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I Once Met... Lonnie Donegan - Jonathan Sale

Regulars | By Jonathan Sale

The King of Skiffle: Lonnie Donegan c 1958

Jonathan Sale met the King of Skiffle, Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002), in his agent’s Olympia office in 1998

I met Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002), the King of Skiffle, in his agent’s Olympia office in 1998. He told me his total sales had now reached the ten-million mark. And counting. ‘My role was to listen to Mr A and sing it to Mr C,’ he explained. Mr A stood for the archetypal American blues player. Mr C was the British record-buyer. Mr Donegan himself was, of course, Mr B. He used an intriguing image: ‘It was like a snake eating its own tail.’ He meant that much of his material had begun as folk music in this country before migrating to the New World. Now he was bringing it back to Britain. ...

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