Seán Cannon

Seán Cannon

Sean Cannon 2014
Background information
Born (1940-11-29) 29 November 1940
Origin Galway, Ireland
Genres Irish folk
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1962–present [1]
Associated acts The Dubliners (1982-2013)
The Dublin Legends (2013-)
The Cannons
Notable instruments

Seán Cannon (born 29 November 1940) is an Irish musician. Since 1982 he has been the lead singer and guitarist for The Dubliners and their follow-up-band "The Dublin Legends".[2]

Early life

Seán Cannon was born in Galway, Ireland. He travelled around Europe at an early age, rambling in England, Germany, Switzerland and Spain. It was during these trips that Cannon learned to speak several languages. He moved to England (where he still lives), and became a renowned solo artist, playing in almost every folk club in Britain (Including the Star Club in Digbeth Birmingham).


Cannon married Pamela Blick and has two sons, James and Robert Cannon. They later divorced. Seán Cannon lives in Coventry, United Kingdom. His father, Jim Cannon, was born in Donegal, but moved to Galway City and married Kathleen Byrne, who came from Ballinue, Aughrim, Co Galway. Family still living in Ireland: cousin Martin Byrne, living in Banagher Co Offaly, Seamus Byrne Florencecourt Enniskillen Co Fermanagh, cousin Tom Forde living in Ballinasloe, Co Galway.


By 1969, Cannon had joined an England-based folk group called "The Gaels". The Gaels consisted of three Irishmen and a Scotsman. They released an album. Cannon also released several solo albums, two of which were recorded in the 1970s.

Seán Cannon had known The Dubliners for years and, like Eamonn Campbell, joined them on stage on numerous occasions. When lead singer Luke Kelly became ill in 1980, he stepped in, and became a full-time Dubliner in 1983 when Kelly departed. When Kelly died in 1984 at the age of 43 Cannon took over some of the songs he had been singing, such as "Whiskey in the Jar", "The Rocky Road to Dublin", "The Black Velvet Band", "Song for Ireland" and "Kelly, the Boy from Killan". He is also known for singing songs in the Irish language ("Peggy Lettermore", "Fáinne Gael an Lae", "Cill Chais") and humorous a cappella songs like "The Waterford Boys", "The Pool Song" or "The Sick Note".

When The Dubliners announced their retirement in 2012 after finishing their 50 Years Anniversary Tour, Seán Cannon decided to keep on touring with former band members Patsy Watchorn and Eamonn Campbell and Banjo player Gerry O'Connor under the name of "The Dublin Legends".

Cannon still manages to do some solo work in between the touring. He played gigs with Irish songwriter Pat Cooksey and more recently with his sons, James and Robert Cannon. They call themselves "The Cannons" and perform traditional Irish folk music as well as songs by Shane McGowan, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams.


Cannon is immortalised in the Christy Moore song "Lisdoonvarna". The line "Seán Cannon Doing Back Stage Cooking" is a direct reference to when Seán travelled to all the music festivals in the late 1970s with a converted caravan and sold curry.


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