Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Postscript on William MacEwan


William MacEwan 13 02 1932 Hartlepool
(This post was published in February 2015)

BACK IN 2011 (to coincide with the 100th anniversary of his first recordings) I posted here a ten-part biography of the Glasgow-born singer William MacEwan (1871-1943). He came back into my head this week when I found the above advert, from Hartlepool on 13 Feb 1932. He last recording session was in London in March of that same year. I also found this online, confirming my own researches:

'... Good sales could not always be guaranteed, but Columbia scored an equally important success with its 1927 American recording of Scottish-born gospel singer William MacEwan's rendition of the hymn "The Old Rugged Cross" coupled with "Let's talk it over bye-and-bye" (Columbia 4148). By 1933 British sales of this record had exceeded 250,000, at a time when all but a handful of the most successful dance and popular music record enjoyed sales of 100,000 and most record companies considered sales in excess of 10,000 copies a "hit" ...' - source here.
MacEwan's voice made The Old Rugged Cross world famous. By the year he died, 1943, it had sold a reported 20 million copies around the globe, both vinyl and sheet music.