Karl Dallas, British journalist, author and campaigner, Died at 85


Karl Frederick Dallas was born on January 29, 1931, and died on June 21, 2016.

He was a British journalist, musician, author, playwright, peace campaigner, record producer and broadcaster.

Karl was described as “the most vigorous, influential, and informed folk music journalist in Britain.

He grew up in a socialist household.

Dallas was enrolled in the Independent Labour Party on the day of his birth, and was named after Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

He spent his childhood in Whitley Bay, Northumberland, and then later attended Bec School in Tooting, London.

He started writing poetry, and writing and performing songs in London in his teens, using the name Fred Dallas.

Karl Dallas songs have been recorded by The Spinners, Ewan MacColl, June Tabor and others.

Dallas also contributed music reviews to the St Marylebone Record and Musical Opinion magazine.

Dallas started working as a full-time reporter, in 1957, later becoming a freelance writer on music – including pop, jazz, classical and folk music – and fashion.

A large selection of his articles were published in the Melody Maker; he also wrote for The Times, The Independent, and many magazines.

Karl Dallas published his own magazines, including Folk Music, Folk News, and Jazz Music News, and in 1967 wrote his first book, Swinging London: a guide to where the action is.

Karl Dallas wrote other books which includes Singers of an Empty Day: last sacraments for the superstars (1972), The Cruel Wars: 100 soldiers’ songs from Agincourt to Ulster (1972), One Hundred Songs of Toil: 450 Years of Workers’ Songs (1974) and The Electric Muse: The Story of Folk into Rock (with Dave Laing, Robin Denselow and Robert Shelton, 1975).

He also established his own public relations agency for a short time, with clients including Pan Books, Topic Records, and Billy Smart’s Circus.

Karl worked as a record producer for the Transatlantic, Island and Sonet labels, and as a concert promoter.

As of the late 1970s, he has also written on information technology, and has contributed articles to most British computer magazines.

Karl was a lifelong atheist until converting to Christianity in 1983.

Dallas relocated with his wife to live in Bradford in 1989, and retired from full-time journalism in 1999.

During 2003, Karl went to Iraq in a double-Decker bus as part of the group of campaigners intending to act as human shields in the event of invasion.

Upon his return, Dallas wrote Into the War Zone, which he described as a “musical tragicomedy” satirizing his experiences as a human shield in Iraq.

In 2005, that play was performed by the Writers Company in Bradford.

Karl Dallas has written several other plays, including a seven-hour play on the life of Stalin, as well as several books, including The Fourth Step, described as “a thriller of the international drugs trade”, and Good News for the Last Times (2010), a “prophetic vision for the 21st century” based on his religious experiences.

One of his book filled his critical writings, The Lie That Tells The Truth, was published in 2012.

Karl Dallas passed away at 85 years old.