Coward, Sir Noël (USA) (Peirce )
- John Snelson
(b Teddington, UK, Dec 16, 1899; d Blue Harbour, Jamaica, March 26, 1973). English composer, lyricist, librettist, and performer. Born into a family of keen amateur musicians, he made his first professional appearance in 1911, achieving great public recognition in Britain with The Vortex (1924) as both playwright and leading actor. He consolidated his fame through the 1920s with successful plays and with sketches and songs for revues, some transferred or adapted from their London originals, some new for Broadway. American adaptations included Andre Charlot’s London Revue (1924, including “Parisian Pierrot”), Charlot’s Revue of 1926 (including “Poor Little Rich Girl”), and This Year of Grace! (1928, including “A Room with a View,” “World Weary,” and “Dance Little Lady!”).
The operetta Bitter-Sweet (1929) was Coward’s first venture into a more expanded musical dramatic form, and his only unqualified success in both Britain and America. It shows the direct influence of Lehár and a fluency across genre elements Coward was not to repeat. Of its several now-classic songs, “If Love Were All” gained the status of a personal credo, and has been adopted in similar vein by others, including Judy Garland in her ...