Leslie Hutchinson, affectionately known as 'Hutch' was a pianist and singer, born in Grenada in 1900.
Hutch made his West End debut in 1927 playing in the orchestra pit in 'One Dam’ Thing After Another'; an expensively mounted revue with costumes by Coco Chanel. His good looks and mesmerising cabaret performances at the Cafe de Paris, led to a string of invitations to play at London’s most exclusive parties.
Hutch secured a recording contract with Parlophone in the late 1920s and by the mid 1930s he was a superstar, mobbed by crowds wherever he went. He arrived at clubs in a Rolls Royce and entertained socialites and royalty, including the Prince of Wales.
However, he was still a black man in an era of racial discrimination. When he entertained at lavish Mayfair parties, he was often obliged to go in by the servants' entrance.
He recorded over 400 songs during his career, many written by his close friend Cole Porter including 'Lets do it (Lets fall in Love)'. Other popular songs by Hutch include ‘While a Cigarette was Burning' and 'The Way you Look Tonight'.
His string of high profile affairs with aristocracy and socialites of the day, the most notable Edwina Mountbatten, would ultimately overshadow his success and lead to the decline of his career.
After the WWII, his musical style fell out of fashion and he struggled with gambling and financial problems. He died in 1969, almost unknown.
In 2012, English Heritage erected a blue plaque at his former home at 31 Steele’s Road, Chalk Farm, London in memory of 'Hutch' – one of the most popular cabaret entertainers of the 1920s and 1930s.
Some of Hutch's performances recorded by British Pathe in the 1930s can be seen on YouTube.