Dana Rosemary Scallon
|Dana Rosemary Scallon|
Dana Scallon in 1970
|Birth name||Rosemary Brown|
|Also known as||Dana|
30 August 1951 |
|Genres||Celtic, folk, pop, Christian|
|Labels||Rex, Decca, GTO, HeartBeat Records, Lite, Ritz, Word, DS Music|
|Dana Rosemary Scallon|
|Member of the European Parliament|
11 June 1999 – 11 June 2004
|Preceded by||Mark Killilea|
|Succeeded by||Constituency abolished|
Dana Rosemary Scallon (born Rosemary Brown on 30 August 1951), known in her singing career as Dana, is an Irish singer and former Member of the European Parliament (MEP).
She won the Eurovision Song Contest 1970 with "All Kinds of Everything", a worldwide million-seller. She subsequently released over 30 singles and 30 albums as a songwriter and performer of Christian music.
She entered politics in 1997, running unsuccessfully in the Irish presidential election, but later being elected as the MEP for Connacht–Ulster. Scallon was again an independent candidate in the Irish 2011 presidential election but was eliminated on the first count having received 51,220 votes (2.9%) which placed her sixth, above the only other female candidate Mary Davis.
Scallon was born in Islington, North London. Her father, who worked as a porter at nearby King's Cross station, was a native of Derry, Northern Ireland; he had relocated his family due to the high unemployment there after the war. Scallon was five when her parents chose to return to Ireland because of the London smog and the harmful effect it had on some of their children; their doctor recommended they return to the cleaner air of Derry. (London had not yet benefited from the Clean Air Act 1956). Rosemary grew up in Derry's Creggan housing estate. In 1967, the family moved to the Bogside, an area overlooked by the historic city walls and including the Rossville Flats complex. Although much admired at the time, these nine-storey apartment blocks were demolished after twenty years.
Her parents were musical – her father played the trumpet in his own dance band, The Imperial All Stars, and her mother was their guest pianist. They had seven children in all: four daughters, including their third-born child Grace who died at eight months from a penicillin allergy, and three sons. Fifth-born and youngest daughter Rosemary won the first talent contest she entered: an all-aged event at St Columb's Hall at the age of six. During her childhood, she was taught to play the piano and violin, taught herself to play the acoustic guitar, sang in the school choir, and at one point considered becoming a ballet teacher. She took part in many more contests and feiseanna (festivals). In the early 1960s she began performing with her sisters, Eileen and Susan in charity concerts organised by their father. Eileen left the trio to become a hairdresser, leaving the others as a duo who managed to secure a summer season at the Portrush Palladium. During this, Decca Records offered them a recording contract (helped by their Aunt Rosaleen and her friend in the music industry), although Susan declined the offer to get married and emigrated to America with her husband. In 1965, the now solo Rosemary Brown took part in a folk music competition at the Embassy Ballroom where she won first prize – a chance to record a demo tape. Tony Johnston, a headmaster and part-time promoter who sponsored the competition, took her under his wing while she undertook her GCE O-levels.
After gaining seven good grades in her exams, Rex Records (Decca) in Dublin received her demo and manager Michael Geoghegan signed her up. Her debut single was "Sixteen", written by Tony Johnston, while the B-side, "Little Girl Blue", was her own composition. It came out on 17 November 1967, but failed to take off, though local TV and radio began to show an interest in her. It was at this time that she adopted the professional name of "Dana", which had been her school nickname. Now studying A-level music and English, she became popular in Dublin's cabaret and folk clubs. Rex Records' Phil Mitton suggested she audition for the Irish National Song Contest, due to take place in February 1969 – a victory would see her compete in the Eurovision Song Contest in Spain on 29 March. With mixed feelings she made it through to the final in Dublin where she sang "Look Around" by Michael Reade (released as her fourth single). Shown live on Irish television, Dana came second.
