- 07 Feb 18
Just in case your memory needs jogging, former Waterford resident Stuart Clark has reeled in the years for us...
Hot Press is delighted to be joining forces with Beat 102-103 and their army of listeners in Waterford, Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Tipperary to compile the South East’s All-Time Top 30 Songs.
Picking your personal favourite won’t be easy with all five of the aforementioned counties packing a serious musical punch down through the decades.
We’re applying the grandparent rule, which means that Shane MacGowan and The Pogues and Maverick Sabre, who spent goodly parts of their respective childhoods in Tipp and New Ross, and strongly identify as Irish, are both eligible.
You’ll probably have to ask your parents about the Royal Showband and Val Doonican, but 48 years after making his UK top 10 bow with ‘Nothing Rhymed’, ex-Cork Road, Waterford resident Gilbert O’Sullivan remains a household name.
While they never reached the same dizzying heights as their celebrity champion, Phil Lynott, Neuro are still remembered for 1981’s gloriously Bowie-esque ‘Nairobi’. Their indie baton was passed on to The Village whose ’86 gem, ‘Mental State’, still inspires warm nostalgic glows.
Coming agonisingly close to an international breakthrough at the end of the decade were Cry Before Dawn, the Wexford authors of such stadium-aspiring anthems as ‘Gone Forever’, ‘The Seed That’s Been Sown’ and ‘Girl In The Ghetto’.
Kilkenny was the place to be in the early ‘90s with My Little Funhouse, Engine Alley and Kerbdog all bagging themselves major international deals.
“For a little while, Kilkenny was the Seattle of Europe,” MLF’s Brendan Morrissey recalls with a chuckle. “For one of our videos, we ended up on Route 66 playing guitar solos on the tops of cars with Jack Nance from Twin Peaks! Our second record was produced by Mike Clink and had Matt Sorum guesting on drums and Slash on guitar. It still amazes me that, wherever I travel around the world, people remember the My Little Funhouse story.”
MLF’s barnstorming ‘I Want Some Of That’ and ‘Wishing Well’ singles have both stood the test of time, as have such Kerbdog cranium crunchers as ‘Cleaver’ and ‘Dry Riser’, and Engine Alley’s effortlessly cool ‘Infamy’ and ‘Mrs. Winder’.
More recently, we’ve had our gobs well and truly smacked by R.S.A.G. whose ‘I’ll Be There’, ‘Stick To Your Line’ and ‘The Roamer’, to mention but three, are sure to be in chart contention.
Having travelled to the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest in Athens as Brian Kennedy’s backing singer and coming tenth, Una Healy wasn’t expecting a whole lot from her girl band audition the following year in London, but the unnamed project turned out to be The Saturdays whose unbroken run of 18 chart singles – we’re particularly fond of ‘Missing You’, ‘All Fired Up’ and ‘Disco Love’ – means that Thurles is likely to have at least one representative in the South East’s All-Time Top 30 Songs.
Una is a big fan of Ballyporeen’s Gemma Hayes who, after leaving her County Limerick boarding school, signed to unspeakably cool French indie label Source. From 2002’s ‘Night On My Side’ up to 2015’s ‘Palomino (Song)’ – we’re due a new album, Gemma! –she’s barely put a musical foot wrong.
It was also love at first listen as Hot Press discovered Enniscorthy’s Wallis Bird courtesy of her 2007 gem, ‘Blossoms In The Street’.
At around the same time, Waterford’s Katie Kim was opening her solo account with the utterly beguiling ‘Radio’.
As we head in to 2018, seriously big things are expected of Waterford’s King Kong Company who opened their account last year with festival fave ‘Scarity Dan’; Carlow’s John Gibbons whose banging ‘P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Things)’ remix has contributed to his 60 million-plus Spotify plays, and Kilkenny’s Shane Joyce whose ‘Blame’ single has greatly impressed the Hot Press jury.
Following this week’s launch on Beat Breakfast with Niall, Vinny and Trish, the South East All-Time Top 30 Songs action switches to Sunday nights with Rob O’Connor picking out his personal local faves on Irish Beats, and hotpress.com where we’ll be jogging your memories with a daily dip into the video vaults.
Vote now for your favourite South-East song at: www.hotpress.com/vote
It’s going to be a blast!