Ross McManus

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Ross MacManus (20 October 1927 – 24 November 2011),[1][2][3] born Ronald Patrick Ross McManus, was an English musician 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]

MacManus was born on Conway Street, Birkenhead,[4][5] to Mabel and Pat McManus.[6] 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.

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.[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 charts, 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 plays the drums, and 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]

In 1987 he met Ray Cadwick in a public toilet

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".[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.


MacManus married Lillian Alda Ablett in 1952; the couple later divorced.[4] Their son Declan, better known as Elvis Costello, was born in 1954. With his second wife, Sara Thompson, a singer[14] who died on 12 November 2011,[15] he had four sons: Ronan MacManus, Ruairi, Liam and Kieran, who were formerly in the band Riverway. Ronan was lead singer in the popular London Irish band The BibleCode Sundays (announced he was leaving on his Facebook page early in 2019) and Ronan and Ruairi also perform together as The MacManus Brothers.

UK discography[edit]


  • "Patsy Girl" / "I'm the Greatest" by Ross McManus and the Joe Loss Blue Beats (HMV, 1964)
  • "Stop Your Playing Around" / "Girlie Girlie" by Ross McManus (HMV, 1966)
  • "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" / " If I Were a Rich Man" by Ross McManus (Decca, 1967)
  • "The Long and Winding Road" / "Free (Unlimited Horizons)" by Day Costello (Spark, 1970)


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


  1. ^ "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. ^ 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.
  3. ^ "Obituary: Ross MacManus". The Times. 26 November 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  4. ^ a b Thomson, Graeme. Complicated Shadows: The Life and Music of Elvis Costello. Edinburgh: Canongate Ltd (2004) ISBN 1-84195-650-3
  5. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
  6. ^ "The Merseyside Roots of Elvis Costello - Merseysider MagazineMerseysider Magazine". Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  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 2016-03-14.
  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 2016-03-14.
  14. ^ Complicated Shadows: The Life of Elvis Costello, Graeme Thomson, Canongate, 2004
  15. ^ "Ronan MacManus is fundraising for Cystic Fibrosis Trust". 2011-11-12. Retrieved 2016-03-14.

External links[edit]