MacColl Monitored By Mi5
Legendary British folk singer EWAN MACCOLL was tracked by security service MI5 for more than 20 years because the government considered him a dangerous radical with communist beliefs. According to secret files released by the National Archives today (05MAR06), the father of the late singer Kirsty Maccoll was deemed a national security threat during the 1930s and 40s. Special branch MI5 kept watch over his Manchester home which he shared with British actress JOAN LITTLEWOOD, and closely monitored their drama company, Theatre Union, in a bid to establish whether the pair were spreading extremist propaganda. MACColl, who was born JAMES MILLER but changed his name after World War II, was also placed under special observation when he joined the British Army in 1940. One document remarked that while MACColl had "exceptional ability as a singer and musical organiser", he was very clearly "a communist with very extreme views" who needed "special attention". The singer, who died in 1989, remains best known for penning DIRTY OLD TOWN and THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE, which won American hitmaker Roberta Flack a Grammy in the 1970s.