Henry Herbert Godfrey

Henry Herbert Godfrey. Songwriter, business executive, b Plymouth, England, 1858, d Westmount (Montreal) 18 Jan 1908. His musical education was informal. After his arrival in Canada in 1874 he worked in a Montreal piano factory, served as a church organist, and led a vaudeville band.

Godfrey, Henry Herbert

Henry Herbert Godfrey. Songwriter, business executive, b Plymouth, England, 1858, d Westmount (Montreal) 18 Jan 1908. His musical education was informal. After his arrival in Canada in 1874 he worked in a Montreal piano factory, served as a church organist, and led a vaudeville band. About 1883 he became a piano salesman for the Nordheimer Co in Ottawa, moving to Toronto in 1888. Later he was manager for Mason & Risch, then for Gourlay, Winter & Leeming Piano Co, and in 1903 he returned to Montreal as managing director of C.W. Lindsay & Co. Nordheimer published some 15 of Godfrey's dances and marches for student pianists. However, it was for his patriotic songs (mostly to his own words) that he was best known. After publication by Mason & Risch, Nordheimer, Orme, Whaley Royce, and others, 18 songs were reissued in an album called Canadian Patriotic Songs and Melodies (Canadian-American Music 1902). Godfrey's 'The Land of the Maple' and its French version, 'Le Pays de l'érable,' (1897) sold over 100,000 copies, 'The Men of the North' (1897) over 60,000. 'Toronto, or the Pride of the North' (1898) won the prize in a University of Toronto Song Book Committee competition. 'Johnny Canuck's the Lad,' 'Soldiers of Canada,' and 'When Johnny Canuck Comes Home' were written in 1900 during the South African War. Other titles include 'The Story of the Flag,' 'Hark! The Drum' (1897), and 'Canada's Hymn of Empire' (1899). None appears to have been recorded. Godfrey compiled A Souvenir of Musical Toronto (Toronto 1897, 1898-9), a useful survey of music and musicians active at the time (see Dictionaries).