1970s – Eurovision victory and pop career
In December 1969 Tom McGrath, head of Light Entertainment at RTÉ and producer of the Irish National Song Contest, invited Scallon to try again in next year's event feeling one of the entered songs: the ballad "All Kinds of Everything", would suit her. "All Kinds of Everything" became Ireland's 1970 Eurovision entrant and on Saturday 21 March 1970 she performed the song at the Eurovision finals held in Amsterdam, with an estimated viewing audience of two hundred million. She was the last of twelve contestants to perform that night, perched on a stool while wearing an embroidered white mini-dress. The UK's Mary Hopkin (already famous for "Those Were The Days") and the Spanish newcomer Julio Iglesias had been the odds-on favourites to win, but it was Dana who took the victory. This came as a particular surprise for Dana herself, who was planning to concentrate on her A-Level exams once the contest was over and had intended this performance to be her last as a singer. This was Ireland's first victory in the Eurovision Song Contest.
"All Kinds of Everything", composed by Derry Lindsay and Jackie Smith, had been issued as a single on 14 March 1970 following its winning the Irish National Song Contest. Phil Coulter provided the musical arrangement for the Ray Horricks production. The track had reached #1 on the Irish charts dated 20 March 1970, the day before its Eurovision victory, and would remain at #1 for nine weeks. Subsequent to the Eurovision contest, "All Kinds of Everything" spent two weeks at #1 in the UK and achieved success in Australia, Austria, Germany, Israel, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, South Africa and Yugoslavia. The song went on to sell more than two million units.
Dana's debut album: All Kinds of Everything, recorded with an orchestra in two days was released in June 1970; it featured four songs written by the singer herself. Dana was now represented by Dick Katz, a jazz pianist featured on The Goon Show who'd represented such luminaries as Jimi Hendrix, Dusty Springfield and Lulu. The follow-up single to "All Kinds of Everything", the Jerry Lordan composition "I Will Follow You", failed to chart however. After hearing the song "Who Put the Lights Out" on an album by Barry Ryan, Dana solicited the permission of composer Paul Ryan to record the song. Her version, cut with Barry Ryan's producer Bill Landis, proved a strong comeback vehicle reaching #5 in Ireland and #14 UK in March 1971. Following this, Dana – continuing to work with Bill Landis – endured three years of unsuccessful singles broken only by the Irish chart showing of "Sunday Monday Tuesday" (#4) in 1973. This lack of success caused her agent Dick Katz to recommend Dana join Dick Leahy (former head of Bell Records UK) on his new GTO record label formed in 1974.
Dana debuted on GTO with "Please Tell Him That I Said Hello" a song written by Mike Shepstone and Peter Dibbens. Released in October 1974, the song reached the Irish charts that November rising to a #7 peak. In the UK, the track spent ten weeks registering below the UK Top 50 before making its chart debut on 25 January 1975. Boosted by Top of the Pops performances on 6 February and 13 March 1975, "Please Tell Him That I Said Hello" rose to a #8 peak on the UK chart. This UK success gave the track a resurgence of popularity in Ireland where a chart re-entry saw the track again peak at #7 in February 1975. Dana also recorded a German version of the song; "Spiel nicht mit mir und meinem Glück", which reached #27 in Germany over a fourteen week chart run in the spring and summer of 1975.
Dana's next single was "Are You Still Mad at Me" failed to chart but Dana returned to the Top Ten with a Stephens/Greenaway composition: "It's Gonna be a Cold Cold Christmas". Released four weeks prior to Christmas 1975 the single gave her her second highest chart peak, reaching #4. In Ireland, the track reached #3 and went on to re-enter the charts the following year, peaking at #12. At the end of 1975, Dana collected two awards – Best Female Singer in Britain from the NME and Best Female Singer from the TV Times. The success continued into 1976 with "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again" entering the UK Top 40. In September however, while promoting her next single, "Fairytale", she lost her voice. Her left vocal cord, which had been cauterized the year before, required urgent surgery to remove a growth (non-malignant) as well as a small part of the cord itself. This caused many tabloid reports on the possibility that she might never sing again. Despite her inability to fully promote "Fairytale", an upbeat pop song produced by Barry Blue, the single reached #13 in the UK and was also Dana's biggest international success since "All Kinds of Everything".
1979 saw the release of Dana's fifth album The Girl is Back. The Barry Blue production gave her a contemporary sound and a Top 50 single, "Something's Cookin' in the Kitchen", which peaked at #44 in the UK. A new phase in her career began after Pope John Paul II came to Ireland in September 1979, inspiring her to write with her husband the Irish chart-topper "Totus Tuus".
