Sydney John Lipton
(London: 4 January 1904 – Palm Beach, Florida: 19 July 1995)

Syd Lipton was an accomplished violinist and British dance band leader from the 1930’s. He honed his skills in cinema orchestra’s playing to silent movies before progressing, in the early 1920’s to playing with dance bands. His polished musicianship and slick attire kept him at the top of the Dance Band scene for over three decades.

Sydney Lipton
Sydney Lipton-1933
Sydney Lipton-1936


  • 1925: Syd Lipton joined the famous Billy Cotton Band and made his first recordings.
  • 1927: He recorded and broadcast with the Ambrose Orchestra.
  • 1928: He re-joined Billy Cotton in his London Savannah Band at the Astoria Ballroom.
  • 1931: He left the Cotton band to form his own band to play at the Royal Palace Hotel in Kensington.
  • 1932: Syd moved his band to the Grosvenor House Hotel in London and started recording on the Zonophone and then Decca labels. He stayed at the Grosvenor until the war; with an ever changing group of the best musicians of the era.
  • 1933: From the Grosvenor, his band started regular broadcasts on BBC radio. The band in 1933 were: Sydney Lipton directing: Freddy Clayton (trumpet); Bud Hammond (trombone); Freddy Gardner (alto sax, baritone sax); Jimmy Goss (alto sax); Roy Martin (tenor sax); Ronnie Ogilvie (piano, vocals); Harry Thorne (guitar); Bob Lamont (brass bass); Jock Jacobson (drums).
  • 1936: Sydney Lipton directing: Max Goldberg (trumpet); Ted Heath & Archie Craig (trombones); Chips Chippendale (alto sax, baritone sax); Harry Hayes (alto sax); George Pallett (tenor sax); George Evans (tenor-sax, arrangements); Billy Munn (piano); Jack Llewellyn (guitar); Will Hemmings (string bass); Jock Cummings (drums).
  • 1938: On January 18th 1938, Al Bowlly recorded four tracks with Sidney Lipton and his Grosvenor House Orchestra. “The Lonesome Trail Ain't Lonesome Any More”, “It’s A Long, Long Way to Your Heart”, “Souvenir of Love” and “Trusting My Luck”. They were all released on the Decca label.
    The personnel: Syd Lipton (violin, directing); Bill Smith, Tom Heath, Lloyd Shakespeare (trumpets); Ted Heath (trombone); Harry Hayes, Chips Chippendall (clarinet, alto sax); George Evans (tenor sax, arrangements); George Pallett (tenor sax); Dick Willows, Maurice Loban (violins); Billy Munn (piano, arrangements); Jack Llawellyn (guitar); Will Hemmings (string bass); Barry Wicks (drums, xylophone); Al Bowlly (vocals).
  • 1939: Around this time, he formed his own entertainment agency.
  • 1940: His daughter Celia Lipton joined the band as vocalist. She also sang with Lew Stone and Jack Hylton. She later moved to the States to become an actress.
  • 1940-45: During the war years, Captain Sydney Lipton serving in the Royal Artillery and then the Royal Signals.
  • 1945: He returned to the Grosvenor House Hotel, and continued to lead the orchestra there until 1967
  • 1967: He retired from leading a band and concentrated on his entertainment agency, and served as musical director for various venues and cruise ships.
  • 1995: Sydney John Lipton died in Palm Beach, Florida while visiting his daughter Celia.

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