Ewan MacColl
Ewan MacColl

Celebrity Profile

Name: Ewan MacColl
Occupation: Folk Singer
Gender: Male
Birth Day: January 25, 1915
Death Date: Oct 22, 1989 (age 74)
Age: Aged 74
Country: England
Zodiac Sign: Aquarius

Social Accounts

Height: in centimeters - N/A
Weight: in kg - N/A
Eye Color: N/A
Hair Color: N/A
Blood Type N/A
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Ewan MacColl

Ewan MacColl was born on January 25, 1915 in England (74 years old). Ewan MacColl is a Folk Singer, zodiac sign: Aquarius. Find out Ewan MacCollnet worth 2020, salary 2020 detail bellow.


He wrote the 1972 Grammy Award-winning song, "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," which was performed by both Peggy Seeger and Roberta Flack.

Does Ewan MacColl Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Ewan MacColl died on Oct 22, 1989 (age 74).

Net Worth

Net Worth 2020


Salary 2020

Not known

Before Fame

He was a member, in his youth, of both the Young Communist League and the Clarion Players, a theater company with a socialist bent.

Biography Timeline


James Miller was the youngest and only surviving child in the family of three sons and one daughter (one of each sex was stillborn and one son died at the age of four). They lived amongst a group of Scots and Jimmy was brought up in an atmosphere of fierce political debate interspersed with the large repertoire of songs and stories his parents had brought from Scotland. He was educated at Grecian Street School in Broughton. He left school in 1930 after an elementary education, during the Great Depression and, joining the ranks of the unemployed, began a lifelong programme of self-education whilst keeping warm in Manchester Central Library. During this period he found intermittent work in a number of jobs and also made money as a street singer.


In 1931, with other unemployed members of the Clarion Players he formed an agit-prop theatre group, the "Red Megaphones". During 1934 they changed the name to "Theatre of Action" and not long after were introduced to a young actress recently moved up from London. This was Joan Littlewood who became MacColl's wife and work partner. In 1936, after a failed attempt to move to London, the couple returned to Manchester, and formed the Theatre Union. In 1940 a performance of The Last Edition – a 'living newspaper' – was halted by the police and MacColl and Littlewood were bound over for two years for breach of the peace. The necessities of wartime brought an end to Theatre Union. MacColl enlisted in the British Army during July 1940, but deserted in December. Why he did so, and why he was not prosecuted after the war, remain a mystery. In an interview in June 1987, he said that he was expelled for "anti-fascist activity". Allan Moore and Giovanni Vacca wrote that MacColl had been subject to Special Observation whilst in the King's Regiment, owing to his political views, and that the records show that, rather than being discharged, he was declared a deserter on 18 December 1940.


In 1932 the British intelligence service, MI5, opened a file on MacColl, after local police asserted that he was "a communist with very extreme views" who needed "special attention". For a time the Special Branch kept a watch on the Manchester home that he shared with his first wife, Joan Littlewood. MI5 caused some of MacColl's songs to be rejected by the BBC, and prevented the employment of Littlewood as a BBC children's programme presenter.


In 1946 members of Theatre Union and others formed Theatre Workshop and spent the next few years touring, mostly in the north of England. In 1945, Miller changed his name to Ewan MacColl (influenced by the Lallans movement in Scotland).


In 1947, McColl visited a retired lead-miner named Mark Anderson (1874-1953) in Middleton-in-Teesdale, County Durham, England, who performed to him a song called "Scarborough Fair"; MacColl recorded the lyrics and melody in a book of Teesdale folk songs, and later included it on his and Peggy Seeger's The Singing Island (1960). Martin Carthy learnt the song from McColl's book, before teaching it to Paul Simon; Simon & Garfunkel released the song as "Scarborough Fair/Canticle" on their album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, popularising the obscure and unique folk tune. Ewan MacColl, a decade after collecting the song, released his own version accompanied by Peggy Seeger on guitar in 1957 on the LP "Matching Songs of the British Isles and America" and an a capella rendition another decade later on "The Long Harvest" (1967).


During this period MacColl's enthusiasm for folk music grew. Inspired by the example of Alan Lomax, who had arrived in Britain and Ireland in 1950, and had done extensive fieldwork there, MacColl also began to collect and perform traditional ballads. His long involvement with Topic Records started in 1950 with his release of a single, "The Asphalter's Song", on that label. When, in 1953 Theatre Workshop decided to move to Stratford, London, MacColl, who had opposed that move, left the company and changed the focus of his career from acting and playwriting to singing and composing folk and topical songs.


In 1956, MacColl caused a scandal when he fell in love with 21-year-old Peggy Seeger, who had come to Britain to transcribe the music for Alan Lomax's anthology Folk Songs of North America (published in 1961). At the time MacColl, who was twenty years older than Peggy, was still married to his second wife, the dancer Jean Newlove (b. 1923), the mother of two of his children, Hamish (b. 1950) and Kirsty (1959–2000).


MacColl had been a radio actor since 1933. By the late 1930s he was writing scripts as well. In 1957 producer Charles Parker asked MacColl to collaborate in the creation of a feature programme about the heroic death of train driver John Axon. Normal procedure would have been to use the recorded field interviews only as source for writing the script. MacColl produced a script that incorporated the actual voices and so created a new form that they called the radio ballad.

Between 1957 and 1964, eight of these were broadcast by the BBC, all created by the team of MacColl and Parker together with Peggy Seeger who handled musical direction, conducted a great many field interviews, and wrote songs, either together with MacColl or alone. MacColl wrote the scripts and songs, as well as, with the others, collecting the field recordings which were the heart of the productions.


