Alma Cogan

  • Real Name: Alma Angela Cohen
  • Birth Date: 19th May 1932
  • Birth Place: Stepney, London
  • Alma's career spanned an era of British popular music that saw the transfer of most record purchases go from adults to teenagers. She managed to embrace the musical tastes of both and survived the dramatic changes taking place in the music industry better than many of her contemporaries.

    Alma was born in London's East End although other places are frequently quoted in other biographical references. She moved to Worthing in Sussex while still a young child and later went to school in Reading, Berkshire. She owed her first name to her mother's enthusiasm for the movie actress Alma Taylor, and it was also her mother who encouraged her to enter show business. This led to an audition for Ted Heath while still a child. However, it was Walter Ridley, an executive at HMV who really spotted Alma's potential as a singer -while Alma was an art student during her teenage years.

    Indeed, her professional singing career began while she was still a teenager- singing songs for each evening's diners at the Cumberland Hotel- and she began recording during 1952 with "To Be Worthy Of You" /"Would You" (HMV 78rpm). Arguably, Alma's biggest break came when Joy Nichols left the BBC Radio programme "Take It From Here", and Alma was invited to take over duties as resident singer. Alma sang a great variety of material with great accomplishment, but was most successful with up-beat ballads and novelties. Her first chart success came in 1954 with Bell Bottom Blues, a record that set the trend for the style of much of her later material . Unfortunately, most of her original early singles are available only as 78s.

    Alma Cogan had only four EP releases in the UK and they are all relatively hard to find. The one shown on the left is from 1958; "She Loves To Sing" (7EG8437) and is probably the most sought after. The cover shows Alma in one of her famous 'frocks' and in a typically exhuberant pose.

    Alma liked to appear as a fun-loving, though glamorous, 'party girl' rather than the romantic type portrayed by most other female singers of the era. She frequently wore hooped skirts, often heavy with sequins, and figure hugging tops. Her gowns were indeed extravagent and her dress always caught the eye during her many TV appearances. She exuded a vivacity which comes across in her recordings, and was even promoted as 'the girl with the laughter in her voice'. She changed her musical material to suit the times and her list of songs included several rock and roll numbers- 'Pink Shoe Laces', 'Tell Him' and the highly collectable 'Eight Days A Week'

    Sadly, Alma's sparkling personality and zest for life were cut short and she died at the tragically young age of 34. Although she managed to work almost right to the end of her life, she died of cancer in a London Hospital on 26th October 1966.

    1950s & 1960s 45rpm UK Discography

    • Listings include UK 45 singles releases only (Note: many of Alma's recordings were available only on 78 rpm)
    • Collector's Items are shown In Red
    • See lower list for EP releases

    HMV 7M166 1953 Over And Over Again/ Isn't Life Wonderful  
    HMV 7M173 1954 Ricochet (Rick-O-Shay)/ The Moon Is Blue  
    HMV 7M188 1954 Bell Bottom Blues/ Love Me Again #4
    HMV 7M196 1954 Make Love To Me/ Said The Little Moment  
    HMV 7M219 1954 Little Shoemaker/ Chiqui-Chaqui (Chick-ee Chock-ee)  
    HMV 7M228 1954 Little Things Mean A Lot/ Canoodlin' Rag #11
    HMV 7M239 1954 Skinnie Minnie/ What Am I Going To Do, Ma  
    HMV 7M269 1954 This Ole House/ Skokiaan  
    HMV 7M271 1954 I Can't Tell A Waltz From A Tango/ Christmas Cards #6
    HMV 7M286 1955 Paper Kisses/ Softly Softly  
    HMV 7M301 1955 Tweedle-Dee/ More Than Ever Now  
    HMV 7M316 1955 Got'n Idea / Give A Fool A Chance  
    HMV 7M337 1955 Never Do A Tango With An Eskimo/ Twenty Tiny Fingers #6
    HMV 7M367 1956 Love And Marriage/ Sycamore Tree  
    HMV 7M415 1956 Why Do Fools Fall In Love/ The Birds And The Bees #22
    HMV POP187 1956 Willie Can/ Lizzie Borden  
    HMV POP189 1956 Don't Ring-A Da Bell/ Bluebell  
    HMV POP239 1956 Mama Teach Me To Dance/ I'm In Love Again  
    HMV POP261 1956 In The Middle Of The House/ Two Innocent Hearts #20
    HMV POP284 1957 You, Me And Us/ Three Brothers #18
    HMV POP317 1957 Whatever Lola Wants/ Lucky Lips #26
    HMV POP336 1957 Chantez Chantez/ Funny Funny Funny  
    HMV POP367 1957 Fabulous/ Summer Love  
    HMV POP392 1957 That's Happiness/ What You've Done To Me  
    HMV POP415 1957 Party Time/ Please Mister Brown  
    HMV POP433 1958 The Story Of My Life/ Love Is #25
    HMV POP450 1958 Sugartime/ Gettin' Ready For Freddy #16
    HMV POP482 1958 Stairway Of Love/ Comes Love  
    HMV POP500  1958 Sorry Sorry Sorry/ Fly Away Lovers  
    HMV POP531 1958 There's Never Been A Night/ If This Isn't Love  
    HMV POP573 1959 Last Night On The Back Porch/ Mama Says #27
    HMV POP608 1959 Pink Shoelaces/ The Universe  
    HMV POP670 1959 We Got Love/ I Don't Mind Being All Alone #26
    HMV POP728 1960 Dream Talk/ O Dio Mio #48
    HMV POP760 1960 The Train Of love/ The 'I Love You' Bit #27
    HMV POP815 1960 Just Couldn't Resist Her With Her Pocket Transistor/ Must Be Santa  
    Columbia DB4607 1961 Cowboy Jimmy Joe/ Don't Read This Letter #37
    Columbia DB4679 1961 With You In Mind/ Ja-Da  
    Columbia DB4749 1961 All Alone/ Keep Me In Your Heart  
    Columbia DB4912 1962 Goodbye Joe/ I Can't Give You Anything But Love  
    Columbia DB4965 1963 Tell Him/ Fly Me To The Moon  
    Columbia DB7059 1963 Hold Out Your Hand You Naughty Boy/ Just Once More  
    Columbia DB7233 1964 The Tennessee Waltz/ I Love You Too Much  
    Columbia DB7390 1964 It's You/ I Knew Right Away  
    Columbia DB7619 1965 Love Is A Word/ Now That I've Found You  
    Columbia DB7652 1965 Snakes And Snails And Puppy Dog Tails/ How Many Days, How Many Nights  
    Columbia DB7786 1965 Eight Days A Week/ Help  
    Columbia DB8088 1966 Now That I've Found You/ More  

    EP Discography

    • Collector's Items are shown In Red
    • See Upper List For Singles releases

    HMV 7EG8122 1955 "The Girl With A Laugh In Her Voice"  
    Dreamboat/Where Will The Dimple Be?/Mambo Italiano/Keep Me In Mind
    HMV 7EG8151 1956 "The Girl With A Laugh In Her Voice No.2"  
    The Banjo's Back In Town/Go On By/Hernando's Hideaway/Blue Again
    HMV 7EG8169 1956 "The Girl With A Laugh In Her Voice No.3"  
    Willie Can/Don't Ring-a Da Bell/Lizzie Borden/Bluebell
    HMV 7EG8437 1957 "She Loves To Sing"  
    Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries/Taking A Chance On Love/Ain't We Got Fun/Blue Skies

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