jabw_vintage/report no. 41

Let us tell you about......

Annette Keith

this page first published 18 March 2012
last updated 20 May 2012vintage@r2ok.co.uk

Annette Keith b. 17 April 1910 - d. 29 April 1992. British dance band singer and entertainer.

John Wright writes: I am grateful to Michael Green, son of Annette Keith, for the photographs, paper clippings and family data that have allowed me to assemble a good tribute page to Annette.

Annette Keith - Frances 'Betty' Green (née Williams)

Annette Keith in 1933

Frances 'Betty' Green ("Annette Keith") was a popular singer in the UK in the 1930s. She recorded with the dance bands of Joe Loss and Stanley Barnett, and performed with other bands including Harry Roy's.

Born in 1910 at Riddings, Derbyshire, into a well known show business family, she started performing on stage at the age of ten. Her father was comedian Tommy Williams and her grandfather was impresario Gus Levaine.

Annette Keith became known as a charming and versatile entertainer. She toured the country in a song and dance act, Annette Keith and Her Boyfriends, and Keith, Christie and Green, which played all the major cities. Her husband, Tommy Green, whom she married in 1929, played piano and was musical director.

Annette Keith with Andre Letta's Concert Party, Portobello 1930

Early theatre appearances

1930 Glasgow Pavilion

1931 Liverpool Shakespeare

Annette Keith and her Boyfriends, 1931

Annette Keith seated front row, 3rd from right; Tommy, standing 2nd from left; 1931

Annette Keith in 1933

Sugar and Spice
Hackney Empire, 1933

Annette Keith composition on sheet music

words by Annette, music by Tommy Green

Annette Keith recorded Come Up And See Me Sometime with the Joe Loss band, in 1933.

During 1933-1935 Annette Keith made several recordings

Dec 1933Joe Loss and his Kit Cat BandCome Up And See Me SometimeEBW 5631
Feb 1934Madame Tussaud's Dance Orchestra,
directed by Stanley Barnett
Who Walks In When I Walk Out?EBW 5643
Feb 1934Madame Tussaud's Dance Orchestra,
directed by Stanley Barnett
You're Gonna Lose Your GalEBW 5643
Hudson WH-411
Mar 1934Capitol Band, possibly directed
by Stanley Barnett
Over On The Sunny SideEBW 5652
May 1934Capitol Band, possibly directed
by Stanley Barnett
Two Little Windows
duet with Harry Bentley
EBW 5670
Oct 1935Montezuma and his OrchestraSleep, My Baby, SleepDecca F5631
Oct 1935Montezuma and his OrchestraWhen Day Is DoneDecca F5631


another reference (Badrock and Adrian) has suggested other female singers March-May 1934.
EBW = Edison Bell Winner
Hudson WH-411 as Guy Brown and his band

Listen to Annette singing with Stanley Barnett orchestra.Who Walks In When I Walk Out?

Michael Green writes

Annette Keith took part in some of the the first experimental television transmissions using the Baird process from Portland Place, London, in 1932-35. A newscutting from 20 July 1935 describes her as "the very pretty radio singer," who appeared "frequently in television and other programmes."

And another contemporary newspaper wrote that she appeared as "Donald Peers, Collins and Annette (a song and dance trio)" and as "Annette Keith (syncopated songs and dances)" at 11-11.30pm on various nights, broadcasting to audiences on the BBC's National and Regional services, "vision 261.6m and sound 398.9m."

She broadcast several times on radio during 1932-39, including once on 12 February 1935 from the Radio Theatre in Old Compton Street, Soho. In 1936 she was invited to take part in the "Radio Music-Hall" from the Prince Edward Theatre. She sang with Franz Vienna and his Orchestra and did sketches with Richard Murdoch.

Annette Keith in 1937

Glasgow Empress
August 1937

Keith, Christie and Green

Annette and Tommy

Annette and Tommy

Annette and Tommy in 1940: In June 1940 Annette joined a ten-week touring production of Herbert Farjeon's revue, "Nine Sharp", appearing on stage with Hermione Baddeley, George Benson, Ian Carmichael, Helen Cherry and Joan Sterndale Bennett. Annette's husband, Tommy Green, was the Musical Director and played piano alongside Walter Leigh, who was later killed in action near Tobruk in 1942.

Michael Green writes

Annette Keith and her husband, Tommy Green, settled in Oldham for the duration of the war - Tommy as a War Reserve Policeman, running the Civil Defence Orchestra, and Annette (now back to "Betty") in the Civil Defence telephone exchange and singing in her off-duty hours. Her singing career ended with the birth of her only son, Michael, in 1945.

Annette died in Chorley, Lancashire, in 1992 at the age of 82. Her husband, bandleader Tommy Green, who often appeared with her, died in November 1986.

More photographs:

young Tommy Green

A great period shot of Annette and Tommy in the 1930s

Tommy Green in the 1940s:


Michael Green and family. Family site at Ancestry.com

Photographs and press clippings provided by Michael Green.

Discographical data: British Dance Bands on Record, Brian Rust and Sandy Forbes.

Soundclip: CD from Evergreen, available as download http://www.theclassicalshop.net/Details.aspx?CatalogueNumber=EM%206002

You can join the very active discussion group and talk about Annette Keith and other artistes who performed with dance bands and jazz bands of the 1920s-1950s:

Subscribe to British dance bands group

or check out the group site first at http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/british-dance-bands/

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