Dan Quinn was one of the three top vocal recording stars of the 1890’s, recording over 2,500 titels in his 20 year career.
Born in 1959 in San Francisco, California, Quinn began his career as a boy soprano in an Episcopal choir. In his 20’s, Quinn began performing on the vaudeville circuit and in 1892 began his recording career. As he recounted in a 1934 article Reminiscences of Dan W. Quinn, "In January 1892, I was engaged to entertain a political club in Hoboken. One of the features was a man who gave a phonograph exhibition and invited everyone to make a voice test...The phonograph was a great novelty at the time, and these records created a lot of amusement, though most of them were terrible. I was loath to make an attempt, but they all begged me, and finally I did. I was lucky enough to have a voice and style of singing that were just 'made' for recording...I don't know what it was about my voice that made it 'go,' as I always sang quietly. There must have been some latent penetrating power. Anyway, the operator urged me to go one of the laboratories and make a real test. In a short time I went to the New York Company, located at 257 Fifth Avenue. Richard Townley Haines was the manager and he was so much taken by my singing that I did a lot of work for him. I'll never forget one of the first records I made. It was 'Down Went McGinty'...In a little while I began to hear of other phonograph companies, so I graduated to the New Jersey [Phonograph] Company at Newark....I was new, and my fund of material interested them greatly."
Quinn became successful immediately. His first 12 recordings all hit #1 on the pop charts. Among his more than 34 tow ten recordings are the #1 hits “Daddy Wouldn’t Buy Me a Bow-Wow” (1892), “The Bowery” (1892), “Daisy Bell” (1893), “Lindley, Does You Love Me?” (1894), “My Pearl is a Bowery Girl” (1894), “And Her Golden Hair Was Hanging Down Her Back” (1894), “The Sidewalks of New York” (1895), “The Band Played On” (1895), “The Little Lost Child” (1895), “In the Baggage Coach Ahead” (1896), “A Hot Time in the Old Town” (1896), “My Mother Was a Lady” (1897), “There’s a Little Star Shining For You” (1897), “She Was Happy Till She Met You” (1898), “At a Georgia Camp Meeting” (1898), “Curse of the Dreamer” (1899), “Good Evening, Carrie” (1901).
Dan Quinn died on November 7, 1938 in New York City.