1 Billy Connolly was once his backing singer and when he appeared at the Carnegie Hall in New York, Bob Dylan was further down the bill. Socialist, songwriter, communist, atheist and activist Matt McGinn, who died tragically early at the age of 48 in 1977, was one of Scotland’s greatest folk singers and considered by many the ‘voice of Glasgow’.

Glasgow Times: Matt McGinn

2 Born in Calton, Matt spent a short time in an approved school before getting a job in a Hillington factory, studying and writing in the evenings. A trade union scholarship sent him to Ruskin College in Oxford, but he returned to Glasgow to work as a teacher – he organised the Gorbals Adventure Playground, or the Vennie, and was an outspoken supporter of local children when it was under threat of closure.

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3 His musical career began when he won a competition in 60s Sunday newspaper the Reynolds News, with The Foreman O’Rourke, about a worker who flushes his boss down a toilet pan. His best known songs ranged from children’s ditties to hard-hitting explorations of the plight of the working classes, and included The Red YoYo, Skinny Malinky Longlegs, The Ballad of the Q4 and the moving The Ibrox Disaster.

4 American protest singer Pete Seeger championed McGinn’s music in the United States and arranged for him to perform at Carnegie Hall, where he met a young Bob Dylan.

5 A blue plaque was installed at his Calton birthplace in 2019. Matt died of smoke inhalation in a tragic fire at his home on January 5, 1977. A statue of him also stands in the foyer of the People’s Palace on Glasgow Green and Matt is an inductee in the Scottish Traditional Music Hall Of Fame.