Thomas Patrick Connor Sheila O’Kelly remembers the author of such favourites as Raffterty’s Motor Car
Thomas Patrick Connor, (also known as Tommie Connor), was a British lyricist and songwriter credited with several hit songs including a few well-known Christmas songs.
Tommie Connor was born on the 16th November, 1904 in Bloomsbury in London, to parents of Irish descent. In his teens, Tommie worked as a Stagehand in London theatres and began writing lyrics to popular tunes. In the late 1920s, he worked as a steward aboard the ocean liner the Royal Mail Empress of France before returning to England with the intention of earning a living as a songwriter.
After several years of trying to sell his songs to numerous music publishers on Denmark Street in London’s West End, also known as ‘Tin Pan Alley’, success came in 1932 with his song, ‘My Home Town’ recorded by twelve year-old singer, Mary Hagan, from Newcastle-on-Tyne. It was followed with, ‘Jump on the Wagon’ (1934) and ‘When the Guardsman Started Crooning on Parade’ (1935). In collaboration with songwriters, Jimmy Leach and Michael Carr, Tommie Connor wrote ‘The Little Boy that Santa Claus Forgot’. It was released in 1937 and recorded by Vera Lynn. ‘I’m Spending Christmas with the Old Folks’, composed by Tommie, was released in November 1940.
Tommie Connor and Jimmy Harper wrote the comic song, ‘The Biggest Aspidistra in the World’ for inclusion in the 1938 British Comedy film, ‘Keep Smiling’. The song became popular and was recorded by Gracie Fields in 1941. Tommie contributed many songs for films and shows, as well as writing special material for several performers such as Vera Lynn and Maurice Chevalier.