John McCormack - one of the most famous and admired Irish Tenors of the 20th century.
John McCormack – one of the most famous and admired Irish Tenors of the 20th century.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – RCA Magic Key – John McCormack – Dec. 27, 1936 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
Unless you’re a fan of Tenors or of Opera, the name John McCormack isn’t going to mean anything to you. And mostly likely, you’ve never heard anything he’s sung. John McCormack was around from 1884 to 1945. So he missed the lp, stereo, digital – anything remotely present-day by today’s standards of technology.

But; during the period from the beginning of the 20th century all the way almost to his death, John McCormack was a name everyone knew, many singers tried to be and one of the most popular and respected Irish Tenors in the world. John McCormack represented that purity of tone and remarkable style that just grabbed the audience and held them, usually in the palm of his hand.

He was much in demand for Opera, and his frequent appearances at The Metropolitan Opera in New York and all the major Opera houses throughout the world, were testament to his artistry. But he was also very much in demand as a singer of songs; German lieder, Irish and American songs; a wide range of music which he captured and made his very own.

So, to give you some idea of what he sounded like, and what the critics raved over, here is a segment of a popular radio in the 1930’s – The Magic Key was something of a long commercial for RCA-Victor Records and RCA Radios. They sponsored the show and practically all the talent appearing on the show were RCA-Victor artists.

Still, John McCormack appeared frequently on the radio, regardless of commercial affiliation – he was a much admired singer everywhere, and this broadcast made on December 27th 1936 will give you some idea. Even though the technology doesn’t do him justice, you’ll get an idea of what all the excitement was about.


And while you’re taking that operatic and Irish Song excursion, let me remind you that we’re still a ways off from our goal and a little less than 20 days away from finishing that goal. We need your help. It’s Past Daily’s Spring Fundraiser and we need to raise enough money to keep Past Daily up and running as well as keep the Archive all these recordings come from, preserving and remastering and making them all available to you, whenever you want. So please, consider contributing whatever amount you can do and we will be incredibly grateful for it. Click on the link below (with Teddy Roosevelt) and make you pledge today. It means a lot to us.

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