This is for all you sensible people who don't want to wade through thousands of words in the full biography. This will tell you what lots of other sites and books can tell you, in an easily digestible year by year kind of way. If you need more, visit the full biography.
1892 John Greenhalgh Hilton born to George and Mary Hilton in Great Lever, Bolton on July 2nd. George at this time worked in a cotton mill, Mary (formerly Greenhalgh) was a schoolteacher.
1899 John was known as Jack and by now had received his first piano lessons through the local Clarion Club.
1901 George was now running a pub, and Jack would regularly accompany his father who sang; Jack himself would later sing, too.
1905 Jack had his first professional engagement in Rhyll as part of a Pierrot troupe (see Photo Section). He worked hard in Rhyll and learned his trade. He also changed his surname to the more showy Hylton.
1909 Jack was now a seasoned performer. He took a job as musical director of a touring pantomime company, despite only being 17. He earned 45 shillings a week.
1913 Various jobs came up - he returned to the Pierrots and worked steadily for the pantomime company. At this time he met his first wife Ennis Parkes (who would later run a band of her own, put together by her then estranged husband).
1914 Hylton works as organist at the Alexandra theatre in Camden Town
1915 Hylton works as relief pianist for a band based in the 400 Club in Old Bond Street. the club soon closes down after the outbreak of war and Hylton joins the 20th Hussars as musical director of the entertainment division.
1918 Jack teams up with Tommy Handley after working on a touring version of "Shanghai" together. They work as a double act, with modest success.
1920 Having parted company with Handley, and after spending a summer selling sheet music in Blackpool, Jack begins working for the Queen's Dance Orchestra in London. While trying to recreate the music of Paul Whiteman's band, Hylton transcribes some music. He is refused extra payment so has 'Directed by Jack Hylton' on every record. This would prove his career masterstroke.
1921 Hylton is forced out of the Queen's but returns just a few weeks later for a huge fee under the name Jack Hylton & His Orchestra. At the beginning of 1923, he begins an epic recording career under that banner.
1925 The band grew in size and stature, moving to better paid, higher profile jobs at the Piccadilly, the the Kit-Kat Club and to the Alhambra, where they stayed for a record 36 weeks. it was becoming clear to other bandleaders that Hylton was the one to follow.
1926 Hylton became inundated with offers, so much so that he put bands in other venues with his name attached. By now, he was also adding strings to his regular line-up. Later in the year the band played their first Royal Command Performance at the Alhambra, and also played at the Royal Albert Hall. Hylton now did not play the piano, but conducted.
1927 Hylton involved in a serious car crash, hospitalised for four weeks. He would sport a scar on his left cheek for the rest of his life. Despite this, the band continue to work, and head out on their first of 16 continental tours.
1929 The band go from strength to strength. Keys players leave, but Jack has an eye for future stars and continues to recruit. Despite their punishing schedule, the band play little radio and are given long peak time slots when possible, which are listened to by millions. This year the band are asked to play in America, but US Musicians Union rejects the plans. They stay. In one legendary year, the band give 700 performances and travel 63,000 miles. Their records sell at one every seven minutes, totalling 3,180,000 for the year.
1930 Jack and the band are now so popular in Europe that Hylton is awarded the 'Officer de L'Instruction Publique' by the French Government.
1931 The band meet Igor Stravinsky who asks them to play an excerpt from one of his works, "Mavra". They are the first band to play a non-classical concert in the Paris Opera House this year, and play the Stravinsky work there. It would never be played again. This year, Hylton ends his long-standing recording contract with HMV and moves to the fledgling Decca label. He was, incidentally a major Decca shareholder.
1932 More continental tours, more awards. Hylton is given the 'Legion D'Honneur' by the French Government. They also broadcast to America, another first for the band.
1933 Hylton arranges for Duke Ellington and his band to travel to Britain and tour Europe. An insight to what Hylton would spend his time doing after he finished bandleading.
1935 The band star in their own film, "She Shall Have Music". Later in the year, Jack disbands his orchestra and travels to America for ten months, where he leads a band of American musicians. Again, he is inundated with offers of work, and stays much longer than was originally planned.
1936 Jack reforms his band, with a more modern sound, obviously influenced by his time in the USA. They are as popular as ever.
1938 The band play their final European tour. They return to star in their second film vehicle, "Band Waggon". By now Hylton is at the height of his success.
1940 The band enter the recording studio for the final time. By April, 7 key members are called up for war duty together. Hylton takes the shock decision to disband permanently. His new career began with the promotion of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, who were in financial difficulty. Hylton guided them to two succesful concert tours, and ensured their longevity.
1941 Hylton begins his second succesful career, as theatrical producer and entrepreneur. For the next decade he dominates London theatres. He reformed teh Crazy Gang and they began a 20 year association with Hylton.
1948 Jack has a string of theatre successes. In 1948 he discovers, amongst 4,000 other hopefuls, a young Shirley Bassey. Shows include "The Merry Widow", "Salute To Victory", "Kiss Me Kate", "Kismet", "Salad Days", "When In Rome", etc, etc.
1950 Hylton reforms his band one last time, for the Royal Command Performance. He resists the temptation to reform on a permanent basis, despite many requests.
1955 Jack begins working for the new independent TV network, Associated-Rediffusion, as Advisor of Light Entertainment. He uses many of his discoveries from stage and promotes them as TV stars. Many of his programmes are commercially succesful, but critically slated. Certainly the standard was not generally high.
1959 While juggling both TV and stage, Hylton stays a success, but resigns from ITV this year after some 259 shows.
1960 At the age of 68, Hylton begins to slow down, but only slightly.
1963 Hylton begins work on his final stage show, the grand "Camelot". Also in this year, aged 70, he marries 29 year old ex-Australian beauty queen Beverley Prowse. They remain married until his death.
1965 On January 26th, Hylton goes into hospital complaining of chest pains. 3 days later, he dies from a heart attack. his wild spending habits left his estate with just £151,160 after duty. Tributes flooded in. A memorial concert was staged - "The Stars Shine For Jack" and with the proceeds, a University Music Department is built and named in his honour, at Lancaster, close to his birthplace.