James Kennedy (Irish Lyricist 1902 - 1984)

Jimmy Kennedy (Irish Lyricist 1902 - 1984)
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James Kennedy was born in Omagh in 1903 and brought up in Portstewart Co. Derry. He became a noted and respected songwriter, writing song such as the Teddy Bears Picnic, Red sails in the Sunset, the Hokey, Cokey and South of the Border. He wrote over 1000 airs and won two Ivor Novello awards. His songs were recorded by some of the greatest singers of their day such as Bing Crosby, Perry Como and Frank Sinatra. In the late 1970’s, he resided in a house on Church road named Thornbank, though he later moved to the UK. He was awarded an OBE in 1983 and died in Cheltenham on the 6th of April 1984 aged 81. After James died he was inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame of the National Academy of Popular Music, New York, in 1997.


Lunney, Linde; James (Jimmy) Kennedy, Dictionary of Irish Biography, RI|A, Dublin (2009)

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