Outside her chart career, Dana had remained a popular personality since her 1970 Eurovision win. She had played the part of a tinker girl in Flight of the Doves (1971), a children's adventure film starring Ron Moody and Jack Wild and directed by Ralph Nelson. She was also an in-demand headliner for summer seasons at resorts and seasonal pantomimes as well as performing at venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Festival Hall and a week of sell-out shows at the London Palladium. Dana also performed extensively in cabaret venues and was voted Top Female Vocalist at the National Club Acts Awards in 1979. BBC Television gave her two shows of her own: a series of A Day with Dana in 1974 and four series of Wake Up Sunday in 1979. For BBC Radio she presented a series of I Believe in Music in 1977.
After she scored an Irish number one with the Pope John Paul II tribute, "Totus Tuus" in January 1980, the much larger American Christian market became a possible outlet for her music. During a visit to the National Religious Broadcasters' conference in Washington, opened by US President Jimmy Carter, she signed a recording contract with Word Records. Meanwhile, Warwick Records (United Kingdom) issued Everything is Beautiful in late 1980. Subtitled 20 Inspirational Songs, the album contained covers of songs like "Let it Be", "Morning Has Broken" and "My Sweet Lord" and became her biggest-selling album in the UK. It was followed by "Totally Yours" in 1981, her first Christian album for Word.
She was soon back in the studios again to make Magic in 1982, a pop album for Lite Records. It included four songs by her younger brothers, John and Gerald Brown as well as "I Feel Love Comin' On", which was to be Dana's final UK chart entry. Dana released the official World Cup song for the Northern Ireland football team, "Yer Man", which was recorded with the full squad heading to Spain for the finals. Following this, she recorded her second album for Word, Let There Be Love, containing a variety of tracks from up-tempo to an old Irish hymn sung in Gaelic.
A tour of America took place in 1984 to promote the Word albums: Dana appeared in concert halls, churches and colleges, as well as TV and radio. After fifteen years in show business, Hodder and Stoughton published her first book, Dana – An Autobiography, in 1985, which told of her family life, pop career and growing devotion to God. Dana finally saw the Pope in 1987 at the Superdome in New Orleans. She was invited to perform "Totus Tuus" before a gathering of 80,000 or more.
1990s – politics
In 1991, Scallon and her family relocated to Birmingham, Alabama. Scallon hosted EWTN programs on TV and radio, entitled Say Yes and We Are One Body. She became a popular Catholic music singer and released many albums with HeartBeat Records, the US Catholic music label. She appeared at conferences and public gatherings across the US. One such occasion was in Cherry Creek State Park, Denver, Colorado, in 1993: to help celebrate the sixth World Youth Day, she was invited to sing her song "We Are One Body", the theme song for the event, live to the Pope. She also sang at the World Youth Day celebrations held in Paris (1997), in Toronto (2002), and in Sydney (2008).
Prior to returning to Ireland in 1997, Scallon applied for US citizenship, requiring her to swear an oath renouncing allegiance to any other state. Later in 1997, she became a candidate for the office of President of Ireland standing as an independent under the name Dana Rosemary Scallon, the name she has utilized for all of her political endeavours. She came third with 13.8% of the first-preference vote. Scallon was the first presidential candidate to secure a nomination solely from County and City Councils rather than from members of the Oireachtas. She said afterwards: "I may not be a President. But I AM a precedent."
In 1999, having secured US citizenship and standing again as an independent, Scallon won a seat in the European Parliament, representing the Connacht–Ulster European Parliament constituency. She campaigned on family values and her opposition to abortion, contraception and divorce along with a Eurosceptic line on the EU. Scallon refused to associate with any political party despite Fianna Fáil making several approaches for her to join them.
2000s to present
In 2002, Scallon contested a seat in Galway West in the Irish general election, again as an independent. She lost, scoring a mere 3.5% of the first preference vote in a general election where Independent candidates performed well. In June 2004, Scallon lost her European Parliament seat, taking 13.5% of the vote. Later that year, she failed to secure a nomination to the office of President of Ireland against the uncontested incumbent.
