Have you ever wished there was a Dave Fanning Session archive? Or that RTE would do something similar to BBC with their Strange Fruit Records releases? A comprehensive list of all sessions recorded and when would be a start. While we wait for the powers that be to come to their senses I’m going to kick-start a grass roots project by posting a few sessions and demos that I recorded in the mid-eighties from the Dave Fanning nightly show. The quality of these recording is by no means great so be prepared for glitches, hiss and a few other wierd noises. If you have any sessions you’d like to share I’d love to hear from you or if you want to start your own site I’ll gladly give you a plug. If you have old cassettes that you are about to throw out let me know and I’ll take them off your hands.. I’m interested in sessions, interviews, music TV shows, anything to do with irish rock music from the 80s on.
When RTÉ Radio 2, Ireland’s first pop music station, was launched in the summer of 1979, Dave Fanning’s midnight slot came to be regarded as the Irish equivalent of the Peel show. Chief among its innovations was the Fanning Sessions, overseen by Ian Wilson, whereby a fledgling band was given the opportunity to record four tracks which were aired at least twice, thus granting valuable national exposure, not to mention a few quid and a free lunch in the RTÉ canteen. U2 were the first band to record a session, and allowed the show’s listeners to choose the A-side for their first single. Other notables to avail of the service included The Cranberries, Hothouse Flowers, Therapy? and JJ72.
And finally here’s what RTE themselves say:
But perhaps one of the most significant contributions made by RTÉ Radio 2fm to the development of popular music in Ireland was the unstinting support which the station has always given to new and emerging artists and musicians. Most of this “support” has been provided – over the years – through the so-called ‘Dave Fanning Sessions’ whereby new bands have been given the opportunity to perform their work in specially-arranged recording sessions which are then broadcast across national radio. Many of the tracks which were first set-down during such sessions were incorporated, subsequently, into top-selling albums.
There are those who would say that without Dave Fanning’s live sessions, U2 would never have even started. Nearly every Irish band has sampled the coffee in studio 8 and some of them have even survived it. That’s where many of them got their start. In recent times, for instance, Dave and his production crew have given support to JJ72, a group which first came to light when Mark Greaney (lead vocalist) submitted a tape to Dave Fanning. An immediate invitation to perform a “Fanning Session” followed. After that, Irish label Lakota picked up the band and the rest is but another modern fairytale.
Bio on Dave’s management website