jabw_vintage/report no. 31

Let Us Tell You About.....

Benny Loban, dance band leader and violinist

this page first published by John Wright, 24 December 2003
last update 2 August 2007vintage@r2ok.co.uk


John Wright: I am delighted to say that I have been contacted by Gerald Loban, son of Benny Loban a bandleader and violinist who recorded with some of the finest musicians and dance bands in Britain during the 1920's and 1930's. Gerald has kindly written a short biography of Benny Loban and has submitted some excellent photographs which are included in this web page.

all images are the property of Gerald Loban and should not be reproduced without permission
Gerald Loban writes:

Benny Loban (1902 - 1993)

Benny Loban was born in Nikolayev, Ukraine on April 16, 1902, the second of five children, to Russian Jewish parents. The family emigrated to Winnipeg, Canada in 1913 to flee the persecution of the Russian pogroms. Benny learned to play the violin and was considered a child prodigy and after some coaching by an dedicated Winnipeg teacher, John Waterhouse, Benny won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London at the age of 18. After winning some four Medals of Achievement at the Academy, he graduated and returned to Canada. For a period he played at various cinemas for the silent films. After the arrival of "Talkies" work in this area dried up.

Finding the musical opportunities very limited Benny and his brother Maurice, also a violinist, returned to England in 1929. Benny was soon leading small ensembles at various Lyons Corner Houses, while Maurice joined the Debroy Somers band in early 1930.

John Wright adds* :Later in 1930 Benny ("Bennie") Loban was featured as violinist in the post-Savoy band Savoy Orpheans which was led for some months by Ben Evers and recorded a dozen records on the Dominion label. Then for a brief time Bennie Loban led this Savoy Orpheans band on tour and recorded two titles on the Dominion label Should I? and Figaro featuring vocals by Cavan O'Connor. Later Benny had to change the name of his band which became 'Bennie Loban and His Music Weavers'. Two recordings under this name are known: Oh! Donna Clara and Just Imagine were issued on Sterno 598, featuring vocals by Bob & Alf Pearson on the first tite. Later as Benny Loban and his Band I Bring A Love Song and You Will Remember Vienna were issued on Sterno 642 featuring vocals by Dan Donovan.

* source Rust/Forbes British Dance Bands On Record

The 'Savoy Orpheans' on tour in 1930

In early 1931 Benny Loban joined the Debroy Somers band, replacing his brother Maurice. Maurice meanwhile had joined the Jack Hylton band and stayed with Jack till early 1936. Contrary to the Rust/Forbes discography, the tour dates listed below suggest Benny Loban did not stay permanently with Debroy Somers after 1932. Benny's scrap book suggests that during the period from 1933 - 1937 he played the following places prior to his engagement at the Royal Bath Hotel in Bournemouth.

Feb 1933 - - Birmingham - West End Dance Hall

Aug 1933 - - Birmingham - West End Dance Hall

May 1934 - - Dundee - Broadway theatre

Jun 1934 - - Ayr, Scotland

Nov 1934 - - Birmingham - Hippodrome

Jun 1935 - - Chelsea - Garden Palace

Dec 1935 - - Exeter - Rougemont

Mar 1936 - - Leeds

Jun 1936 - - Lewisham - Hippodrome

Feb 1937 - - Glasgow - Alhambra Theatre

Jun 1937 - - Yarmouth - Britannia Pier

Radio Times, 10 February 1933,
lists Bennie Loban's band broadcasting live from Birmingham's West End Dance Hall

From 1938-40 Benny had the resident band at the Royal Bath Hotel in Bournemouth where he frequently broadcast with such notables as Stanley Holloway, Tommy Handley, Ted Ray and Bebe Daniels. From 1940-45 Benny Loban headed the band at the prestigious Palais Ballroom in Glasgow. Benny was one of four bands invited to broadcast on VE Day. Following the end of WW II and the decline of the dance bands, Benny was invited to be musical director of a number of stage musicals such as Waltz Time, The Girl Friend and others.
left: publicity shot of Benny taken in 1937
Benny returned to Canada in 1952 where he settled back in his home town of Winnipeg. He was involved in some of the very limited musical activity there but eventually established himself in the Investment Real Estate business which he actively pursued until shortly before his death. He died of a stroke on March 7, 1993 while visiting his son in Toronto.

There is an active discussion group where you can talk about Benny Loban and other musicians from the 1920's and 1930's:

Subscribe to British dance bands group

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

Any further information on the career of Benny Loban will be much appreciated. Please e-mail John Wright with any additions, corrections

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