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Horslips (1970-1980)

Photo Gallery - Band Lineups - Discography - Audio samples - Where Are They Now?

The Story

The first mention of Horslips we could find is a photo in Pat Egan's Group Scene column in the October 16, 1970 issue of Spotlight. The band was described as "new rock-orientated group" that had come together to write the music for a commercial and the musical scores for two documentaries. The photo of the band shows them as a five piece and the original lineup was: Jim Lockhart (keyboards, recorder, tin whistle), Barry Devlin (guitar), Charles O'Connor (lead guitar, violin and mandolin), Gene Mulvaney (bass) and "Pete" Carr on drums (we are sure this was Eamonn Carr). Eamonn had just a few months earlier been part of Tara Telephone. Although we can not be sure exactly when, Declan Sinnott was soon added to the lineup on lead guitar, making the band a six piece, and allowing Charles to focus on fiddle and mandolin. 

A few months later, a small article in the March, 1971 edition of Spotlight magazine featured the headline, "RTE Series for 'unknown' group." The group, described as "practically unknown" was an inauspicious start for the band that would single handedly create a musical genre - Celtic rock. The TV show was Fonn and the legend of Horslips was born. By the time the article appeared, the band had already written the theme music for two Bord Failte documentaries and the Music for the theatrical production of The Tain. As the photos in our gallery show, Gene would never enjoy the fame of being in the band as he was already gone within a year and Barry Devlin had taken up the bass.

In March, 1972, the band announced they were setting up their own company, Oats Records which would handle all their record releases and publicity. Although in later years this would become the only way some smaller bands could release records, at the time it was an unusual move for a band in Ireland. In the same month, they released their first single, Johnny's Wedding which shot up the Irish Charts, peaking at number 10. However, their follow up, Green Gravel, was less enthusiastically received and only barely made the charts, squeaking in at number 20 for one week. In mid-1972, Declan Sinnott, who today tours with Christy Moore, left the band and was replaced by Gus Guest on guitar, however, Gus would not stay very long. Declan would soon form his own band. Gandydancer, but this band folded after a short time.

In late September, 1972, 21-year-old guitarist Johnny Fean joined the band and first appeared with them at the Stadium in Dublin. He was also just in time to take part in the recording of their first album, Happy To Meet, Sorry To Part. Johnny had previously played with the band, Jeremiah Henry. The album, recorded using the Rolling Stone Mobile studio, was heralded as a triumph and introduced the world to the concept of Celtic Rock music. Eight of the 14 tracks on the album were instrumentals. In early 1973, they released Dearg Doom which has remained one of their most popular songs, even though it was not the most successful of their releases (peaking at Number 8). 

More to come......   

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Horslips - 1970

Horslips - 1971

Horslips - 1971

Horslips - 1971

Horslips - 1971
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Horslips - 1972 (DL)

Horslips - 1972
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Horslips - 1972

Horslips - 1972

Horslips - 1972 Horslips - 1972 Horslips - 1972 (LR)

Horslips - 1972 Horslips - 1972 Horslips - 1973 Horslips - 1973 Horslips - 1973
Horslips - 1973 Horslips - 1973 (LR) Horslips Live Horslips - 1973 Horslips - 1973
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Horslips - 1973 Horslips - 1973 Horslips - 1973 Horslips - 1973 Horslips - 1973
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Horslips Live Horslips - 1974 Horslips - 1974 Horslips - 1974 Horslips - 1974

Horslips - 1974 Horslips - 1974 Horslips - 1974 Horslips - 1974 Horslips - 1974

Horslips - 1974 Horslips - 1975 Horslips - 1975 Horslips - 1975 Horslips - 1975

Horslips - 1975 Horslips - 1975 Horslips - 1975

Horslips

Horslips (BK)

 

Horslips - 1980 (DD)

Horslips

Zen Alligators Charles O'Connor - 1972 Coming Soon
   

 

   
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Years Guitar Bass Guitar Violin/Mandolin Drums Keyboards
1970   Gene
Mulvanney
Barry
Devlin
Charles
O'Connor
Eamonn
Carr
Jim
Lockhart
1971 Declan
Sinnott
Gene
Mulvanney
Barry
Devlin
Charles
O'Connor
Eamonn
Carr
Jim
Lockhart
1971 Declan
Sinnott
Barry
Devlin
  Charles
O'Connor
Eamonn
Carr
Jim
Lockhart
1972 Gus
Guest
Barry
Devlin
  Charles
O'Connor
Eamonn
Carr
Jim
Lockhart
Sept,
1972
Johnny
Fean
Barry
Devlin
  Charles
O'Connor
Eamonn
Carr
Jim
Lockhart

Discography (Incomplete)

Singles:

Johnny's Wedding / Flower Among Them All - #10 Irish Charts
Oats Records - MOO 1 - March, 1972
Green Gravel / Fairy King - #20 Irish Charts
Oats Records - MOO 2 - August, 1972
Dearg Doom / The High Reel - #8 Irish Charts
Oats Records - MOO 4 - May, 1973
King Of The Fairies / Phil The Fluter's Rag - #7 Irish Charts
Oats Records - MOO 6 - May, 1973
Daybreak / Oisin's Tune - #2 Irish Charts
Oats Records - MOO 11 - July, 1976
Exiles / Sure The Boy Was Green - #9 Irish Charts
Oats Records - MOO 15 - November, 1977
Tour A Loor A Loor EP (Sure The Boy Was Green / Red River Rock (live) / Trouble (With A Capital T) / Bridge From Heart To Heart)- #9 Irish Charts
Oats Records - MOO 16 - September, 1978
Guests Of The Nation / When Night Comes - #8 Irish Charts
Horslips Records - MOO 18 - November, 1979
Shakin' All Over (live) / Sword of Light (live)
Horslips Records - MOO 21 - 1980

Albums:

Happy To Meet, Sorry To Part
Oats Records - MOO 3 - 1972
The Tain
Oats Records - MOO 5 - 1973
Dancehall Sweethearts
Oats Records - MOO 7 - 1974
The Unfortunate Cup of Tea
Oats Records - MOO 8 - May, 1975
Drive The Cold Winter Away
Horslips Records - MOO 9 - Late 1975
Horslips Live
Horslips Records - MOO 10 - 1976
Book of Invasions
Horslips Records - MOO 12 - 1976
Aliens
Horslips Records - MOO 14 - May, 1978
The Man Who Built America
Horslips Records - MOO 17 - April, 1979
Short Stories Tall Tales
Horslips Records - MOO 19 - 1979
The Belfast Gigs
Horslips Records - MOO 20 - 1980

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?   (More to come)

Declan Sinnott: Declan has had a long and illustrious career both at home in Ireland and abroad and is one of the country's best known guitarists. He has played with a wide variety of Irish and International artists. For the past few years he has been regularly appearing with Christy Moore on tour as a two piece. 
Gene Mulvanney: Unknown
Charles O'Connor:
Barry Devlin:
Jim Lockhart:
Eamonn Carr:
Johnny Fean: After leaving the band, Johnny formed the Zen Alligators. In recent years he had been playing with Steven Travers of the Miami as Travers and Fean. Initially a two piece using a drum machine, the boys added a drummer in 2007. At the end of 2008, both Johnny and Steven joined up with the reincarnated Miami Showband which toured Ireland. In early 2009, Johnny left the band and was replaced by former Plattermen guitarist, Alan McCarthy. He is now playing with the reformed Horslips and with his own band. 
Gus Guest:

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In Loving Memory of Grant Gallagher: Sept. 21, 1990 - Nov. 18, 2006