Cockney Music Comedy Sketch
This is a scene from a 1990s TV show called “Is It Bill Bailey?”. Bill Bailey is well known for combining his multi-instrumental musical skills with comedy. This scene starts at 10:10:
Now, another one of my theories is that Cockney music has influenced the world’s greatest classical composers. Now this is true. Over the years, the great classical composers have borrowed heavily from the Cockney canon; woven it into their works. Beethoven… Mozart… have all used this much-maligned, yet misunderstood, genre. And tonight I’d like to set the record straight. Before I do that, I have to explain to you the basic precepts of Cockney music. Now, you’ve got your basic Cockney intro… Now, this prefixes all known Cockney music throughout the world. There’s a slightly longer version; I call it the “Pie and Mash” intro. Right? That goes like this… Easy now! Now, there’s a couple of rare ones – there’s the “‘Ave (have) a Banana”. This is quite rare. That’s very simple, it’s just this… And of course the full “Pearly King” intro, as used on big Lord Mayor’s dos, that sort of thing. And that is rather more ostentatious. That is like this… Lot of winking in that one.
Now, all of these can be found within the classical repertoire. You just have to know where to look, and I’d like to be your guide tonight. So, firstly, then, the basic Cockney intro. This can be found in Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”… Wait for it, wait for it… and there we are. Yes, now you’ve probably heard that a million times and never noticed it before. But you have to admit it is there. Now, the “‘Ave a Banana” occurs only once in the entire classical repertoire, and that is in the opening to Grieg’s “Piano Concerto in A Minor”, as you probably know… The “‘Ave a Banana”. Now, for the full “Pearly King” intro, we have to look to the genius of Mozart, and this can be found in the opening to his classic meisterwork, “Sonata in C”…
An excerpt there from Bach’s “Prelude Number 21 in B Flat”. “No Cockney influence there,” I hear you say, but if we listen to that last section again… slow it down, play it slightly differently… and that’s a Cockney intro, first inversion. Thank you!