George Grossmith, Jr., “Tommy Won’t You Teach Me How to Tango?” (1913)
Of all the things I’ve had to cut out of 1913, the most disappointing one is that I don’t get to cover the Tango Craze, which became official in the Anglophone world in with the 1912 West End (and 1913 Broadway) musical The Sunshine Girl, in which George Grossmith, Jr., as Lord Bilcester (in very much a Wodehousian vein), was hilarious in his attempts to dance the tango. (Sir Evelyn Oakleigh in Cole Porter’s Anything Goes is a direct descendent.)
The above song is from Grossmith’s 1913 West End vehicle The Girl on the Film — it was an interpolation into an originally-German operetta, and very obviously capitalizing on the sensation of his previous role. The London theater orchestra behind him makes a much better fist of a tango rhythm on the chorus than the Victor Military Band was doing at the same time, but still is nothing like as fluid as actual Argentine players.