French, (William) Percy
- Andrew Lamb
(b Cloonyquin, Co. Roscommon, May 1, 1854; d Formby, Jan 24, 1920). Irish singer and songwriter. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin (1872–80), and had a career in engineering, but in 1890 turned to writing and performing. His shows included story-telling, humorous sketching and singing, sometimes accompanied on the banjo. He moved to London in about 1900, and performed throughout Britain as well as on the Continent and in North America. One of French’s first songs was Abdulla Bulbul Ameer (1877), which became widely popular in a pirated edition (he had failed to register the copyright). His numerous Irish comic ballads include Phil the Fluther’s Ball (1889), Slathery’s Mounted Fut (1889), Mat Hannigan’s Aunt (1892), Are ye right there, Michael? (1902) and Come back, Paddy Reilly (1912). He wrote the words to several other songs, including ...