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Lonnie Lonnie Donegan


Every generation finds - music that will blow their minds

And defines their journey down through time

Mine was 1950’s days - just before the Beatles craze

When I heard the song ‘Rock Island Line’

Fate had chosen for its plan - jazz-man Lonnie Donegan

Took us on a magic carpet ride

Folk & blues played fast & raw - Lonnie’s voice a high-pitched saw

Skiffle music came in like the tide


     Lonnie, Lonnie Donegan

Lonnie, Lonnie Donegan

Lonnie changed the course of peoples lives

Midnight Special - Coolie Dam - Pick a Bale of  Cotton man

Even if your home town was St. Ives

Lonnie played with razzmatazz - strummed his guitar with pizzazz

Singing like a tiger poised to spring

He was cool when he was hot - we all felt like we’d been shot

When we heard that King of Skiffle sing

3 chords were the swords of fate - hoards of kids would imitate

Music revolution of a kind

Thrashing anything thing we’d got - washboard or a chamber pot

Emptied first to show you were refined


Music was democratised - Lonnie should be canonised

For the way he changed those teenage lives

Helen launched a thousand ships - skiffle bands ate   fish ‘n’ chips

After gigs in dirty dingy dives

Skiffle came and skiffle went - Lonnie he was Heaven sent

Music owes a lot to Lonnie D

Rock was waiting in the wings - kids went on to other things

But he set a generation free



Donegan Quotations[edit]

I'm trying to sing acceptable folk music. I want to widen the audience beyond the artsy-craftsy crowd and the pseudo intellectuals–but without distorting the music itself. NME – June 1956[14]

"In Britain, we were separated from our folk music tradition centuries ago and were imbued with the idea that music was for the upper classes. You had to be very clever to play music. When I came along with the old three chords, people began to think that if I could do it, so could they. It was the reintroduction of the folk music bridge which did that." – Interview, 2002.