Alma Cogan's mother actually pushed her toward a career as a singer and stage performer. In 1948, at age 16, she was spotted in the chorus of High Button Shoes by EMI staff producer Walter J. Ridley who signed her to the HMV label. Cogan began her career doing ballads, but her first hit was a novelty tune called "Bell Bottom Blues" in 1954. By the 1960's, she was the star of her own television program, and was also cast as Nancy in Oliver! She attracted press attention as a personality beyond her singing, for her sense of humor and for her collection of luxurious clothes; and her home was filled with an extraordinary array of fashions.
By the mid-60's, Cogan was often in the British gossip columns for her all-night parties. Her guests included such diverse figures as Stanley Baker, Paul McCartney, Roger Moore, Noel Coward, Ethel Merman, and Lionel Bart, among many others. McCartney went on to contribute percussion to the B-side of one of her mid-1960's singles, which resulted in her covering versions of "Eight Days A Week, " as well as "Yesterday, " "I Feel Fine, " and "Ticket To Ride" (in quite elegant deliveries). While touring Sweden in 1966, she fainted. She was diagnosed as terminally ill, and died on October 26 of that year in a London hospital of cancer. Her final album, "Alma", was released early the following year.
A notable nickname Alma Cogan had (with variations) was "Girl with a laugh (giggle, etc.) in her voice", which proved to be very apparent in some of the most whimsical novelty tunes done like "Lizzie Borden", "In the Middle of the House", "Snakes and Snails" and especially "He Couldn't Resist her with her Pocket Transistor".