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Lyons and Yosco were an American vaudeville duo consisting of Italian American musicians George Lyons and Bob Yosco. They were called in one account "the finest pair of Italian street musicians playing in the Vaudeville ranks."[1] They toured the United States from 1909 into 1923, doing a musical and comedy act.[2][3][4] The News Journal of Wilmington, Delaware described their performance, saying they were "the best vocalists and instrumentalists of the street variety on the stage, proved intensely interesting, while their droll comedy kept the audience laughing much of the time."[5]

Lyons and Yosco
Lyons and Yosco.jpg
George Lyons and Bob Yosco in a publicity photo from the Salt Lake City Tribune, 28 January 1914
Background information
Birth nameDominick George Martoccio and Rocco Giuseppe Iosco
GenresVaudeville, Ragtime
Occupation(s)musicians, composers
Instrumentsharp, voice and mandolin
Years activeearly 1900s
LabelsVictor Records, Columbia Records

They were also successful composers of popular music, including ragtime. One of their best known works was the million-selling ragtime piece, "Spaghetti Rag" which was notably popular during the ragtime revival in the 1950s. Their compositions were recorded by performers for Victor Records and Columbia Records.[6][7]


George LyonsEdit

George Lyons was the stage name for Dominick George Martoccio (b. 26 June 1889, New York City – d. 31 January 1958, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida).[8][9][10] In his life he was a Vaudeville performer, a composer, and a movie actor. He was described by the Los Angeles Herald as "a premier harpist, playing most every kind of music, including ragtime, on his instrument."[11] Prior to his partnership with Bob Yosco, he worked in 1908 and 1909 with Eddie Parks, a singer and dancer, and when they parted he seems to have kept the basic act to use with Yosco.[12][13] He starred in a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer short movie, George Lyons, The Singing Harpist in 1929, performing four songs.[14] He also acted in the MGM movies Hylton and His Band (1937) and In the Spotlight (1935).[8]

Bob YoscoEdit

Robert Joseph Yosco, (b. 1874, Castelmezzano, Italy – d. 1942, Brooklyn, New York) was born Rocco Giuseppe Iosco.[15][16] He was a Vaudeville performer, a comedian, composer, singer and actor, and was reported by newspaper accounts to play mandolin, violin and cello. The Los Angeles Herald called his cello and mandolin playing "of high order", but was less impressed with his singing.[11] The Harrisburg Telegraph had a different opinion, saying they "took their audience by storm with their vocal duets. They were applauded several times for encores. They could sing in a real way and that is half of any act."[17]

Lawrence YoscoEdit

Robert's brother Lawrence Yosco was also involved in music, founding the Lawrence Yosco Manufacturing Company of New York, making banjos and mandolins.[18] He also toured the country as a guitar and banjo soloist.[19]


Lyons and Yosco, from their 1917 sheet music, "Macaroni Joe"

According to David A. Jasen, in his book Ragtime gems: original sheet music for 25 ragtime classics, sheet music for ragtime songs sometimes sold a million copies (the standard of today's Platinum Record for recorded music).[20] It tended not to happen as quickly as with music sales today, taking as long as 20 years for the hit "Maple Leaf Rag", but it did happen.[20]

"Spaghetti Rag" was part of a list of million-selling songs that included Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" and Charles L. Johnson's "Dill Pickles Rag".[20] "Spaghetti Rag" was covered by artists such as Vess L. Ossman (1 July 1912), Jack Fina (January 1950), Ray Anthony (March 1950), Frankie Carle (March 1950), Beatrice Kay (April 1950), Jan August (July 1950), Russ Morgan (January 1952), Big Tiny Little (1957), and Jo Ann Castle (1960).[21] It is also cited as an influence on Tom Lehrer's "The Vatican Rag", which is considered a rip-off by some critics.[22][23][24]

They also composed popular songs like "I'm Coming Back to Dixie and You", which was performed by The Peerless Quartet (16 June 1914)[25] and Frank Crumit (14 April 1920).[26]

