David Kenneth Ritz "Dave" Van Ronk (June 30, 1936 – February 10, 2002) was an American folk singer, born in Brooklyn, New York, who settled in Greenwich Village, New York, and was eventually nicknamed the "Mayor of MacDougal Street".
He was an important figure in the acoustic folk revival of the 1960s. His work ranged from old English ballads to blues, gospel, rock, New Orleans jazz, and swing. He was also known for performing instrumental ragtime guitar music, especially his transcription of "St. Louis Tickle" and Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag".
Van Ronk was a widely admired avuncular figure in "the Village", presiding over the coffeehouse folk culture and acting as a friend to many up-and-coming artists by inspiring, assisting, and promoting them. Folk performers whom he befriended include Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Patrick Sky, Phil Ochs, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Guthrie Thomas, and Joni Mitchell.
Bob Dylan recorded Van Ronk's arrangement of the traditional song "House of the Rising Sun" on Dylan's first album. A few years later the Animals had a No. 1 hit single with a rock version of the Van-Ronk arrangement of the song, a hit which helped to inaugurate the folk-rock movement.
Van Ronk received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in December 1997. He died in a New York hospital of cardiopulmonary failure while undergoing postoperative treatment for colon cancer.Continue reading at Wikipedia... Wikipedia content provided under the terms of the Creative Commons BY-SA license