BIOGRAPHY, Robert Smith

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Born in Chiswick, a suburb of London, Robert Lane-Smith started piano lessons at age five and studied classical music throughout school and college. Childhood exposure to the records of Nat King Cole, Hoagy, Fats and Sinatra and the theatre in London resulted in a life-long liking for jazz and musical theatre.

Parental advice to "have something to fall back on" meant graduating in Engineering and a day job. With increased responsibility in the engineering department (at Pyrene in England and Canefco in Canada) music took a back seat. However, it wasn't long before weekend gigs grew to the point where a switch to full-time entertainment was feasible as well as agreeable. Always a chameleon, Robert's group had two personalities, "The Hawaiianaires" (in which he was Pineapple Smith!) and "The Vibrafive", a George Shearing style quintet. As a solo act Robert began appearing in piano lounges with his repertoire of Broadway and comedy songs.

Creation of the Cockney character "London Bobby" in his bright pearly suit was a marketing success that resulted in plum bookings, a TV series, a Gold Record and the opportunity to entertain Prince Charles at Expo '86. Interpretations of British music hall songs and comedy produced a unique, bright and humorous act. The Cockney alter ego of Robert Smith has a blast being London Bobby! See Pearlies. Picture Gallery

After a season at Butlin's Holiday Resort in England, Robert Smith coined the name "The Barmaid's Arms" for a neighbourhood pub in Toronto, Canada and, as London Bobby, headlined there for two years. Canada welcomed London Bobby with open arms. There followed a sixteen episode TV series, At The Pub, for CITY-TV and appearances on CTV and CBC-TV and concerts at pubs, clubs and folkfests across Canada.

The first record album Booze, Birds and Ballads was recorded live at the Barmaid's Arms and one thousand copies were made, sold out and is now a collector's item. It was augmented and reissued under the title At The Pub and sold 20,000 copies in Canada. The third album Pub Party with a full band and additional singers sold 30,000 in Canada. In Australia it was marketed on TV and sold 100,000 copies, earning London Bobby an Australian Gold Record.

In Edmonton, Alberta, Churchill's was looking for an entertainer for Klondike Days. London Bobby was the choice every July for 15 years. When Churchill's opened in Waikiki, London Bobby was the headline act there for three years. At Expo '86 he was selected for a six-month engagement at the British Pavilion where he entertained princes and politicians from everywhere.

The success of the London Bobby character put everything else on the back burner for a while. However Robert's interest in jazz and Broadway ensured that he continued to build that repertoire and currently Robert Smith is seen on cruise ships with this laid-back act, seated at the piano, singing songs and telling stories from Broadway. Between cruise contracts London Bobby still pops up at conventions in Victoria and Toronto and Robert Smith performs matinees on grand pianos in elegant homes around Ontario.

Where is he now?
Robert Smith, Sophisticated evening
London Bobby, Pub Night
Boring personal stuff

Appearances, Record Albums, TV

As London Bobby, Robert Lane-Smith has headlined: Some more places where London Bobby has appeared:
  • Churchill's, Edmonton, Alberta
  • White Corners Pub, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • The Horse Brass Pub, Portland, Oregon
  • Butlin's Holiday Resorts, England
  • Barmaid's Arms, Silver Rail, the Unicorn and the Fanny Hill, all pub-style restaurants in Toronto
  • Ontario Place
  • Marlborough Hotel, Winnipeg
  • Elephant and Castle in several Canadian locations.
  • Granite Club, Toronto
  • The Thornhill Golf Club, Thornhill, Ont
  • The Petroleum Club, Edmonton
  • The Union Club, Victoria
  • Hamilton Yacht Club, RCYC, etc. London Bobby on TV:
    • No Dishes Tonight, CBC
    • Pig & Whistle, CTV
    • At The Pub, CITY-TV
    Record Albums:
    • Booze, Birds and Ballads
    • At The Pub
    • Pub Party (Gold Record)
    • Streets of London
    • Hawaii Live, Oh
    • Laughter in Paradise
    • Last Night at the Pubs
    • Live at Expo'86
    • Wine and Roses (piano solos)
    For more information contact:
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