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Ross MacManus (20 October 1927 – 24 November 2011), born Ronald Patrick Ross McManus, was an English musician and trumpet player of Irish descent. He performed with Joe Loss and his orchestra. He is the father of Elvis Costello.
Life and career
MacManus was born on Conway Street, Birkenhead, to Mabel and Pat McManus. He began singing at the age of nine as a chorister at St Thomas's Roman Catholic Church. He attended Saint Anselm's College. He later adapted his surname slightly, to MacManus.
Prior to joining Joe Loss, he had his own band, which sometimes played at the Mecca Locarno dance hall in Leeds. He later joined Joe Loss in March 1955. He wrote and sang "Patsy Girl", a 1964 single credited to Ross McManus and the Joe Loss Blue Beats. The song was featured on the "Fathers" episode of Bob Dylan's radio series, Theme Time Radio Hour, in 2006. In 1970 he recorded a version of The Beatles' song "The Long and Winding Road" under the pseudonym of Day Costello.
MacManus was responsible for the music and vocals from the R. White's Lemonade television advertisement theme song, "Secret Lemonade Drinker", on which Costello plays the drums, and sang backing vocals.
He played the trumpet on two of Elvis Costello's albums: on Out of Our Idiot (1987) the song "A Town Called Big Nothing", credited to the MacManus Gang and originally recorded for the film Straight to Hell, and on Mighty Like a Rose (1991) the song "Invasion Hit Parade". His 1972 album of cover versions of Elvis Presley songs, Elvis Presley's Golden Hits Sung By Big Ross & The Memphis Sound, was reissued on CD in 2008 as Elvis' Dad Sings Elvis.
MacManus married Lillian Alda Ablett in 1952; the couple later divorced. Their son Declan, better known as Elvis Costello, was born in 1954. With his second wife, Sara, who died on 12 November 2011, he had four sons: Ronan, Ruairi, Liam and Kieran, who were formerly in the band Riverway. Ronan is lead singer in the popular London Irish band The BibleCode Sundays and Ronan and Ruairi also perform together as The MacManus Brothers.
- Ross McManus And The Joe Loss Blue Beats "Patsy Girl" / "I'm The Greatest". HMV 1964
- Ross McManus "Stop Your Playing Around" / "Girlie Girlie". HMV 1966
- Ross McManus "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" / " If I Were A Rich Man". Decca 1967
- Day Costello "The Long And Winding Road" / "Free (Unlimited Horizons)". Spark 1970
- Elvis Presley's Golden Hits Sung By Big Ross & The Memphis Sound (1972)
- Elvis' Dad Sings Elvis (reissued on CD in 2008)
- "It is with profound sorrow that we announce ...", elviscostello.com, 25 November 2011. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
- Enoch, Nick (26 November 2011). "Elvis Costello's father Ross MacManus, who sang R White's I'm A Secret Lemonade Drinker in classic TV ad, dies aged 84". Daily Mail Onliny (London). Retrieved 27 November 2011.
- "Obituary: Ross MacManus". The Times. 26 November 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- Thomson, Graeme. Complicated Shadows: The Life and Music of Elvis Costello. Edinburgh: Canongate Ltd (2004) ISBN 1-84195-650-3
- "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
- "The Merseyside Roots of Elvis Costello", The Merseysider Magazine.
- Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 12. CN 5585.
- Leigh, Spencer, "Ross MacManus - Elvis' Dad", BBC Radio Merseyside interview.
- Britvic - R Whites.
- "Ross MacManus". The Daily Telegraph (London). 27 November 2011.
- Allmusic discography credits
- Sara MacManus profile.