- 17 May 22
John Gallen's debut album 1970s confirms both the remarkable emergence of a bright new talent and the fact that age really doesn’t matter.
51-year-old Dubliner John Gallen's debut album 1970s has entered the Official Irish Album Charts at No.5, marking a monumental achievement for a relatively unknown artist.
The Balbriggan native decided to embrace his lifelong love of music following an extensive career in law and engineering. All the while, something was missing. It took the Covid lockdowns for Gallen to rejig his idea of employment, with the musician building his own studio during his downtime to record his tracks.
“It was a case of whether or not I was just going to wallow around for the next two years,” he reflected in a recent interview with Hot Press. “I thought that if this was going to go on indefinitely, it’s best that I keep myself entertained in some way. I had this recurring desire to go back to music. It was fair to say that I’d been humming these songs in my head for the last 30 years. Even in conversations with people, I found myself creating melodies.”
For several weeks, Gallen floated the notion of his musical ambitions to one of his secretaries, who initially scoffed at the idea. His secretary happened to be acquainted with the manager of English singer-songwriter Olly Murs, and was able to help Gallen with a connection: Billy Farrell (The Corrs, Hurricane Highway).
Debut album 1970s begins with lead single ‘Positive Attitude’, a fun, sugar-coated pop track that sounds like it boogied its way right out of a sparkling disco club.
“It’s a really radio friendly album,” one industry insider said, “so it’d be great to see it continue to get attention and love from Irish radio. There is no denying the fact that John Gallen is a special sort of talent. 1970s is a brilliantly constructed record, with great melodies, unusual chord shifts and a great sense of musicality throughout. And the production is superb. It makes you wonder how many other great albums there are out there, just waiting to be made, that the conventional music industry just can’t – or doesn’t want to – accommodate.”
In his review for Hot Press, Jackie Hayden praised 1970s as a sparking, contemporary first effort.
"A product of the lockdown, 1970s emerges as a cleverly co-ordinated album of sophisticated white soul-pop-rock. Spiced with tasty brass and strings, it features a band – top session players among them – that can boogie, and excellent vocals and harmonies, all brought together under the watchful ears of the accomplished Billy Farrell, at the production desk."
Listen to the LP below.