Pete St. John
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St. John is a prolific composer of widely sung modern ballads; his other most famous songs are "The Rare Ould Times" and "The Ferryman". His songs often express regret for the loss of old certainties (the former song regrets the loss of Nelson's Pillar and the Metropole Ballroom, two symbols of old Dublin, as progress makes a "city of my town").
St. John is a Dubliner. Educated at Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál, Inchicore and Synge Street CBS, he became an electrician. He emigrated to Canada, then moved to Alaska, Central America and the West Indies working as a professional athlete, truck driver, logging camp labourer, PR and sales official and finally electrical contracting executive in the United States. He became deeply involved in the peace movement and international civil rights before returning to his native city in the late 1970s.
Finding the face of his city greatly changed, he began writing songs in a distinctive style depicting the social conditions around him. Redundancy became the core element of his work and the city soon recognised his talent with the major folk artists recording his songs with great success.
The critical and commercial success has continued with St. John's songs becoming part of the repertoires of most of Ireland's leading singers and musicians, such as Luke Kelly and The Dubliners and Patsy Watchorn and the Dublin City Ramblers. He has been acknowledged by his peers both at home and abroad with awards of merit from:
- The Irish Republic Music Writers
- The Irish Association of Songwriters and Composers
- The U.S. Irish Cultural Society
- The U.S. Brendan Cup Committee
- Irish Music Rights Organisation Songwriter of the Year
- Beaumont Foundation Cultural Award 2000
- Goal/Rwanda Award
- The Peace Train ‘89 Award
- Omagh Awareness Award
- Stenaline UK Songwriter of the Decade