Ross McManus

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Ross MacManus
Birth nameRonald Patrick Ross McManus
Born20 October 1927
Birkenhead, Cheshire, England
Died24 November 2011(2011-11-24) (aged 84)
Years active1950–2011

Ronald Patrick Ross McManus (20 October 1927 – 24 November 2011)[1][2] was an English musician, singer and trumpet player of Irish descent. He performed with Joe Loss and his orchestra. He was the father of Elvis Costello.

Life and career[edit]

McManus was born on Conway Street, Birkenhead,[3][4] to Mabel and Pat McManus.[5] He began singing at the age of nine as a chorister at St Thomas' Roman Catholic Church. He attended Saint Anselm's College. He later adapted his surname to MacManus.[6]

Prior to joining the Joe Loss Band, he had his own band called Ross MacManus & The New Era Music from 1950 until 1955. That bebop band played at various Liverpool nightspots. He later joined Joe Loss in March 1955.[7] 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.[8] In 1970, he recorded a version of The Beatles' song "The Long and Winding Road" under the pseudonym of Day Costello,[9] which spent 17 weeks in the Australian chart, peaking at number 16.[10]

MacManus was responsible for the music and vocals from the R. White's Lemonade television advertisement theme song "Secret Lemonade Drinker", on which Costello sang backing vocals.[11]

In 1976, he wrote and sang a number of songs for the soundtrack to the British film Secrets of a Superstud.[12]

He played the trumpet on two of Elvis Costello's albums: Out Of Our Idiot (1987) on the song, "A Town Called Big Nothing", credited to the MacManus Gang and originally recorded for the film Straight To Hell, and Mighty Like A Rose (1991) on the song, "Invasion Hit Parade".[13] 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.

McManus died in November 2011, at the age of 84.[1]


MacManus married Lillian Alda Ablett in 1952; the couple later divorced.[3] Their son Declan, better known as Elvis Costello, was born in 1954. With his second wife, Sara Thompson, a singer[3] who died on 12 November 2011,[14] he had four sons: Ronan MacManus, Ruairi, Liam and Kieran, who were formerly in the band Riverway. Ronan was lead singer in The BibleCode Sundays and Ronan and Ruairi also perform together as The MacManus Brothers.

UK discography[edit]



  • Elvis Presley's Golden Hits Sung by Big Ross & The Memphis Sound (1972)
  • Elvis' Dad Sings Elvis (reissued on CD in 2008)


  1. ^ a b "it is with profound sorrow that we announce the passing of ross macmanus at the age of 84 - Yellow Press". Elvis Costello. 25 November 2011. Archived from the original on 11 March 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Obituary: Ross MacManus". The Times. 26 November 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Thomson, Graeme. Complicated Shadows: The Life and Music of Elvis Costello. Edinburgh: Canongate Ltd (2005) ISBN 978-1841956657
  4. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
  5. ^ "The Merseyside Roots of Elvis Costello - Merseysider MagazineMerseysider Magazine". Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  6. ^ Costello, Elvis (2015). "1". Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink (Hardback ed.). Penguin Random House UK. pp. 2–3. ISBN 978-0-241-00346-6. [...] my Dad added an a to make it "MacManus" because it looked posher and better in print.
  7. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 12. CN 5585.
  8. ^ "* F A T H E R S *". Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  9. ^ Leigh, Spencer, "Ross MacManus - Elvis' Dad" Archived 9 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine, BBC Radio Merseyside interview.
  10. ^ "ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts - 1970". Australian Charts.
  11. ^ "R Whites logo". Archived from the original on 23 April 2008. Retrieved 1 May 2008.
  12. ^ "Ross MacManus". The Daily Telegraph. London. 27 November 2011.
  13. ^ "Ross MacManus | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  14. ^ "Ronan MacManus is fundraising for Cystic Fibrosis Trust". 12 November 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2016.

External links[edit]