b. c.1859, San Francisco, California, USA, d. 7 November 1938, New York City, New York, USA. As a child Quinn sang in the church choir and when living in New Jersey as a young man he was encouraged to sing for cylinder recording companies in New York. This was in 1892 and he was soon recording for many of the emerging labels. His voice was clear and he sang mostly tenor but could move towards baritone. His repertoire was wide, from comic songs, like ‘The Mick Who Threw The Brick’, to hymns, such as ‘I Need Thee Every Hour’ and ‘Throw Out The Life Line’, and including along the way popular songs of the day, ‘Little Annie Rooney’, ‘Sweet Rosie O’Grady’ and ‘The Sidewalks Of New York’. Through the late 1890s and into the early years of the twentieth century he recorded many hundreds of songs for labels such as Edison, Columbia Records and Victor Records’ precursor, the Consolidated Talking Machine Company. From 1895 Quinn began recording the new single-sided discs for the Berliner label, whose parent company, the National Gram-o-phone Company, billed him in their catalogue as ‘The King of Comic Singers’.
Quinn appears to have retired from recording in 1906 but maintained his career, singing in vaudeville and according to a lengthy interview he gave to popular music historian Ulysses ‘Jim’ Walsh (b. 1903, d. 1990) he also operated a booking agency. Around 1915 he resumed recording, his songs being issued in the latest recording industry development, the double-sided disc. Quinn’s recording career ended in 1918 although he continued performing for several more years. Occasionally, Quinn recorded duets including ‘Is Marriage A Failure?’ and ‘Fol-De-Iddley-Ido’ with Helen Trix (of the Trix Sisters), but mostly he sang solo, often accompanied by pianist Frank Banta. Among songs recorded by Quinn are ‘Ikey Eisenstein’, ‘Girl Wanted’, ‘Henrietta, Have Your Met Her?’, ‘Little Old New York Is Good Enough For Me’, ‘Glorious Beer’, ‘More Work For The Undertaker’, ‘Down In Poverty Row’, ‘I’ve Been Hoodoed’, ‘Just Tell Them That You Saw Me’, ‘Strike Up The Band’, ‘Football’, ‘Pretty As A Picture’, ‘Beatrice Fairfax, Tell Me What To Do’, ‘Hello! Boys, I’m Back Again’, ‘I Can Dance With Everybody But My Wife’, ‘At The Fountain Of Youth’, ‘Here Comes The Groom’, ‘If I Knock The 'L' Out Of Kelly’, ‘Pat Malone Forget That He Was Dead’, ‘Some Little Bug Is Going To Find You’ and ‘Life Is A Merry Go Round’.