Stanley and Dora
The skiffle boom of the late 1950s, pioneered by the late Lonnie Donegan, brought the fresh new sound of American Rhythm and Blues to the UK. Instantly London became full of clubs and music nights emulating the style and energy of this fashionable culture. Frankie and Johnny became a popular hit of this genre, helping lay the seeds for the Rock and Roll revolution. Somewhere during this musical fervour the tune to a popular song from 1904 – Frankie and Johnny – was used for a new set of lyrics that captured a shift in attitude in England. Remember that this song was set during a period when people were beginning to call into question the acceptability of singing God Save our Queen before or after every cinema showing, theatre production and music concert. The times they were a changin’! The words can possibly be attributed to Ron Gould.
This song was part of Singing Histories, a national project led by Sing London to create booklets and resources containing traditional folk songs and history from eight areas across England.
The Singing Histories - London illustrated song book (which includes this song) can be downloaded from the document tab at the top of this panel. Audio recording(s) of this song are also available from the audio tab.