101 Irish Records You Must Hear Before You Die

Irish Times journalist Tony Clayton-Lea is set to publish a book that is sure to interest readers of this blog. Titled ‘101 Irish Records (You Must Hear Before You Die)‘ it promises to:

“document and highlight the great, the good, the forgotten, the lost and the hardly-ever-listened-to of Irish music over the past fifty years”

As details emerge we will update this post but for now we await the end of November with anticipation. The book will be published on 29th November by Liberties Press .

Tony is an alumnus of Hot Press magazine and has published 5 novels including ‘Irish Rock: Where It’s Come from – Where It’s at – Where It’s Going’ with Richie Taylor. In the 18th Dec 1986 issue of Hot Press Tony listed some of his highlights of that year:

1986 was an excellent year for Irish bands. Single released were aplenty, but the ones that took my fancy included Brush Shiels’ elegaic ‘Old Pal’, Dorian Mood’s ‘It’s A Funny Thing’, and Something Happens!’ debut EP ‘Two Chances’, which also happened to feature my favourite song released by an Irish group in 1986 ‘Shoulder High’. Something Happens! Will sin a major in 1987. Remember where you read it first).

On the live front, performances from The Golden Horde, A House, Blue In Heaven, and Something Happens! (again!) roused a weary body into something resembling motion. More reflective sets from Mary Coughlan and Flex And The Fastweather roused a weary mind into something even more urgently resembling thinking.

Read a 1981 Tony Clayton-Lea Hot Press interview with Stiff Little Fingers Jake Burns and manager Gordon Ogilvie ‘The Odd Couple‘.

7 Responses to “101 Irish Records You Must Hear Before You Die”

  1. One Christmas present to myself sorted !

  2. Fanning Sessions Says:


  3. Hi Fanning Sessions! Caroline from Liberties Press here; can you drop me a line – caroline (at) libertiespress (dot) com and I’ll send you PR and launch invite. Thanks, Caroline

  4. john dundon Says:

    sounds like a fab book , was recently looking at my copy of the book that Tony did with Ritchie and also have his one with Irish Rock quotes ,

  5. This book sounds like a load of crap. I’d say it was astruggle to find 101 Irish bands to put on this list. This is just a load of populist bullshit to be honest. I mean why are Something Happens on this list? They are not good. These kind of books make me sick, another accolade for U2 oh and we’ll mention Van Morrison and The Villagers as well. I mean seriously how long did it take to compile this nonsense. Ugh…………..

  6. Fanning Sessions Says:

    Interesting background piece by author in today’s Irish Times:

    In the process of writing 101 Irish Records You Must Listen to Before You Die , I spoke to and e-mailed virtually all the artists in the book to ask about their albums.

    Some were surprised that I was writing about them. It was so long since they last listened to them, they said, that could barely recall it. Others, such as Terry Sharpe of the Belfast punk band Starjets, were delighted by the attention for a record they toiled over for so long and had been forgotten about by so many. Even people whose names are quite well known asked, “Why that particular album?”

    “I can’t really remember much about Stars of Heaven,” the songwriter Stephen Ryan says about his band, one of the most fondly recalled Irish groups of the 1980s. “I haven’t heard those songs in about 25 years.” What does he remember? “We had a lot more fun recording stuff when we knew in our hearts the band was doomed.”


  7. pimpmyipod Says:

    I wrote a review of this book for the website wearenoise.com(link below). Tony Clayton-Lea’s response to the general critical reaction to the book is included in the comments.

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