Thursday, 2 July 2015

You'd never see a rocking chair on Saturday night telly these days

And so, farewell to one of the greatest purveyors of the musical genre known as "Easy Listening".

For a quarter of a century - all the way from the Beatles to Madonna - Val Doonican held pride of place on our prime-time Saturday night TV screens. With his comfy jumpers, his "Perry Como-esque" reassuring lightness of touch, and of course his "trademark" rocking chair, he sang classic standards and Irish comic songs with consummate ease, solo or in duets with his myriad range of guests from both sides of the pond.

Such as Rosie Clooney...

Val was incredibly popular in his day, recorded more than 50 albums, and was rarely out of the UK charts in the 60s and 70s. