The Rock’n’Roll Diaries

As he heads to The Whale for Mother’s Day, Paul Harrington charts his rock’n’roll roots…

For many a musician, winning the Eurovision Song Contest is simply a ticket to ride the gravy train.
Just sit back and keep hitting the nostalgia trail.

When Paul Harrington joined Charlie McGettigan on the Eurovision winner’s podium in 1994 with Rock’n’Roll Kids, this Dublin musician was already thinking about the next song, the next album, the next project.

That he had already tasted success with his Top 10 1991 album What I’d Say meant Harrington knew there was more to a career than just the one big hit. Becoming the in-house musician at Lillie’s Bordello in Dublin – and performing for the likes of The Rolling Stones, Prince and, hey, Bono & The U2s – may have been good for the soul and the parties, but the need for new musical kicks was always there.

Reconnecting with old friend Michael Flatley sparked a world tour with the latter’s Celtic Tiger Live before Paul hooked up with his biggest musical influence to form The Harrington Brothers for a one-off recording. All the while, celebrating classic songs has been a part of the lad’s live shows and albums, leading to five years on The Pat Kenny Show every Tuesday morning with The Lyric’s The Thing.

And that’s the show Paul Harrington is bringing to The Whale on Sunday, March 19th at 6pm. The perfect gig for Mother’s Day…

To mark the big occasion, we decided to find out where the rock’n’roll came from…

I know it’s a cliché, that to do a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life, but it’s kinda true.
You do still have to work at what you do ,but there is a joy in it like no other.

I have been fortunate enough to have been doing just that, more or less, for the last 45 years, and doing it for a living for probably 30 of those years. It hasn’t all been plain sailing, but I have enjoyed it, and I’m always aware that it’s such a privilege.
The truth is I’m probably enjoying it more than ever, particularly during my current performances of The Lyrics the Thing, the live show that developed from the weekly radio slot on Pat Kenny’s radio programme.

I was lucky being the youngest in a family of six people who all had a strong interest in music. My older brothers played live music weekly, which mean there were also lots of lively music parties in our home. Another brother worked in radio which gave me a different influence and music perspective; he was the one who probably encouraged me most to start recording songs – which thankfully, I have done quite extensively over the years.

And just above me age-wise, my sister to whom I am eternally grateful. If it wasn’t for her having to have a piano in the house to practice music pieces, I may never have played, and may have been doing something entirely different for a living.
Songs that, not necessarily shaped me or defined my musical direction, however playing piano and singing starting out in the 70s it was hard not to be influenced by Elton John and of course Billy Joel.

https://whaletheatre.ie/Starting out in the ’70s playing piano and singing, it was hard not to be influenced by the likes of Elton John and Billy Joel, but the reality is, probably the main influences and musical influences on me were my family as all of my older brothers played music – during the ’60s ballad boom and beyond.

Also, long before I had my own money, I had their record collections to be inspired by…

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