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Tommy Makem

Biographical
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  • Tommy Makem
    • Born: November 4, 1932, Keady, County Armagh, Ireland
    • Died: August 1, 2007, Dover, New Hampshire, USA
    • Group member: 1956-1969
    • Reunion tour: 1984-1985

  • 1955:
    • American song-collector Diane Hamilton comes to the Makem home in Keady, Co. Armagh while on a song-collecting tour to meet Tommy's mother, singer Sarah Makem.
      • Diane is accompanied by Liam Clancy.
      • This is the first meeting of Tommy and Liam.
      • This "song-collecting tour" results in the release of The Lark in the Morning; featuring Tommy and Liam and their mothers, Sarah and Joan, respectively.
    • In December, Tommy immigrates to America, arriving in New Hampshire, where he has relatives.
  • 1959:
    • Tommy appears at the Newport Folk Festival. Paddy Clancy also appears — Tommy accompanies him on the penny-whistle.
    • Tommy and the Clancys release their 2nd album together, Come Fill Your Glass with Us.
    • The group decides to try singing fulltime for six months.
      • They offically became known as "The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem", after a club owner uses that billing on the marquee.
  • 1961:
    • Tommy and Joan Baez are named the most promising newcomers on the American folk scene at the Newport Folk Festival.
    • CBTM appear on the Ed Sullivan show. Columbia records offer the group a five year recording contract — they accept. Twelve Columbia albums follow between 1961-1969.
    • CBTM release their third and final, self-titled album for Tradition Records.
    • Tommy releases his first solo album, Songs of Tommy Makem.
  • 1966:
    • Tommy Makem compositions, "Freedom's Sons" and "Lord Nelson", appear for the first time on a CBTM recording — Freedom's Sons.
  • 1969:
    • Tommy leaves the group to solo, after giving a year's notice.
    • Between 1969 & 1975, Tommy releases eight solo albums.
  • 1982:
    • Tommy Makem's Irish Pavilion, a bar and restaurant on East 57th Street in New York city, opens.
  • 1984:
    • Tommy Makem reunites with Clancy Brothers for the first time since 1969.
  • 1988:
    • Makem and Clancy amicably split. Tommy, once again, goes solo, releasing seven more albums.
  • 1990:
    • Tommy Makem appears The BBC/RTE documentary "Bringing it all back Home: The Influence of Irish Music in America".
      • The four Clancy Brothers also appear in separate segment (from Tommy).
  • 1992:
    • In October, Tommy Makem appears (as a "special guest") with The Clancy Brothers & Robbie O'Connell, to perform at Bob Dylan's 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration at Madison Square Garden.
      • This is the last public/professional appearance (to my knowledge) of Tommy Makem with the Clancys.
    • Tommy hosts a series of television specials (over the next ten years) for WMHT, a Public Television station serving Eastern New York and Western New England.
      • Most of these shows were commercially released on video.
  • 1998:
    • Tommy Makem's Irish Pavilion closes.
  • 2007:
    • Tommy Makem passes away on August 1, 2007, following a lengthy battle with lung cancer in Dover, New Hampshire.
    • He continued to perform until very close to the end.

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