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Artist Website: www.horslipsrecords.com
Horslips were a brilliantly original group who in the 1970s combined hard rock with traditional Irish music in a way that had never been done before to create some of the greatest music that ever came out of Ireland. They were very successful in Ireland itself where they topped the charts and toured relentlessly across the width and breadth of the country playing in small towns and countryside dancehalls that had never witnessed an original rock band before. Although they were the first major rock band to keep their base in Ireland and paved the way for the likes of U2 to follow, the unfortunate thing is that they remained relatively obscure outside the country.
Horslips were formed in 1970 by Eamon Carr, Charles O'Connor, Barry Devlin, Jim Lockhart along with guitarist Declan Sinnot who was later replaced by Johnny Fean. They formed their own record label, Oats, and their first single, "Johnny's Wedding", went to the top of the Irish charts in 1972. In 1973 they released their debut album "Happy To Meet, Sorry To Part" which they recorded in the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio. This album showcased their diverse range and contained tracks of many different styles including rock mixed with traditional, pure traditional, folk and progressive hard rock. They also showed their love of Irish culture by singing some of the songs in the Irish language. Later in the same year they released a concept album based on Irish mythology, "The Táin", which was a harder rocking album that defined their Irish traditional infused brand of hard rock. "Dancehall Sweethearts" followed in 1974 and the traditional aspect of the bands music was starting to take a back seat by the time of their fouth album, "The Unfortunate Cup Of Tea" in 1975. However, that same year Horslips provided fans of the more traditional music with a Christmas gift in the form of their mostly straight traditional instrumental album "Drive the Cold Winter Away". They followed this album in 1977 with another celtic rock masterpiece of a concept album, "The Book Of Invasions". The remaining studio albums of their decade long career were to be less inspired, drifting away from the celtic rock sound that they pioneered towards more mainstream rock. In 1980 they released their classic live album "Belfast Gigs" which featured many of their classics at full throttle and they disbanded shortly after.
In the 1990s Horslips were back in the news again when they were involved in a multi-yearlong legal battle with Belfast based Outlet Records for copyright ownership of their music. Jim Slye, who was Horslips' manager from 1977 until they split in 1981, had sold the rights to their back-catalogue for 4,250 in the year following their split without the knowledge of any of the band members. In 1999 Horslips finally won their case against Outlet and a settlement for years of lost income from their works and subsequently their entire catalogue was remastered and re-issued.
In March 2004 Horslips reunited to perform at an exhibition of Horslips memorabilia in Derry. Later that year they recorded and released the album "Roll Back" which contains acoustic reworkings of some of the classics from their heyday. Since then Horslips have reunited for a few special TV appearances. The band made their first TV performance since their reunion on 'The Late Late Show' on RTE television in January 2005. The next performance by the band was a set recorded live in Dingle, Co. Kerry, for the RTÉ television program 'Other Voices' in December 2005. On March 25 2006 Horslips performed on a tribute show recorded and broadcast live on the Irish language TV station TG4.
Jim Lockhart - flute, tin whistle, keyboards, harpsichord, vocals
Charles O'Connor - concertina, mandolin, fiddle, vocals
Barry Devlin - bass, vocals
Eamon Carr - drums, bodhran, vocals
Johnny Fean - guitar, banjo, mandolin, vocals
(Johnny Fean replaced original member Declan Sinnott in 1972)
STAMP OF APPROVAL
A series of stamps were released in 2002 by An Post celebrating the biggest names in Irish Rock.
However they missed the opportunity to honour one of the most legendry bands in the history of Irish rock - Horslips! So IrishRockers.com has created the Horslips stamp: