Ewan MacColl

Ewan MacColl


image Ewan MacColl was a folk singer, songwriter, socialist, actor, poet, playwright, and argubly one of the most important figures the British Folk Revial on the 1950's & 1960's. MacColl wrote hundreds songs that been recorded by hundreds artists. If you were to scower this site alone, I wager you'll find few, if any, that haven't recorded at least one Ewan MacColl song.

Ewan MacColl was born James Henry Miller, January 22, 1915, in Broughton, Salford, Lancashire England, to Scottish parents, William and Betsy Miller. Though early on (at least the early 60's ) his real name and place of birth was masked. Common biographies stated he was born in Auchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland.


1915: James Henry Miller in born , January 22, in Broughton, Salford, Lancashire England

1929: February 2nd, Jimmy Miller leaves school, a week after he turns 14.
April — gets job at Anaconda Wire.
Joins the Clarion Players, later called the Workers Theatre Movement Joins Young Communist League.

1929 – 1934: Temporary jobs, self-education, socialist politics, agit-prop theatre, rambling …

1933: First radio work

1934: Meets and marries Joan Littlewood.

1935: Jimmy and Joan head for Moscow, make it to London …

1936: Back in Manchester, form Theatre Union.

1940: The Last Edition 'a living newspaper' has performance halted by police. Jimmy and Joan bound over for two years for 'breach of peace.'

1940 – 1945: Throughout the war, Theatre Union members keep studying their craft.


1945: Theatre Workshop is formed.

1945 – 1953: Theatre Workshop touring productions. Jimmy Miller becomes Ewan MacColl. Joan and Ewan divorce. Ewan marries Jean Newlove, they have two children, Hamish and Kirsty.

1950: A four track 78 (RPM) Ewan's MacColl EP is released by Topic records. His first recording (or which I am aware).

1953: Theatre Workshop settles in Theatre Royal, Stratford, E. London. Ewan starts to separate himself from Theatre Workshop, concentrating more on promotion and performance of folk-music.
First Ballad and Blues concerts

1956: Meets Peggy Seeger.

1957 – 1989: Life and musical partnership with Peggy Seeger. Ewan and Peggy have three children, Calum, Neill and Kitty.


1958 – 1964: Production of Radio Ballads.

1960: Ballad and Blues Club is renamed the Singers Club.

1965: The Critics Group forms.

1965 – 1971: Critics Group organises annual Festival of Fools.

1968 – 1985: Peggy and Ewan publish 21 issues of New City Songster.

1985: Seventieth Birthday Concert.

1986: Ewan MacColl last original recordings (during his lifetime) are released.

1989: After several years of illness, dies, aged 74.