Jim McCann (musician)

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Jim McCann
McCann, 2015
McCann, 2015
Background information
Born(1944-10-26)26 October 1944
OriginDublin, Ireland
Died5 March 2015(2015-03-05) (aged 70)
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar
Years active1964–2015

James McCann (26 October 1944 – 5 March 2015) was an Irish entertainer and folk musician. Although a solo artist for most of his career, McCann was a member of the folk group The Dubliners from 1974 until 1979, then later appearing with them in their 2002 reunion and their 50th anniversary tour in 2012.


As a young man, McCann attended University College Dublin as a student of medicine, but became interested in folk music during a summer holiday in Birmingham in 1964. He began to perform in folk clubs in the area, and, upon his return to Dublin, he joined a group called the Ludlow Trio in 1965. In the following year, the Ludlow Trio had a hit with their recording of Dominic Behan's "The Sea Around Us", which reached number one in the Irish charts.

The Ludlow Trio broke up in the following year, and McCann began a solo career, releasing an album, McCann, and making several appearances on several folk programmes for Telefis Éireann.

Amongst other pursuits, he spent the next few years involving himself in theatrical productions (starting with Maureen Potter's "Gaels of Laughter" in 1968), and he toured throughout Ireland and Britain. He released a second album, McCanned, made a television special called Reflections of Jim McCann, and then hosted a series called The McCann Man.

The Dubliners[edit]

It was on The McCann Man that he met fellow folk artist, Luke Kelly of The Dubliners. During this appearance, Kelly did his only televised performance of the Phil Coulter song "Scorn Not His Simplicity", a song that he chose to perform sparingly out of respect to the subject matter (Coulter's intellectually disabled son).[1]

McCann subsequently performed alongside Kelly in the original cast of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1973, in the role of Peter. In April 1974 Kelly asked McCann to join The Dubliners temporarily, to replace Ciarán Bourke during a period of illness. However, he became a permanent member soon afterwards, when Ronnie Drew left the group to pursue a solo career. McCann remained with The Dubliners until the end of 1979, during which he toured incessantly, also recording several albums with the group.

He did rejoin The Dubliners in 2002 for their 40th anniversary tour and later at Vicar Street in 2012 for their 50th.

Later years[edit]

He continued to perform, tour, and record music as a solo artist, appearing on many television shows (particularly on RTÉ) and achieving success with albums such as From Clare to Here and singles such as "Grace".

He rejoined the Dubliners in 2002 for their 40th anniversary album, but during the subsequent tour was diagnosed with throat cancer. Although treatment for the illness was successful, the damage to his voice left him unable to sing. However, he still collaborated with the Dubliners by taking the photographs for them, appearing as a compère in their concerts, and sometimes playing the guitar. During the Dubliners' last concert in December 2012, he performed with them as a guitarist.

McCann's death was announced by his family on 5 March 2015. He had been battling throat cancer for some time.[2]



  • Reflections of Jim McCann – TV special
  • The McCann Man – TV series
  • Festival Folk – TV special featuring Jim,Matt Manning and English Steve.
  • My Ireland – TV special
  • McCann & McTell – TV special



  1. ^ Geraghty, Des (1994). Luke Kelly: A Memoir. Dublin, Ireland: Basement Press. pp. 124–25. ISBN 9781855940901. Retrieved 23 January 2008.
  2. ^ Collins, Liam (5 March 2015). "The Dubliners' singer Jim McCann has passed away at age of 70". Irish Independent. Retrieved 5 March 2015.