Very very important figure to the British music scene in particular, I feel that he deserves a thread on here.
First on all, some information about the man, here's his official website:
More information on this website:
As stated in the official site, he was the first British artist to have a gold record with a debut single, the first artist to get e.p's and albums into the British singles chart, the first British artist to have a major rock single success in the USA, with Rock Island Line.
In addition, kingofskiffle has kindly sent me an excel list of all his hits - bit of a lengthy list, though! Thanks kingofskiffle, I think the best thing for me to do is to quote some facts and figures from it, but also to ask anyone who wants the full list to private message kingofskiffle about it - I am sure that he will then email you back the full list.
With reference to kingofskiffle's data, Lonnie Donegan had no less than 24 top 30 UK hits between January 1956 and August 1962, including 3 number one singles. These singles/e.p's spent no less than 244 weeks in the British charts when their chart runs were combined, so an average of about 10 weeks per disc, a great achievement.
His albums, according to kingofskiffle's list, spent 73 weeks in the official UK album charts, with his biggest hit album, Lonnie Donegan's Showcase, reaching number two in the charts.
According to kingofskiffle's data, Lonnie also had 2 top ten hits in the States - remember, this was BEFORE the Beatles! - and spent over 20 weeks in the USA singles chart. He was the first British male singer to have two top ten hits in the USA.
A very, very important artist, in my view, as important to the early British rock scene as Elvis, Cliff, or Buddy Holly. He popularised the skiffle craze in Britain, so many major British bands started out as skiffle bands, including the Beatles, The Who, The Kinks. Even some seventies icons, like David Bowie, tried skiffle in their formulative years.
Lonnie and his band were a self-contained unit, writing, playing and recording a great many of their own songs, hence a big big influence on sixties bands like The Beatles. And the fact that they had a breakthrough in the American charts was, again, so very important to the British bands of the sixties beat boom, a basic introduction to America of British rock music, if you like.
His first number one, Cumberland Gap, was the first "skiffle" number one, his second number one, Putting On The Style/Gamblin' Man, was the first ever double A-sided number one in Britain. His third number one, My Old Man's A Dustman, was a novelty record recorded in Bristol, one of the first rock novelty records to make top spot in Britain.
Unit sales are difficult to estimate, maybe as many as 20 or 30 million around the World.
Some youtube links are in order here, this record, also a bit of a novelty song, was one of his biggest Worldwide sellers:
Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor On The Bedpost Overnight, a big hit for Lonnie in the States, and British accents evident on this record - again, that's important, when the record was made in the fifties, many British artists were putting on American accents when singing.
The late great dj John Peel was a big fan of this Lonnie special:
Of course, this is an old standard, but what a great vocal performance of Frankie and Johnny by Lonnie Donegan, no wonder it appealed so much to John Peel.
Lonnie was very important, a pioneer to the early British music rock and roll scene, he deserves a thread on here.
Thanks again to kingofskiffle for the data, let's tip our hats to Lonnie, a big seller of singles in Britain especially, and, in my view, an unsung influence on rock music's development.