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CONCERTS AND CONCERT SINGERS 61
Turning to the male singers, it is only possible to mention a few of the more famous here. Two rival tenors appeared in the field in the early part of the eighteenth century, John Beard in 1736, and Thomas ("Tommy ") Lowe in 1740. The latter has already been mentioned as having become the proprietor of Marylebone Gardens for a time. He was originally a Spitalfields weaver, and was the possessor of an untrained but extremely pleasant voice. While he flourished at Vauxhall, Beard was singing at Ranelagh, and the rival managements played them off one against the other for several seasons.
Brief mention may be made of Joseph Vernon, Charles Banister, a fine bass singer with a marvellous falsetto, and Charles Dignum, a popular singer at Vauxhall and the composer of several ballads, after which we come to the two most famous names of all, Charles Incledon and John Braham.
Incledon was one of the finest tenors England has ever produced. He began life as a sailor, and he followed this profession for four years. Then his singing attracted the attention of his superior officers, and he eventually decided to give up the navy and try his fortune on the concert platform. His success was immediate, and he quickly won his way into public favour.