Campbell Connelly was founded by singer-songwriter Jimmy Campbell and his friend, the pianist Reg Connelly, on the back of one single song, Show Me The Way to Go Home (1925). Having co-written the song with Canadian Hal Swain, the pair were convinced of its potential but could not get anyone to publish it. They decided to set up their own firm to do so and rented two rooms on Tottenham Court Road in 1925. The song was a huge success on both sides of the Atlantic and sold 2 million copies within one year. The company grew rapidly and in 1926 they moved to Denmark Street with a staff of twelve. Connelly was a shrewd businessman and Campbell a resourceful song plugger and business expanded at a rapid rate. When they wrote together they often used the joint pseudonym ‘Irving King’.
As both were mainly lyricists, they usually collaborated with other composers including Ray Noble on Goodnight Sweetheart (1931), By the Fireside (1932), and with Harry Woods on Try a Little Tenderness (1932) and negotiated exclusive tie-ups with American companies. In 1936, Campbell Connelly formed a new company with Gaumont-British, called Cinephonic, with the aim of linking up film and sheet music and cornering the song output of British musical films. Connelly had realised the importance of film as a medium for popularising songs and had made numerous contacts, signing up writers wholesale. They also published the music of other film companies and had early successes plugging the material of Jessie Matthews.
The songs in the Campbell Connelly catalogue have been recorded by dozens of stars but some of the biggest hits have been:
Sunny (Hebb) – Bobby Hebb, Marvin Gaye, Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder
Have Love Will Travel (Berry) – The Sonics
Big Spender (Coleman/Fields) – Shirley Bassey
Try a Little Tenderness (Connelly/Woods/Campbell) – since the original Ray Noble and his Orchestra it has been recorded by such greats as: Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Rod Stewart, Percy Sledge, Nina Simone, Etta James, Tina Turner, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Michael Bolton, Tom Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin and Michael Buble
Underneath the Arches – Flanagan and Allen
If I Had You – Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole
The Cokey Cokey (Kennedy)
I Left My Heart in San Francisco (Cory/Cross) – Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Perry Como