Sixty years ago today Lonnie Donegan was sitting on top of the charts for the first time with his skiffle version of Cumberland Gap. Born Anthony James Donegan in Bridgeton, Glasgow he was to spearhead the do it yourself skiffle movement that was to inspire countless young British groups including the Quarrymen, later to become the Beatles. He adopted his stage name after opening for American bluesman Lonnie Johnson. His first hit came in 1956, an up tempo version of Rock Island Line, an American folk song previously covered by Leadbelly. It was the start of a run of consecutive hit singles that was to see him become the most successful British recording artist prior to the Beatles hitting the scene. In later years he became a producer and also released several novelty records including My Old Man’s A Dustman. Many artists have gone on record to emphasise the influence he had on their nascent careers including members of the Beatles, Roger Daltrey and former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler. Lonnie Donegan died in November 2002. His influence on the development of popular music lives on and will continue to resonate for as long as young musicians are starting out with nothing more than a few chords, cheap instruments and a love of what has gone before.
There’s only a few days left to run on Iona Fyfe’s crowdfunding appeal for her debut album. Her interpretations of the traditional ballads of the North East of Scotland have already seen her gather a legion of fans. Scheduled for release early next year it will be one worth looking out for. You can help fund what is sure to be a beautiful album by following the link below.
Stuart Adamson, founder of The Skids and Big Country would have been 59 years old today. It is really hard to believe it is over 15 years since he passed away. One of the most talented guitarists of his generation his truly unique sound will never be forgotten.