In February 2005, Scallon returned to the world of entertainment when she spent time on the RTÉ television series The Afternoon Show In 2006, she and dancer Ronan McCormack were paired together in the RTÉ celebrity dance series Celebrity Jigs 'n' Reels. They made it to the final show and came second. Also in 2006, Scallon and her husband launched their own music label, DS Music Productions. One of the first albums released was Totus Tuus, a compilation of songs dedicated to the memory of Pope John Paul II and issued on the anniversary of his death. A children's album was released in 2007, entitled Good Morning Jesus: Prayers & Songs for Children of All Ages, which featured in a special series on EWTN. Early in 2007, Scallon, her husband Damien Scallon, and their company DS Music Productions were sued by Heartbeat Records for copyright violations for several of the albums they released under their new label.
In 2009, Scallon became a judge on The All Ireland Talent Show. In the summer of 2010, she participated in the Best of British Variety tour. She participated in Celebrity Bainisteoir in 2011 but was forced to withdraw by RTÉ when she announced she would run for the Irish presidency again.
2011 presidential campaign
On 19 September 2011, at the Fitzwilliam Hotel on St Stephen's Green, Scallon announced she would be seeking a nomination to enter the following month's Irish presidential election. Carlow County Council was the first to nominate her. She was then nominated by other County Councils thus becoming a candidate.
In the first debate, held on RTÉ Radio 1's News at One, Scallon explained she had delayed her entry into the race due to numerous family bereavements. Appearing on The Late Late Show alongside the other candidates, Scallon displayed a copy of the EU Constitution, telling her audience: "This is what this election is about. I have the knowledge and experience to be able to protect our sovereignty and that's the only question I think that's really urgent at this time." When asked by Ryan Tubridy if she would refuse to sign any bill threatening Bunreacht na hÉireann she responded by saying "You bet your boots I would". In fact, the President does not have such a veto power, being able only to refer a Bill to the Council of State for its consideration.
Speaking on Newstalk's The Right Hook programme on 5 October 2011, Scallon said she was not anti-Europe. "I am not anti Europe. I have always said that Europe, the concept of Europe is good. We want to be in Europe."
On 7 October, it was revealed that Scallon had dual US and Irish citizenship, but she denied hiding this from the public, saying that her US citizenship, which involved her taking an oath renouncing allegiance to Ireland, was not an issue then or now and she had no reason to hide it.
During a debate on Prime Time (RTÉ) on 12 October, Scallon read out a prepared statement towards the end of the debate, announcing that a "malicious" and "false" accusation had been made against her and her family in the United States and, while refusing to divulge any details, she said she would leave "no stone unturned" in her mission to track down the person or organisation responsible. The incident was described as "bizarre" by some media.
It later transpired that the allegation related to her brother, John Brown, who had been accused in 2008, in the course of litigation in the US among family members, of having sexually abused his niece. He denied the allegation. Brown was arrested by London police in June 2012, following a complaint against him made in October 2011. In May 2013, he was charged with three counts of indecent assault on two girls aged under 16.
On 5 October 1978, she married hotelier Damien Scallon at St Eugene's Cathedral in Derry. After a three-week honeymoon in Grenada, the Scallons set up home in Rostrevor, County Down. Dana gave birth to four children between 1981 and 1989.
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- martinunderwood.co.uk – Frederica Street as seen in The Ladykillers, a classic Ealing comedy made while Scallon was still living at number 89 (central character Mrs Wilberforce lived at "number 57", a set built at the end of the street).[dead link]
- "Frederica / Frederick Street now". Multimap.com. Retrieved 2011-03-07.
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- "– Rossville Street today, where the flats once stood opposite Glenfada Park". Multimap.com. Retrieved 2011-03-07.
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- As revealed in an interview, Conversations with Eamon Dunphy, 3 November 2007, RTÉ Radio 1 http://www.rte.ie/radio1/eamondunphy/
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- Article 26, Constitution of Ireland
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- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 139. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dana Scallon.|
|Awards and achievements|
with "The Wages of Love"
|Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest
with "One Day Love"
Lulu with "Boom Bang-a-Bang"
Salomé with "Vivo cantando"
with "Un jour, un enfant"
with "De troubadour"
|Winner of the Eurovision Song Contest
with "Un banc, un arbre, une rue"
|Member of the European Parliament