Edward White

Born 1910. Died 1994.


Edward George White (1910–1994) was a British composer of light music whose compositions including The Runaway Rocking-Horse (1946), Paris Interlude (1952), Puffin' Billy (1952) and Telegoons (1963) became familiar as radio and television theme tunes.

White was born in London, and was largely self-taught. He became a violinist in a trio and various dance bands, performing also on saxophone and clarinet. He became known as an arranger of music and, after service in the RAF during World War II, he ran a ballroom orchestra at the Grand Spa Hotel in Bristol.

Puffin' Billy (1952) is perhaps his most familiar composition, especially in the original recording by the "Melodi Light Orchestra". The piece was inspired by an old steam locomotive called "Puffing Billy", (not the locomotive in the London Science Museum) seen by the composer while on holiday on the Isle of Wight. The piece was used as the signature tune for the BBC Light Programme's 'Children's Favourites', a radio request programme, from 1952 to 1966.

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