- 28 Apr 23
The band confirmed that Fean passed away this morning at his home in Shannon.
Horslips have announced the passing of guitarist Johnny Fean today (April 28) at the age of 71, paying tribute to the veteran musician.
In a statement this afternoon, the Celtic rock band said: "Horslips are deeply saddened to announce the passing of band member Johnny Feans, who died this morning at his home in Shannon, Co. Clare.
"For well over 50 years Johnny was our best friend, our creative collaborator, our guitar hero. Johnny wasn't only one of the greatest players ever, he was also the sweetest man in rock and roll.
"His immeasurable talent won him countless supporters throughout the years. We remain his biggest fans. He devoted his life to music and we'll be forever thankful that he did.
"The band wish to express their heartfelt condolences to Johnny's wife Maggie, brothers Ray, Donal, Shearie, sisters Gail and Corna and all the extended Fean clan. Johnny will be sorely missed."
The legendary Irish Celtic rock band, Horslips, formed in 1970, with Fean joining shortly after - later releasing hits like 'Dearg Doom' and 'Trouble With a Capital T'. They were one of the most successful Irish-based bands of all time, deservedly going down in the annals as a vital formative influence on the Irish rock scene.
Tributes to Johnny Fean have poured in from fans and fellow musicians alike.
Horslips' — composed of Eamon Carr, Barry Devlin, Johnny Fean, Jim Lockhart and Charles O’Connor — debut single, Johnny's Wedding, dropped St. Patricks Day 1972. Their album Happy To Meet, Sorry To Part, released the same year – by which time Johnny Fean was on board – is largely credited with inventing Celtic rock, weaving together two seemingly disparate genres into something entirely new. It was one of he fastest selling Irish albums ever up to tat time. In the following eight years, the band toured the world and recorded 12 albums, finishing with a bang at Belfast's Ulster Hall in 1980.
After a long break, they found themselves performing in Derry in 2004, leading to a reunion album that would bind the band for the coming years. After a ten-year run, which followed a 29-year break, the band decided to hang up their collective instruments in late 2019.
Revisit our July 2022 interview with Horslips here.
Really sad news of the passing of Johnny Fean. A great guitarist and a beautiful man. For so many of us he was our first guitar hero. Thanks Johnny for everything. pic.twitter.com/09paup22eD
— John Kelly tweets (@johnkellytweets) April 28, 2023
Desperately sad new new that Horslips man Johnny Fean has passed. Another Irish guitar legend leaves the stage. pic.twitter.com/81moDJpkvB
— Ralph McLean (@RalphMcLeanShow) April 28, 2023
Ah Johnny. You were just magic. Thank you for all the music, the licks, and the brilliance. What a legend. Thoughts with all the #Horslips gang. Ni bheidh a leithead aris ann! #johnnyFean 💚 pic.twitter.com/kBPnPBqxun
— Sean McPartlin (@SeanMcP) April 28, 2023
Rest in Peace Johnny Fean.
A master of the trade, an Irish legend who delivered into the Irish psyche forever our most famous guitar riff.
Those of us lucky enough to remember Italia ‘90 owe the soundtrack of that summer to the fingers and soul of Jonny Fean.
An incredib… pic.twitter.com/flWpMeJ6J5
— Fiach Moriarty (@Fiachmusic) April 28, 2023
— Eoin Devereux (@ProfDevereux) April 28, 2023