The Voice has a history of throwing up emotional moments to entertain and engage viewers on a Saturday night.
However, few can compare with the moment Tom Jones realised he had just pressed the buzzer to Lonnie Donegan’s son, Peter.
Tom Jones and Lonnie Donegan had toured together and had been friends back in the 1960s. Jones testified on the programme what an influence Peter’s Dad, Lonnie was on him and so many other British Rock’n’Rollers in the ’60s.
Lonnie Donegan was responsible for one of Tom Jones’ showstoppers back in the 1960s ‘(It Looks Like) I’ll Never Fall In Love Again’ not to be confused with the Burt Bacharach and Hall David’s song, ‘I’ll Never Fall In Love Again’.
Tom Jones tells the tale of how he came to sing this beautiful song;
“I did some shows with Lonnie and we became friends…. One night he said: ‘Look, I have this song, you’d sing the pants off it. I’ve recorded it, but I can’t really sing it. It’s a sort of a rewrite of a song from the Thirties when the Depression was going on, called ‘I’m Never Going To Cease My Wandering.’ I knew that song because a lot of guys used to sing it in pubs in Wales. I went to his house in Virginia Water, and he got this record out to listen to…. With the big chorus on it, it sounded fantastic. He was singing it Lonnie Donegan style, completely different from the way I did, like somebody busking…”
After Peter Donegan had finished his rousing version of Rascal Flatt’s ‘Bless the Broken Road’ Tom Jones asked him if he knew the song, you knew you were going to need the tissues.
Lonnie Donegan nicknamed ‘King Of Skiffle’ was indeed a massive influence on British music not just in the ’60s but right up to the singer-songwriter revival of recent years. Lonnie had a string of hits during the late 1950s and early 1960s including Rock Island Line, Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour (On The Bedpost Overnight) and Cumberland Gap.
Lonnie Donegan told the NME back in 1956;
‘I’m trying to sing acceptable folk music. I want to widen the audience beyond the artsy-craftsy crowd and the pseudo intellectuals – but without distorting the music itself.’
Lonnie’s hit dried up once the Beat boom took over but both Lennon and McCartney always mention Lonnie Donegan as a major influence. Lonnie continued toutring and recording albums right up to his early death in 2002 aged just 71, Lonnie went as he would have wanted to, midway through a UK tour.
What is your favourite Lonnie Donegan song? Let us know in the comments below.
The Spring Chicken Lonnie Donegan Top 5
- Rock Island Line 1955
2. My Old Man’s A Dustman 1960
3. Cumberland Gap 1957
4. Nobody’s Child 1960
5. Puttin’ On The Style 1957