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J. Hervey Germain, author, composer, performer, actor and comedian (1888-1961)

J. Hervey Germain

J. Hervey Germain was born on June 5, 1888. Germain was a member of the Association dramatique de Montréal, founded in 1900 by Palmieri (Joseph Archambault). Germain had a notable performance on April 18, 1905, in the role of Valrennes in Frontenac -- a four-act play by Joseph Cadieux -- alongside Conrad Gauthier and Hector Pellerin.

In 1919, Hervey Germain joined the Jeanne-Demons company, made up of Henri Poitras, Jeanne Demons, Antoinette Giroux, Raoul Lery and Lise Bonheur, which played in the Family Theatre. That same year, he appeared alongside the actress Juliette Béliveau in the play Les Aventures d'Aglaé, which had a 52-week run at the Ouimetoscope. He revived this hit play in early 1923 at the same theatre.

Cover of the sheet music for "La Mort de l'orphelin," music written by J. Hervey Germain

J. Hervey Germain on the cover of Le Passe-Temps, February 1916  

While continuing to appear in a large number of plays and vaudeville acts during the 1920s, Hervey Germain had a very successful career from 1920 to 1935 on the Starr record label. With Juliette Béliveau, Fannie Tremblay and Rose Rey-Duzil as his leading ladies, he recorded more than 150 sketches, often taken from successful vaudeville acts. Equally important was the repertoire of songs he recorded, especially French versions of American hits, very often adapted by Roméo Beaudry. In the first half of the 20th century, J. Hervey Germain cut more recordings than any other Quebec artist apart from Isidore Soucy and Hector Pellerin.

From 1927 to 1931, he and the businessman Almer Perreault published the musical and literary review Le Canada qui chante, with Hector Pellerin as the music editor and Raoul Lery as the literary editor. J. Hervey Germain died on January 19, 1961.

Advertisments in La Lyre, November 1922, for recordings by J. Hervey Germain on the Starr-Gennett record label

For more information on J. Hervey Germain's recordings, please consult the Virtual Gramophone database.

Robert Thérien, music researcher, Montréal