John Steel (7)

John Steel (7)

Real Name:
John W. Steel
Profile:
John W. Steel (January 11, 1895 – June 25, 1971; sometimes referred to as John Steele) was an American tenor. He was featured in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1919 and 1920 and Irving Berlin's Music Box Revues of 1922 and 1923.

Steel was born in Montclair, New Jersey, on January 11, 1895, and grew up in the New York City area. He served in the military during World War I, and studied music in Paris during leaves of absence from military duty.

In 1918 Steel appeared on Broadway in the musical The Maid of the Mountains, which had been a hit in London, but closed in New York after just 37 performances. This was followed by his appearance in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1919, in which he was one of the show's most popular performers. In the 1919 Follies he introduced Irving Berlin's song "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody," as well as singing "My Baby's Arms" and "Tulip Time." Producer Florenz Ziegfeld is said to have paid him $3,500 a week for this show. In later years, Irving Berlin said that he had composed "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody" with Steel in mind.
Subsequent performances included appearances in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1920, Ziegfeld's "Midnight Frolic" in 1920, and Irving Berlin's Music Box Revues of 1922 and 1923. In the Ziegfeld Follies of 1920 he introduced the songs "Tell Me, Little Gypsy," "The Girls of My Dreams," and "The Love Boat." In the Music Box Revue of 1923 he introduced songs including "One Girl" and "Little Butterfly" and joined with Florence Moore, Ivy Sawyer, Joseph Santley, Grace Moore and Frank Tinney to sing the novelty song "Yes, We Have No Bananas". As of 1921, he reportedly was paid between $1,000 and $2,000 weekly by Ziegfeld.

In 1922 Steel began touring the United States on a summer vaudeville circuit. He preferred vaudeville to musical theatre because vaudeville allowed him to choose the songs he wanted to sing instead of performing an assigned role. Additionally, he liked working in Los Angeles and the West Coast states of California, Oregon, and Washington. In addition to singing, in Los Angeles he appeared as an amateur boxer in staged matches.

In 1927 he appeared in a London production of the musical Castles in the Air, playing the role of John Brown opposite soprano Helen Gilliland. Although the show closed in London after just 28 performances, after it closed in London it toured through the United Kingdom for the remainder of the year and well into 1928.
Steel returned to the United States, where in the early 1930s he performed in vaudeville and in cabarets and clubs in New York, Chicago, and other cities. In August 1938 he filed for bankruptcy, with liabilities of $40,070 against assets of just $350. In later years he worked as a singing instructor.

Steel died in New York City on June 25, 1971. His wife, Jeanette Hackett Steel, survived him. His son, Donn Steel, died in 1993.

There are about 40 known recordings of John Steel's work. Almost all of these were made between 1919 and 1923 in New York City for Victor. His contract with Victor ended in 1923. His final three known recordings were made for Columbia in London in 1927.
Sites:
[a1534360]

Artist

John Steel (7) Discography

Singles & EPs

18606 Henry Burr / John Steel (7) Henry Burr / John Steel (7) - Oh! What A Pal Was Mary / Dear Heart(Shellac, 10") Victor 18606 US 1919 Sell This Version
18611 John Steel (7) The Hand That Rocked My Cradle Rules My Heart / My Baby's Arms(Shellac, 10") Victor 18611 US 1919 Sell This Version
18695 John Steel (7) Whispering / The Love Boat(Shellac, 10") Victor 18695 US 1920 Sell This Version
18635 Vernon Dalhart / John Steel (7) Vernon Dalhart / John Steel (7) - Bye-Lo / While Others Are Building Castles In The Air(Shellac, 10") Victor 18635 US 1920 Sell This Version
18676 John Steel (7) / Henry Burr John Steel (7) / Henry Burr - The Love Nest / Blue Diamonds(Shellac, 10") Victor 18676 US 1920 Sell This Version
18724 John Steel (7) Rose Of My Heart / When I Looked Into Your Wonderful Eyes(Shellac, 10") Victor 18724 US 1921 Sell This Version
18828 John Steel (7) Say It With Music / If You Only Knew(Shellac, 10") Victor 18828 US 1921 Sell This Version
18813 John Steel (7) Sally Won't You Come Back? / Bring Back My Blushing Rose(Shellac, 10") Victor 18813 US 1921 Sell This Version
18836 John Steel (7) Rose Of My Soul / Whisper To Me In The Starlight(Shellac, 10") Victor 18836 US 1921 Sell This Version
18934 John Steel (7) / Charles Harrison (3) John Steel (7) / Charles Harrison (3) - Only A Smile / My Machree's Lullaby(Shellac, 10") Victor 18934 US 1922 Sell This Version
19131 John Steel (7) / Henry Burr John Steel (7) / Henry Burr - My Pal / Just A Girl That Men Forget(Shellac, 10") Victor 19131 US 1923 Sell This Version
19015 John Steel (7) Faded Love Letters / November Rose(Shellac, 10") Victor 19015 US 1923 Sell This Version
19089 John Steel (7) Just An Old Love Song / When The Gold Turns To Gray(Shellac, 10") Victor 19089 US 1923 Sell This Version
18844 John Steel (7) I'll Forget You / The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise(Shellac, 10") Victor 18844 US Unknown Sell This Version
235001 John Steel (7) Thora / Nirvana(Shellac, 12") His Master's Voice 235001 Canada Unknown Sell This Version

Compilations

R 009 Eddie Cantor, Bert Williams, Van And Schenck, John Steel (7), Irving Berlin Eddie Cantor, Bert Williams, Van And Schenck, John Steel (7), Irving Berlin - Ziegfeld Follies Of 1919(LP, Comp, Gat) Smithsonian Collection R 009 US 1977 Sell This Version