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Rock and Popular Music in Ireland: Before and After U2


Noel McLaughlin; Martin McLoone

Exploring Irish rock music’s relationship to the wider world, this accessible study of popular music applies a focus on popular music to debates traditionally concerned with literature and drama.

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ISBN: 9780716530770 Categories: ,


Accessibly written and well illustrated, this book explores Irish rock music’s relationship to the wider world of international popular music through a detailed analysis of the Ireland’s most prominent artists and bands – U2, Van Morrison, Sinead O’Connor, The Boomtown Rats, and Horslips – along with key musical movements including the Beat Scene, the Folk Revival, Northern Irish Punk, and Dance Music in Ireland.

It brings to the study of popular music the concerns of Irish Studies about national and cultural identity and, at the same time, enriches these debates by applying a focus on popular music culture to debates traditionally concerned with literature and drama.

The book focuses on the significance of music and music in performance, and it analyzes songs and albums, as well as live concerts on television and video/DVD. It presents a wealth of primary research to establish a detailed critical context, such as the music press in Ireland, the UK, and US. The authors have interviewed key industry personnel, artists, and commentators, and their thoughts on Irish rock and pop are particularly interesting to the broader debate.

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations

Part I Before…
Chapter 1: The Emergence of Irish Popular Music – The Beatles; Brendan Bowyer and The Royal Showband; The Clipper Carlton; The Chieftains; Sean O’Riada.
Chapter 2: The Beat Groups: A Tale of Two Cities Them – The Mad Lads; The Wheels; Rory Gallagher; Henry McCullough; Bluesville; Ganny’s Intentions; Dr Strangely Strange; The Johnstons; Sweeney’s Men.
Chapter 3: Folk-Rock-Trad Hybrids – The Chieftains; Mellow Candle; Horslips; Christy Moore; Planxty; The Bothy Band; Moving Hearts; The Pogues; The Corrs.
Chapter 4: Irish Rock Exiles – Van Morrison; Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy; Rory Gallagher and Taste; Gary Moore; The Method; The People; Skid Row; Eire Apparent
Chapter 5: Waking Up the Banana Republic – The Boomtown Rats; The Radiators from Space; The Virgin Prunes; The Undertones; Stiff Little Fingers.

Part II U2
Chapter 6: U2: Irishness and Identity
Chapter 7: U2: Discourse and Performance – U2 early years, Hot Press, Live at Red Rocks
Chapter 8: U2 after ‘U2’ – U2, Achtung Baby, Zoo TV and after

Part III …After
Chapter 9: Crazy Diaspora: Sinéad O’Connor
Chapter 10: Gregory Gray – Perfect Crime; Gregory Gray; Mary Cigarettes
Chapter 11: Non-stop Ecstatic Irish Dancing: Rave and its Legacies – David Holmes; Afro-Celt Sound System; BASIC.
Chapter 12: Cabaret Ireland – Jack L; Duke Special; Camille O’Sullivan; Gavin Friday.

About the Author

Dr Noel McLaughlin is Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at Northumbria University and has written numerous articles on popular music and Irish rock.
Martin McLoone is Professor of Media Studies at the University of Ulster and author of Film, Media and Popular Culture in Ireland (Irish Academic Press, 2008).