When 10,000 people sang along to Joe Wilson's Keep Your Feet Still, Geordie Hinny at this year's Sunday for Sammy, it was an indication of the longevity of songs written by "The Bard Of Tyneside" around 170 years ago.
Next month a new comedy-drama play (with music) called the Great Joe Wilson is having its world premiere at the 1,000-seat Darlington Hippodrome before coming to Tyneside.
Written by Sunday for Sammy comedy sketch writer Ed Waugh, who penned last year's hit plays Mr Corvan's Music Hall and Hadaway Harry, with tunes put to Wilson's lyrics by Sunday for Sammy veteran Peter Scott, the show is based on Dave Harker's new book The Gallowgate Lad: Joe Wilson's life & Songs.
Arguably the greatest Geordie singer/songwriter ever, Waugh says Joe Wilson's songs are certainly up there with the region's best known international songsters like Alan Hull, Mark Knopfler and Sting.
"Joe wrote about working class life in Newcastle in the 19th century and his songs still stand up today because they are relevant to the lives of working people, " explained Waugh.
"In 2011 The Unthanks recorded Gallowgate Lad while Keep Your feet Still, Geordie Hinny has been recorded dozens of times, the Dubliners claimed Sally Wheatley as an integral part of their set and Alex Glasgow recorded numerous songs by Joe."
Waugh continued: "Pete Scott and Judy Dinning both produced successful CDs containing Joe's songs and these CDs still sell well today."
Joe Wilson was born in 1841 in Stowell Street, Newcastle (today's Chinatown) and became a regional superstar , playing all the major theatres throughout the North East until his early death from TB in 1875 aged only 33.
"His story is quite tragic, which give us great drama," said Waugh. "However, while the show has pathos it is also very funny. Joe's legacy of songs range from supporting workers on strike and condemning domestic violence to hilarious songs like Geordie Haad the Bairn and Row Upon the Stairs."
Sunday for Sammy producer Ray Laidlaw, said: "Sunday for Sammy is proud to be associated with The Great Joe Wilson. The response to Keep Your Feet Still, Geordie Hinny at the Arena was incredible and we are urging all of our supporters to see this show about our Geordie heritage."
The Great Joe Wilson has its world premiere at Darlington Hippodrome from September 6 to 8, then transfers to Playhouse Whitley Bay (September 11), Sage Gateshead (September 12), Alun Armstrong Theatre, Stanley (September 13) and Westovian Theatre, South Shields (September 14 and 15).
Find out more: https://www.wisecrackproductions.co.uk/