- 08 Dec 21
On this day 41 years ago, 25-year-old Mark David Chapman assassinated the world-famous John Lennon.
Singer-songwriter and producer Francie Conway has unveiled his rendition of 'Christmas Night' on the 41st anniversary of John Lennon's death. The Beatle was tragically shot dead in the archway of his Dakota apartment block by a 'fan' in New York City.
Originally from Kerry, Francie Conway – who is based in Dublin for a long time and teaches in Ballyfermot College – records and performs with band The Works, while also performing with The Fureys. Francie started his musical career at the age of 17, in the highly-rated rock band Clutch, formed in Tralee with friend Mike O'Callaghan. A year later, Conway set off to Amsterdam, at the age of just 18. The rest is history, as they say.
His version of Lennon's track was a long-term goal of Conway's.
"Today we release 'Christmas Night' on John Lennon’s anniversary. It’s something I wanted to do since my days with RCA Records London when it was customary for rock artists to record a Christmas song. I know Noddy Holder from Slade and Chris Rea both wrote Christmas songs, but at that time it was out of reach. It was always at the back of my mind to try it," Francie told Hot Press.
The track was recorded in studios in Ireland with Matt Kelleghan of Moving Hearts; England with Vivienne Boucherat and Chris White (The Zombies); Switzerland with Dom Torche of Relief Studio; and in Germany with Peter Erdei.
"On this day last year, we released the album Hidden Gems and Hot Press was the very first to pick up on it," Francie added, nostalgically.
"The album featured musicians from Pink Floyd, The Kinks, Focus, The Zombies, Argent and of course our own Christy Dignam and Finbar Furey. The acclaimed album continues on its journey with loads of radio attention in many countries. During the summer we released ‘Staycation’ and in the autumn ‘Peace, Love and Rock’n’Roll’, a track I recorded with David Richards (Bowie, Queen) in Montreux (Queen’s studio) – not sure if you know the link, but David also produced Chris Rea. What a year we had – the lockdown suited us well."
Hidden Gems opens with the Lennon-esque ‘Outbreak of Peace’, which features Greg French on keyboards and backing vocals and Finbar Furey on low whistle. It is a song that should resonate deeply with fans of the iconic Beatle.
Listen to the new single from Francie Conway below: