Without Lonnie Donegan not only would there have been no Beatles / Rolling Stones or Van Morrison, the folk music scene in these islands would have been a much different place. Most of the younger end of the 2nd wave of the revival were influenced by skiffle – we were either in skiffle groups or had started off listening to folk music through the recordings of Lonnie Donegan because, although he might have recorded a good few crowd pleasers like My Old Man’s A Dustman and Does Your Chewing Gum Lose its Flavour On The Bedpost Overnight, his bedrock was folk music, in particular the songs of people like Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie and traditional Irish ballads like My Lagan Love and the rebel song Kevin Barry.
Lonnie had more than 20 Top 30 hits to his name and, though he didn’t know it at the time, he had countless kids all over these islands (including me) badgering their parents for guitars and sitting in their bedrooms learning 3 chords from the Bert Weedon Play In A Day book.
In a 2002 interview he said;
“In England, 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.”