So what made him special? Listen to a couple of his performances (available on YouTube) and I think the answer will be obvious. You could start with this one (My Melancholy Baby), where he actually appeared on film: CLICK HERE.
My friend Carsten told me: Both Noble (who composed songs specifically with Bowlly's voice in mind - many of which remain 'standards' to this day) and Stone were excellent arrangers and knew exactly how to blend Bowlly's singing talent and vocal range with that of their bands, and the results were exceptionally good, whether in ballad or 'hot' number mode.
Carsten also told me that Ray Pallett, owner and publisher of the Memory Lane magazine, brought out a 400-page meticulously-researched biography - They Called Him Al - which may be considered the definitive work, if you should wish to explore Mr. Bowlly's life in greater depth.
Sadly, Al Bowlly was killed on 17 April 1941 in his London apartment when it was hit by the blast from a parachute mine dropped by the Luftwaffe. He was only 43 years old. I was also in London that night, surviving the bombing in our family's Anderson shelter. But I was too young to understand what was going on; or to be aware that, a mile or two away from me, the life of one of our finest singers had been cut short.