Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Big Yin

Billy Connolly, nicknamed The Big Yin (the big one in Scottish), was born in Glasgow on 24th November in 1942. At the age of four his mother abandoned him and his sister, their father being at the war. Both of them were brought up by their two aunts. When he was 12, Billy decided to become a comedian but felt that he would never make it. Instead, he decided to leave school in 1957 to become a welder. Billy Connolly was married twice and has five children.

His career began in the sixties. From 1965 onwards he focused on being a folk singer and in the mid sixties the Humblebums, his folk pop duo with Tam Harvey was created. After their first album First Collection of Merry Melodies, Tam Harvey decided to leave the group and was replaced by Gerry Rafferty. In 1970 the band split up and Billy Connolly began a solo career.

Initially a folk singer, his songs were characterized by a humoristic introduction explaining why Net Joseph, the head of Transatlantic Records, told him that he should give up folk singing to become a comedian. He gave his first solo concert in 1971 and his first solo album Billy Connolly Live, produced by Joseph, came out in 1972 mixing comic songs and short monologues.

In the seventies his parody of Tammy Winette’s D.I.V.O.R.C.E. was a great success.

In the eighties he completed several tours in Australia, New-Zealand, Ireland and Canada. In 1990 he acted in the American sitcom Head of the class. Following this sitcom, he took part in The Bigger Picture, a very popular series in the nineties. It was a “world tour” of Scotland to describe his home land. He also worked as a comedian and as an actor. In 1999 and 2000 he went on tours in Australia, New-Zealand and Canada. In 2001 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters in the University of Glasgow. He finally performed four days in the States in 2005.

As a conclusion we can say that Billy Connolly is a very popular folk singer, stand-up comedian and film actor in Scotland but also in the English-speaking world. Here follows his famous satire of the British anthem.

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