Who Was George Donaldson, and What Was He Famous For?

Who Was George Donaldson, and What Was He Famous For?

George Donaldson was the lead singer of the hugely successful Irish singing group Celtic Thunder. He died suddenly of a massive heart attack on March 12, 2014, at the age of 46. Fans called Donaldson "Big George," and he was the only Scottish member of Celtic Thunder.

George Donaldson was an original member of Celtic Thunder, joining the group when it formed in Dublin in 2007. He appeared in all nine of the Celtic Thunder’s concert specials and toured the world performing with the group.

With Celtic Thunder, Donaldson appeared in St. Patrick’s Day parades in Chicago, Boston and New York City. He performed at the White House for President Barack Obama and at the Pentagon for the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. Celtic Thunder fans refer to themselves as “Thunderheads.”

George Donaldson was a self-taught musician who played guitar and flute. He began his music career playing in local Glasgow pubs and became well-known in the Scottish folk music scene, often recording folk music for BBC Scotland. When not on tour, Donaldson was the resident singer at a bar in Glasgow.

As of 2015, Celtic Thunder has released 12 albums and 10 live performances on DVD. Billboard magazine named Celtic Thunder Top World Album Artist in 2008, 2009 and 2011.