Lonnie Donegan: 1931 to 2002
Lonnie Donegan, known as the father of 1950s British “skiffle” music which influenced the Beatles and others in the following decade, died November 3. He was 71.
Donegan started out as a jazz musician but was intrigued by the American music he heard on international radio while in the British Army. Eventually he began melding folk, country and blues sounds on guitar and banjo, backed with upright bass and drums. Dubbed skiffle music, it became wildly popular on the strength of Donegan’s 1954 single “Rock Island Line”, which sold in the millions and remains an oft-covered chestnut among roots-rock bands today.