In 1959, MacColl began releasing LP albums on Folkways Records, including several collaborative albums with Peggy Seeger. His song "Dirty Old Town", inspired by his home town of Salford in Lancashire, was written to bridge an awkward scene change in his play Landscape with Chimneys (1949). It went on to become a folk-revival staple and was recorded by the Spinners (1964), Donovan (1964), Roger Whittaker (1968), the Dubliners (1968), Rod Stewart (1969), the Clancy Brothers (1970), the Pogues (1985), the Mountain Goats (2002), Simple Minds (2003), Ted Leo and the Pharmacists (2003), Frank Black (2006) and Bettye LaVette (2012).


MacColl dedicated an entire album to the lifestyle of Gypsies in his 1964 album The Travelling People. Many of the songs spoke against the prejudice against Roma Gypsies, although some would also contain derogatory remarks about "tinkers", which is a word for Irish Travellers.


In 1965 Ewan and Peggy formed the Critics Group around a number of young followers, with Charles Parker in attendance, frequently recording the group's weekly sessions at MacColl and Seeger's home. The initial aim of improving musical skills soon broadened to performing at political events, the Singers' Club where MacColl, Seeger and Lloyd were featured artists and theatre productions. Members who became performing folk singers in their own right included Frankie Armstrong, John Faulkner, Sandra Kerr, Dennis Turner, Terry Yarnell, Bob Blair, Jim Carroll, Brian Pearson and Jack Warshaw. Other members, including Michael Rosen, joined primarily for theatre productions, the Festival of Fools, a political review of the previous year.


Many of MacColl's best-known songs were written for the theatre. For example, he wrote "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" very quickly at the request of Seeger, who needed it for use in a play she was appearing in. He taught it to her by long-distance telephone, while she was on tour in the United States (from where MacColl had been barred because of his Communist past). Seeger said that MacColl used to send her tapes to listen to whilst they were apart and that the song was on one of them. This song, which was recorded by Roberta Flack for her debut album, First Take, which was issued by Atlantic records in June 1969, had become a No. 1 hit in 1972 and had won MacColl a Grammy Award for Song of the Year, while Flack received a Grammy Award for Record of the Year.


When asked about the song in a 1985 interview, he said that it was "a very good song" and that "it dealt with some of the positive things that Stalin did". In 1992, after his death, Peggy Seeger included it as an annex in her Essential Ewan MacColl Songbook, saying that she had originally planned to exclude the song on the grounds that Ewan would not have wanted it included, but decided to include it as an example of his work in his early career.


In his last interview in August 1988, MacColl stated that he still believed in a socialist revolution and that the communist parties of the west had become too moderate. He stated that he had been a member of the Communist Party but left because he felt that the Soviet Union was "not communist or socialist enough".


After many years of poor health (in 1979 he suffered the first of many heart attacks), MacColl died on 22 October 1989, in the Brompton Hospital, in London, after complications following heart surgery. His autobiography Journeyman was published the following year. The lifetime archive of his work with Peggy Seeger and others was passed on to Ruskin College in Oxford.


There is a plaque dedicated to MacColl in Russell Square in London. The inscription includes: "Presented by his communist friends 25.1.1990 ... Folk Laureate – Singer – Dramatist – Marxist ... in recognition of strength and singleness of purpose of this fighter for Peace and Socialism". In 1991 he was awarded a posthumous honorary degree by the University of Salford.


His daughter from his second marriage, Kirsty MacColl, followed him into a musical career, albeit in a different genre. She died in a boating accident in Mexico in 2000. His son from his third marriage, Neill MacColl, is the long-standing guitarist for Mancunian musician David Gray. His grandson Jamie MacColl has also developed a musical career of his own with the band Bombay Bicycle Club.


Seeger and MacColl recorded several albums of searing political commentary songs. MacColl himself wrote over 300 songs, some of which have been recorded by artists (in addition to those mentioned above) such as Planxty, the Dubliners, Dick Gaughan, Phil Ochs, the Clancy Brothers, Elvis Presley, Weddings Parties Anything and Johnny Cash. In 2001, The Essential Ewan MacColl Songbook was published, which includes the words and music to 200 of his songs. Dick Gaughan, Dave Burland and Tony Capstick collaborated in The Songs of Ewan MacColl (1978; 1985).

Family Life

Ewan's first two marriages were to theater director Joan Littlewood and dancer Jean Newlove. Following his second divorce, he wed American folk singer, Peggy Seeger, with whom he collaborated on numerous songs and albums.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Ewan MacColl is 108 years, 0 months and 14 days old. Ewan MacColl will celebrate 109th birthday on a Thursday 25th of January 2024. Below we countdown to Ewan MacColl upcoming birthday.


Recent Birthday Highlights

101st birthday - Monday, January 25, 2016

Peggy Seeger - 'Everything Changes'

Peggy's songs reveal their subtlety and power like never before when produced by her son Calum MacColl in this album recorded in her late 70s which may be her finest yet. We also celebrate what would have been the 101st birthday of her husband Ewan MacColl.

Ewan MacColl 101st birthday timeline
100th birthday - Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ewan MacColl: the godfather of folk who was adored – and feared

Ewan MacColl was a leftwing firebrand who instigated the 60s folk revival. On the centenary of his birth, family, friends and fans recall an inspirational figure

Ewan MacColl 100th birthday timeline

Ewan MacColl trends


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