Published musicEdit

Cover of sheet music "Spaghetti Rag" (1910)

George Lyons and Bob YoscoEdit

  • Tony Rag, The Cowboy Whop (1910)[27]
  • Spaghetti Rag (1910)[28]
A different version was published in 1950, with words added by Dick Rogers.[29]
  • Mardi Gras Rag (1914)[30]
  • I'm Coming Back To Dixie and You (1914)[31]
  • Don't Worry, Dearie (1917)[32]
  • Macaroni Joe (1917)[32]
  • The Road for You and Me (1917)[32]
  • Santa Rosa Rose (1918)[33]
  • The Liberty Boys are Coming (1918) (manuscript)[34]
  • Sweet Anna Marie (1919)[32]
  • The Toast of the USA (1919)[35]
  • Come Along and Hum Along With Me (1920)[32]
  • Italy (1921)[36]
  • Main Street (c. 1921)[36]
  • It Must Be Someone Like You (c. 1921)[36]
  • There's Only One Pal, After All (c. 1921)[36]
  • I Miss You (1922)[37]
  • Sometime in Junetime (1923)[37]

Bob YoscoEdit

  • What's the Use of Trying to Forget the One You Love (1910)[38]
  • The Old Love is the Best Love After All (1913)[39]
  • I'm a Happy Gondoliero (1929)[40]


