Strathearn Perthshire Scotland > History > People > Ewan Maccoll

Famous People: Ewan MacColl - And the myth of his birth place!

Ewan MacColl (1915 - 1989) the singer, songwriter and playwright was born James Miller. He often claimed to have been born in Auchterarder, thus his inclusion here. He was in fact born and bred in Salford. His Scots origin was one of the myths about himself he someways encouraged. His third wife, American Peggy Seeger called it "a charming character defect"! His mother was actually born in Auchterarder.

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Ewan MacColl's family were musical and he was taught many folk songs as a child. Like so many of his era, he left school at 14 working in offices and as a singer and actor when he could. In 1945 he founded Theatre Workshop, was company's artistic director until 1953 and wrote a number of plays for it. MacColl was a leading figure in the folk revival of the 1950/60s. With Peggy Seeger, he pioneered the "radio-ballad" type of documentary combining recorded interviews with songs and narration. The two published collections of folk songs, including Till Doomsday in the Afternoon (1986). MacColl's best-known song is "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face."

Ewan MacColl's daughter Kirsty MacColl continued the family musical tradition until her untimely death in December 2000: "There's A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis", a duet with The Pogues "Fairytale Of New York" and much much more. © 2008

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