Ian Whitcomb
Altadena, California
Updated 10/2/05

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Ian Whitcomb started in show business as a top-ten teen idol (You Turn Me On) in 1965. Since then he has concentrated on Tin Pan Alley songs and has produced numerous LPs and CDs in that style.  Currently he records for Audiophile, Varese-Sarabonde and Rhino Records.  His CD, Titanic - Music as Heard on the Fateful Voyage, won a Grammy and a nomination.  He has appeared in concerts at the Hollywood Bowl and the Montreux jazz Festival.

Ian Whitcomb was born in Surrey, England, in 1941.  His prep school was in Sussex, his public school in Dorset.  After a short spell as an assistant film editor he became an undergraduate at Trinity College, Dublin.  While ostensibly studying Modern History & Political Science he made some records that landed him in the American Top 10, "You Turn Me On," his rock novelty song, reached #8 in July 1965 - the year of his finals.

After two years of TV, touring, and concertizing (and with a Second Class Honors degree under his belt), he retired from the rock life and returned to England.  There he turned his attention to early American and British popular music, especially Tin Pan Alley, Ragtime, and British Music Hall.  Determined to carry this culture into the Age of Technology, he managed to have hundreds of his recordings released over the next 25 years.

Whitcomb wrote special music for his original radio musical, LotusLand, produced for National Public Radio in Pasadena.  On television he was the original host for the long running BBC series The Old Grey Whistle Test.  He also presented and produced segments for Late Night Line Up.  His show Under the Ragtime Moon was Ireland's entry in the European TV variety contest.  He has written and appeared in several documentaries, notably The Friendly Invasion (BBC), L.A, - My Home Town (BBC), All You Need Is Love (London Weekend), and They All Play Ragtime (BBC).  He produced the R&B segment film for Repercussions (Channel Four TV) and a short film about B Westerns for BBC TV.

In addition to hosting his own radio shows in Los Angeles, Whitcomb has made guest appearances on TV's Today, The Tonight Show, The Merv Griffin Show, Mike Douglas, and The Tom Snyder Show.  As a character actor Whitcomb has starred in classic plays by Bernard Shaw, Noel Coward, and Shakespeare, and recently had a supporting role in the Film Contact starring Jodie Foster.

Whitcomb's songs have been used in the movies Bugs Bunny Superstar, Cold Sassy Tree, Terror Night, and Encino Man.

Most of the dozen books Whitcomb has published since are still in print.  As a performer he (and his ukulele) are in demand at Ragtime and jazz festivals around the US and he has even appeared at rock revival shows as the teen idol he once was.