Ewan MacColl (25 January 1915 - 22 October 1989) was an English/Scottish folk singer, songwriter, socialist, actor, poet, playwright, and record producer. He was the father of singer/songwriter Kirsty MacColl.
MacColl was born James (Jimmie) Henry Miller in Broughton, Salford, Lancashire in England, to Scottish parents, William and Betsy Miller (Betsy nÃ©e Hendry). He left school in 1929, joined the Young Communist League and the socialist amateur theatre troupe, the Clarion Players. He began his career as a writer helping produce, and contributing humorous verse and skits to some of the Communist Party's factory papers. He was an activist in the unemployed workers campaigns and the mass trespasses of the early 1930s. One of his best-known songs, "The Manchester Rambler," was written after the pivotal mass trespass of Kinder Scout. He was responsible for publicity in the planning of the trespass.
In 1932 the British counterintelligence service, MI5, began a file on MacColl, after the Chief Constable of Salford told them that the singer was a Communist Party member. For a time the Special Branch kept a watch on the Manchester home that he shared.