John Allan Cameron

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John Allan Cameron
John Allan Cameron performing in 1990
John Allan Cameron performing in 1990
Background information
Birth nameJohn Allan Cameron
Born(1938-12-16)16 December 1938
Inverness County, Nova Scotia, Canada
OriginCape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada
Died22 November 2006(2006-11-22) (aged 67)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
GenresCeltic, Folk
LabelsGlencoe Records

John Allan Cameron, CM (16 December 1938 – 22 November 2006) was a Canadian folk singer, "The Godfather of Celtic Music" in Canada.[1] Noted for performing traditional music on his twelve string guitar, he released his first album in 1969. He released 10 albums during his lifetime and was featured on national television. He was a recipient of the East Coast Music Award's Lifetime Achievement Award and the Order of Canada, conferred in 2003.[2]


Cameron was born in Inverness County, Nova Scotia[3][4] to Dan L. Cameron and Catherine Anne (Katie Anne) MacDonald. Katie Anne (1914–1983) was the only sibling of renowned Cape Breton fiddler and composer Dan Rory MacDonald. In 1957 John Allan moved to Ottawa, Ontario where he studied to be a Roman Catholic priest through the Order of the Oblate Fathers. In 1964, a few months before ordination, Cameron obtained a dispensation from the church to pursue studies in education at St. Francis Xavier University, and eventually a career in music.[4][5]

He was a regular on Singalong Jubilee in the 1960s and he was later host of two Canadian television series. The first was the Montreal-produced John Allan Cameron on CTV from 1975 to 1976.[6] Guests included Stan Rogers, Edith Butler, The Good Brothers, Stringband, Colleen Peterson, Adam Mitchell, Michael Cooney, Shirley Eikhard, Liam Clancy, Tommy Makem, Nancy White, Steve Goodman, and Rhythm Pals. Cameron would return to national television on CBC with the Halifax-produced The John Allan Cameron Show which ran from 1979 to 1981.[4][7] He was also a guest star on Sharon, Lois & Bram's The Elephant Show in 1986. John Allan Cameron also was the host of Super Variety Tonight, a CBC television special that aired on Sunday, 4 April 1982 featuring several guests including Sharon, Lois & Bram.

Besides his numerous television and concert appearances, he performed at the Grand Ole Opry in 1970.[4]

In January 2005, Cameron was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome. Several benefit projects such as concerts and a tribute CD were produced to support costs resulting from his treatment of this cancer.[3]

On 22 November 2006, Cameron died in Toronto.[8]

Cameron's son, Stuart Cameron is also an accomplished musician.



Year Album CAN
1969 Here Comes John Allan Cameron
1969 The Minstrel of Cranberry Lane
1972 Get There by Dawn 75
1972 Lord of the Dance
1976 Weddings, Wakes and Other Things 78
1978 Fiddle
1979 Freeborn Man (reissued in 1991 as Classic John Allan Vol. 1)
1981 Song for the Mira
1987 Good Times
1991 Wind Willow
1996 Glencoe Station


Year Album
1982 The Best of John Allan Cameron
1992 Classic John Allan, vol 2
1996 Classic John Allan, vol 3


Year Single Chart Positions Album
CAN Country CAN AC
1972 "Streets of London" 4 single only
"Get There by Dawn" 11 Get There by Dawn
1973 "I Can't Tell You" 28 Lord of the Dance
1976 "Tie Me Down" 33 Weddings, Wakes and Other Things
1982 "Overnight Success" 15 single only
1996 "Getting Dark Again" Glencoe Station


  1. ^ Moll, Michael (July 1999). "Music Traditions in Cape Breton". Folk World. Retrieved 6 September 2006.
  2. ^ "Order of Canada citation: John Allan Cameron". Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  3. ^ a b Quill, Greg (20 May 2006). "John Allan Cameron made Celtic cool". Toronto Star/Cape Breton Live Radio. Archived from the original on 5 August 2006. Retrieved 6 September 2006.
  4. ^ a b c d Guy, Greg (17 May 2005). "Honouring John Allan". Halifax Herald/Cape Breton Music. Archived from the original on 16 May 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2006.
  5. ^ Connors, Chris. "Concert for John Allan Cameron celebrates a life in Celtic music". Cape Breton Post/Cape Breton Music. Archived from the original on 16 May 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2006.
  6. ^ Wedge, Pip (February 2003). "John Allan Cameron". Canadian Communications Foundation. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  7. ^ "John Allan Cameron (among listings)". Queen's University Directory of CBC Television Series. Archived from the original on 4 November 1996. Retrieved 6 September 2006.
  8. ^ CBC News (22 November 2006). "John Allan Cameron: Celtic 'godfather' dies". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 26 August 2015.

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