Carey, Henry English composer; b. probably in Yorkshire, c. 1687; d. (suicide) London, Oct. 5, 1743. He was a natural son of Henry Savile, Lord Eland. He studied music with Linnert, Roseingrave, and Gemini-ani. He settled around 1710 in London, where he was active as a poet, librettist, playwright, and composer. He wrote six ballad-operas, of which The Contrivances (Drury Lane, London, June 20, 1729) achieved the greatest success. He wrote the words of the popular song Sally in Our Alley and composed a musical setting for it, but his setting was replaced in 1790 by the tune What Though I Am a Country Lass, which has since been traditionally sung to Carey’s original poem; also popular was his intermezzo with singing, Nancy, or The Parting Lovers (1739). He publ, a collection of 100 ballads, The Musical Century (two vols., 1737 and 1740); also six Cantatas (1732) and three Burlesque Cantatas (1741). Carey’s claim to the authorship of God Save the King was put forth by his son, George Savile Carey (1743–1807), more than 50 years after his father’s death, without any supporting evidence; many anthologies still list Carey’s name as the author of the British national anthem. For a complete account of this misat-tribution, see P.A. Scholes, God Save the Queen! (London, 1954). See also W. Cummings, “God Save the King/’ The Origin and History of the Music and Words (London, 1902), O.G. Sonneck, Report on the Star- Spangled Banner (1909), RS. Boas and J.E. Borland, The National Anthem (London, 1916), J.A. Fuller Maitland, “Facts and Fictions about God Save the King” Musical Quarterly (Oct. 1916), and E.A. Maginty, “America: The Origin of Its Melody,” ibid. (July 1934).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire
Henry Carey, 1687–1743, English author. After the first collection of his poems appeared in 1713, he turned to writing for the stage. Primarily a writer of farce comedy, his greatest success was Chrononhotonthologos (1734), a burlesque on theatrical bombast. He is best remembered, however, for his songs, in particular the ballad "Sally in Our Alley."