Henry Robert Hall, CBE (2 May 1898 – 28 October 1989) was an English bandleaderwho performed regularly on BBC Radio during the British dance band era of the 1920s and 1930s, through to the 1960s.
It was from Gleneagles that the BBC took him in 1932 to succeed Jack Payne as band leader of the BBC Dance Orchestra. At 5.15pm each weekday, Hall’s radio programme from Broadcasting Housegathered a huge following across the nation. His signature tune was “It’s Just the Time for Dancing”, and he usually concluded with “Here’s to the Next Time”.
In 1932 he recorded the songs “Here Comes the Bogeyman” and “Teddy Bears’ Picnic” with his BBC Orchestra, featuring singer Val Rosingon vocals. The latter song gained enormous popularity and sold over a million copies. In 1934 his popularity was confirmed when his orchestra topped the bill at the London Palladium.
He featured in the documentary BBC The Voice of Britain (1935), the source of the “This is Henry Hall speaking” clip much used in documentaries on this period.
In 1936 Henry Hall made his first feature film and in the same year he was guest conductor of the ship’s orchestra on the Queen Mary’s maiden voyage.
In 1937 the BBC Dance Orchestra played at the opening of the Gaumont State Cinema in Kilburn. The same year Hall left the BBC to tour with his own band, which comprised many members of his BBC band. He toured the halls of Britain and Europe, and generated controversy by dropping songs by Jewish composers while playing in Berlin in February 1938.
Hall’s band was the first to appear on television.