Ralph McTell performs 'Streets of London' at the National Stadium in Dublin.

Born in Ralph May 1944 in Croydon, south London, he adapted McTell as his stage name, having been influenced by Blind Willie McTell, an American Piedmont blues and ragtime singer and musician.

‘Streets of London’ was inspired by the experience of travelling and busking all over Europe. The song first appeared on the 1969 album ‘Spiral Staircase’, but it was not until 1974 that it was released in the UK as a single.  

‘Streets of London’ was a major commercial success for McTell, topping both the Irish and British charts, receiving much radio airplay, and for many years was part of buskers’ repertoires the length and breadth of Ireland.

This episode of ‘Festival Folk’ was broadcast on 11 April 1984. It was recorded on Saturday 24th September 1983.  The producer is Ian McGarry.

‘Festival Folk’ was a series of concerts recorded in the National Stadium, Dublin, featuring well-known folk singers and musicians.  It ran from 1983 to 1984.