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Bob Keller's Blog

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What's a Skiffle ?

This week marks the birthday of a musician who quite literally, changed the face of popular music, influenced the Beatles, Stones, sold 3 million copies of his first record and inspired over 50, 000 bands to play the kind of music he was playing. His name is Lonnie Donegan and the music is called Skiffle. Lonnie's birthday is Friday. He passed away almost 10 years ago, when he was 71 and in the midst of a sold out theater tour. He was about to perform at a George Harrison tribute concert with the Rolling Stones.  Lonnie's claim to fame in this country included his first big hit, Rock Island Line and then later one called "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It's Flavor Overnight"?..Hard to connect the dots..how can these songs be so important? ..Well look at it this way, in the 50s Skiffle was about as hip as it got for the pre-baby boomers in England. That would include a certain John Lennon who's first band, the Quarrymen, was a skiffle band. It had a rhythm to it and it featured guitar before most other music at the time. Lonnie Donegan got England's foot tapping and from that came a pulse in the music that was not there before. Eventually, Rock and Roll would traverse the Atlantic and England would really start to swing. If there were no Skiffle would the post war kids of England have anything to sing? Mark Knopfler released a tribute song in 2002 called "Donegans Gone".. Lonnie Donegan is the man, the 'skiffle king'.

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04/25/2011 9:50AM
What's a Skiffle ?
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