring in the UK, the USA, Canada and Switzerland.

In 1963 Flanders and Swann opened in a second revue, At The Drop Of Another Hat. Over the next four years they toured a combination of the two shows in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the USA and Canada, before finishing up at the Booth Theatre on Broadway. On April 9 1967 they performed their last live show together. Ten days later, they moved into a studio and recorded the show for television.

Over the course of 11 years, Flanders and Swann had made nearly 2,000 live performances. Although their performing partnership ended in 1967, they remained friends afterwards and collaborated on occasional projects.

The Songs of Flanders and Swann

Flanders and Swann's songs are characterised by wit, gentle satire, complex rhyming schemes, and memorable choruses. They wrote over eighty comic songs together - the following selection gives an indication of their range :-

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