Today, Friday 20th Aug 2021, as part of the ICC’s special tribute to the great, late and glorious tenor singer, Josef Locke, ICC Digital is delighted to present this free on-line illustrated talk:
“Josef Locke – The People’s Tenor” –given by Josef Locke’s biographer, Nuala McAllister Hart.
In 2017 Nuala won The McCrea Literary Award for her biography on Locke. It was also featured on Radio 4’s Front Row on BBC NI and RTÉ.
You can buy a copy of Nuala’s biography “Josef Locke – The People’s Tenor” from WATERSTONES as well as from other major booksellers.
Acclaimed as ‘The Tom Jones of his day’ , Josef Locke earned £2,000 a week when £100 was considered a good wage for a music-hall artist of his day! A sublime ‘tenor’ whose singing of traditional, sentimental Irish ballads such as ‘Hear My Song’, ‘Danny Boy’, ‘Count Your Blessings’, ‘Violetta’, ‘Dear Old Donegal’ and ‘I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen’ never failed to bring tears to the eyes of his audiences in Ireland and Britain in the 1940s and 50s.
Invariably closing his concerts with his rousing rendition of ‘Goodbye’, he never failed to have his audiences right there in the palm of his hand – especially the ladies, because Locke was handsome, immaculately tailored and flamboyantly roguish, with a trim moustache and a twinkling eye. At the time of his death in 1999, (at the age of 82), a close friend of Locke, Maureen Grant, who ran the bar at the Olympia Theater in Dublin, told the New York Times that women were particularly moved by his voice. She said ”They threw flowers onto the stage, and they’d bring along more personal items and throw them as well.”