#OTD in 2012 – Death of Bernard Noël “Banjo Barney” McKenna.

Barney McKenna was the last surviving founding member of the Irish folk group the Dubliners. With Luke Kelly’s powerful voice and force of nature on stage, Ronnie Drew’s gravelly memorable vocal sound, it was McKenna’s playing of the tenor banjo, coupled with John Sheahan’s fiddle, that gave the Dubliners their original instrumental quality. In the […]

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#OTD in 1942 – Birth of artist and musician, Phil Coulter, in Co Derry.

Coulter’s father, also called Phil, encouraged music in the house. He played the fiddle whilst his wife played the upright piano. The younger Coulter recalls this piano, made by Challen, as ‘the most important piece of furniture in the house’. ‘I always stayed away from the fiddle, having inflicted enough pain on my family with […]

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#OTD in 2011 – Renowned rock guitarist Gary Moore dies in a hotel room while on holiday in Spain.

Blues guitarist, Gary Moore was born in Belfast and was a guitar prodigy who was mentored in his teens by Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac. Green gave Moore his 1959 Les Paul Standard guitar after he left Fleetwood Mac. Moore’s first band was Skid Row which featured a young Phil Lynott. Moore went on to […]

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#OTD in 1984 – Death of Luke Kelly, lead vocalist and 5-string banjo member of the Dubliners.

Luke Kelly was a singer and folk musician from Dublin, most famous as a member of the band ‘The Dubliners’. Indeed, while Luke often sang of the poor, the oppressed, the worker, the lover or the rebel –the realities of his own life and upbringing enlivened and gave weight to his songs and the emotional […]

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#OTD in 1955 – Birth of singer/songwriter, Liam Reilly, in Dundalk, Co Louth.

Liam Reilly is an Irish singer/songwriter and a member of the popular Irish rock band Bagatelle. After receiving an offer from Gus Dudgeon (Elton John’s producer, now deceased) Reilly began a solo career. It didn’t gain much popularity but he wrote some of Bagatelle’s most popular songs during this time such as ‘Somewhere In Europe’. Reilly […]

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#OTD in 1951 – Birth of drummer and a founder member of the rock band Thin Lizzy, Brian Downey, in Dublin.

In his youth, he met friend, co-founder and bass guitarist Phil Lynott, who attended the same school as did Downey. Along with Lynott, Downey was the only constant founder and member of the pioneering hard rock group until their break-up in 1984, although he did opt out of a 1978 tour claiming “exhaustion.” Today, he […]

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#OTD in 1973 – Death of piper and folklorist, Willie Clancy.

Clancy was born into a musical family in the outskirts of Miltown Malbay, Co Clare. His parents, Gilbert Clancy and Ellen Killeen, both sang and played concertina, and his father also played the flute. Clancy’s father had been heavily influenced by local blind piper Garret Barry and passed much of Barry’s music on to Willie. […]

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#OTD in 1957 – Birth of musician and singer, Shane MacGowan.

Shane MacGowan was born in Pembury, Kent, to Irish parents. MacGowan spent his early childhood in Tipperary before his family moved back to England when he was six and a half. He lived in many parts of the south-east, including Brighton and London. Drawn to the punk music scene, he formed the folk-punk band the […]

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#OTD in 2000 – A boating accident in Mexico claims the life of singer Kirsty MacColl.

‘The full details of Kirsty’s injuries are too awful for me to describe. Apparently the paramedic threw up on arriving at the scene. But two boys have to live with those last memories of their mother for the rest of their lives.’ –Jean MacColl Kirsty MacColl, well-known female recording artist, was scuba diving in Mexico […]

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