Since today is the national holiday Victoria Day here in Canada I thought it would make perfect sense to choose a song from an artist who greatly impacted the music scene in England, Lonnie Donegan, This well known skiffle artist recorded the song of the week “My Old Man’s a Dustman”, a song he co-wrote with Beverly Thorn and Peter Buchanon. Skiffle music in England was a type of folk music popular in 1950's England which had blues and jazz influences. This style of music was played by smaller groups that often used a combination of conventional and home made instruments such as the washboard giving them a truly unique rustic and amusing sound.
Though Lonnie Donegal does hail from Scotland originally, this song became a number one hit on the British, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand singles charts in 1960. He became known as the King of Skiffle and he heavily influenced pop musician’s of the 1960’s. Some say he was Britain’s most successful and influential artist before The Beatles. Lonnie Donegan had 31 Top 30 hit singles in the U.K. and 2 U.S. Top 10 hits.
Donegan was a wonderful entertainer and songwriter who had tremendous charm and a wry sense of humour. I have used another of his songs in my classes called “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It’s Flavour on the Bed Post Overnight” for a little comic relief. His music makes people smile and that’s always a good thing! As you know, when you’re trying to get people to be active and exercise, music can be your best friend.
Below are two interesting quotes I found online from well known British musicians who give Lonnie Donegan a tip of their musical hat.
"He was the first person we had heard of from Britain to get to the coveted No. 1 in the charts, and we studied his records avidly. We all bought guitars to be in a skiffle group. He was the man." – Paul McCartney
"I wanted to be Elvis Presley when I grew up, I knew that. But the man who really made me feel like I could actually go out and do it was a chap by the name of Lonnie Donegan." - Roger Daltry