Died: 4th March 1954
British composer of popular music in the 1930s to 1940s, organist and musical director.
Armitage [aka Noel Gay] studied music at the Royal College Of Music, London, and Christ's College, Cambridge. He then became the organist and musical director at St. Anne's church, Soho, London, where his early background as a comedic songwriter for Cambridge Footlights continued into the mainstream.
To avoid embarrassment to the church he employed the alias "Noel Gay Willis", often shortened to "Noel Gay" in some credits. His style was very much one of revue, music hall and operetta. At one point he had four shows running consecutively in London's West End, one of which was "Me And My Girl" - that eventually transferred to the Broadway Theater in New York - featuring the number "The Lambeth Walk".
Gay also wrote "Run Rabbit Run", a popular wartime hit in the period in which he wrote for The Crazy Gang, Gracie Fields and George Formby. His son, Richard Armitage, formed Noel Gay Artists in 1950, a talent agency providing revue performers to spread his father's reportoire.