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Lonnie Donegan MBE (April 29, 1931 – November 3, 2002) was a skiffle musician, possibly the most famous of them all, with more than 20 UK Top 30 hits to his name. He is sometimes called the King of Skiffle and is often cited as a large influence on the generation of British musicians who became famous in the 1960s.
He was born Anthony James Donegan in Glasgow, Scotland, the son of a professional violinist. His ethnic mix was Scottish/Irish. He moved with his mother to London at an early age, after his parents divorced. Inspired by blues music and New Orleans jazz bands he heard on the radio, he resolved to learn the guitar, and bought his first at the age of fourteen.
The first band he played in was the trad jazz band led by Chris Barber, who approached him on a train asking him if he wanted to audition for his group. Barber had heard that Donegan was a good banjo player; in fact, Donegan had never played the banjo at this point, but he bought one and managed to bluff his way through the audition. His stint in this group was interrupted, however, when he was called up for National Service in 1949. He also played in Ken Colyer's gro...