“Champagne Charlie”

Author: Music by Alfred Lee/Words by Lee and/or George Leybourne
Earliest date: 1864
Keywords: drink nonballad courting
Found in: US


"I've seen a deal of gaiety throughout my noisy life; With all my grand accomplishments I ne'er could get a wife... For Champagne Charlie is my name (x2), Good for any game at night my boys." The singer details his drunken life


This is one of several songs developed as vehicles for George Leybourne (real name: Joe Saunders; c. 1842-1884), a singer and actor who made a living spoofing the life of upper-class British society. As "Heavy Swell," Leybourne exaggerated the hard-drinking, hard-gambling life of the young London dandy -- but only slightly.

Of all the songs Leybourne used, this was the most popular. It is, however, questionable whether he actually had a hand in the lyrics; many believe that they, like the tune, come from Alfred Lee. In America, it also received two new texts, one by H.J. Whymark and another by George Cooper. - RBW



  1. RJackson-19CPop, pp. 47-52, "Champagne Charlie" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Gilbert, pp. 60-61, "Champaign Charlie" (1 text)
  3. BI, RJ19047