  1. ^ "A Grand Min-winter Vaudeville Carnival". The Ottawa Journal. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. 23 January 1915. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  2. ^ The Sun. New York. 10 October 1909 Retrieved 25 September 2016. ...George Lyons and Bob Yosco in an Italian character musical novelty... Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "Majestic Big Time Vaudeville". San Antonio Evening News. San Antonio, Texas. 28 April 1922. Retrieved 25 September 2016. Lyons and Yosco in "Music and Songs"
  4. ^ "Lyons at Majestic". The Houston Post. Houston, Texas. 25 January 1924. Retrieved 25 September 2016. George Lyons who formerly circulated the big time circuits with Bob Yosco...
  5. ^ "Amusements, The Garrick". The News Journal. Wilmington, Delaware. 5 October 1912. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  6. ^ "Bob Yosco (composer)". Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  7. ^ "George Lyons (composer)". Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  8. ^ a b "George Lyons (I) (–1958)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  9. ^ "Deaths, George Lyons, 61, Vaudevillian". Ashbury Park Press. Ashbury Park, New Jersey. 2 February 1958. Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — George Lyons, harpist and Vaudevillian...died here Friday.
  10. ^ "Domenico Martoccio in the U.S., Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1895-1956". Retrieved 25 September 2016. U.S., Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1895-1956 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Martoccio Domenico age 49 male married born 26 June 1889 New York City, NY (Known as George Lyons) 115 Halstead St, East Orange, New Jersey
  11. ^ a b Olympius, Shirley (5 July 1910). "The Theaters". Los Angeles Herald. Los Angeles. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  12. ^ "Chapin Clever in Lincoln Act". Trenton Evening News. Trenton, New Jersey. 17 November 1908. Retrieved 25 September 2016. George Lyons, a harpist, and Eddie Parks, a singer, scored well in a versatile act which introduced vocal and instrumental music with some dancing and comedy dialogue.
  13. ^ "Vaudeville". The New York Times. New York, New York. 9 May 1909. Retrieved 25 September 2016. ...Lyons and Parks, the harpist and the dancer...
  14. ^ "Catalog of Feature Films, George Lyons, The Singing Harpist". The Authority on American Film. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  15. ^ Curley-Milone, Susan (30 May 2012). "Robert Joseph "Bob" Yosco, Sr". Find A Grave. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  16. ^ Spitzer, Susan (22 June 2002). "my Yosco (aka Iosco) family..." Retrieved 25 September 2016. Domenico IOSCO married Maria Antonia RUSSO (or Rupi? - unconfirmed) circa 1865 in Italy.One census record states that she had 18 children, but I have only obtained copies of the following children thus far:-Maria Lugia IOSCO b.1866 -Rocco Lorenzo IOSCO b.1869 -Mariarosa IOSCO b.1873 -Rocco Giuseppe IOSCO b.February 11, 1874 All were born in the town of Castelmezzano, province of Potenza, Basilicata region. I have no details on the two daughters yet, but have confirmation that the two boys & their parents immigrated to New York City circa 1877. Rocco Lorenzo married Bessie (unknown) who was born circa 1886 in Russia. He 'Americanized' his name into Lawrence & began a business named Lawrence Yosco Manufacturing Company where he created musical instruments like mandolins and banjos.(Many are still in existence & being traded on eBay constantly!)
  17. ^ "Comedy Acting at Majestic". Harrisburg Telegraph. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 12 January 1923. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  18. ^ Wright, Michael (August 2011). "Classic Instruments, The Yosco No. 2 Tenor Banjo". Vintage Guitar Magazine. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  19. ^ "YOSCO BANJOS ARE NEW TYPE". Presto, The American Musical Trade Weekly. No. 1752. Chicago, Illinois: Presto Publishing Company. 19 February 1920. p. 23. Retrieved 25 September 2016. YOSCO BANJOS ARE NEW TYPE The L. Yosco Manufacturing Company, Inc., 204 West Thirty-fourth street, New York, is making a double-rim banjo, so constructed as to increase the resonance and carrying power and also the quality of the tone...L. Yosco has traveled all over the country with the big musical shows as a great banjoist and guitar soloist, playing eighteen strings...
  20. ^ a b c Jasen, David A, (1986). Ragtime gems: original sheet music for 25 ragtime classics. New York: Dover Publications. p. iii. ISBN 978-0-486-25248-3.
  21. ^ "Cover versions of Spaghetti Rag by Lyons and Yosco". Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  22. ^ "BAIOCCHI vs CLASSICAL FM" (PDF). Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa. 27 November 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2016. The Registrar received a complaint concerning the broadcasting of a song called 'Vatican Rag' during a time slot identified for 'classical comedy' on 13 September 2013. The song was written and performed by satirist Tom Lehrer in the early 1960's. The music dates from 1910 and was then known the 'Spaghetti Rag'.
  23. ^ Video on YouTube
  24. ^ "University of Colorado Digital Sheet Music Collection: Spaghetti Rag". Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  25. ^ "I'm Coming Back to Dixie and You". Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  26. ^ "I'm Coming Back to Dixie and You". Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  27. ^ Lyons, George; Yosco, Bob. "Tony rag". University of Colorado Boulder Music Library. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  28. ^ Lyons, George; Yosco, Bob. "Spaghetti rag". University of Colorado Boulder Music Library. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  29. ^ Spaghetti Rag: Popular Standard; Single Songbook. New York: Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. 1950.
  30. ^ Lyons, George; Yosco, Bob. "Mardi gras rag". University of Colorado Boulder Music Library. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  31. ^ Lyons, George; Yosco, Bob. "I'm Going Back To Dixie and You". Library of Congress. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  32. ^ a b c d e "List of Works by Lyons and Yosco". Geoff Grainger's Webpages. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  33. ^ Canada Gazette: La Gazette Du Canada, Volume 52, Part 3. Canada. 1918.
  34. ^ Lyons, George; Yosco, Bob. "The liberty boys are coming]". Library of Congress. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  35. ^ Lyons, George; Yosco, Bob. "The toast of the U.S.A / George Lyons, (Harpist) [notated music]". Library of Congress. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  36. ^ a b c d Music Trades, Volume 62. Music Trades Corporation. 1921. p. 42.
  37. ^ a b Catolog of Copyright Entries, 3rd Series, Volume 4, Parts 7-11A, Number 1. Washington D. C.: Copyright Office, The Library of Congress. January–June 1950.
  38. ^ The Canada Gazette. Canada. 1910.
  39. ^ "The Old Love is the Best Love After All". Sheet Music Warehouse. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  40. ^ Catalog of Copyright Entries: Musical compositions, Part 3. Washington D. C.: Library of Congress, Copyright Office. 1930.

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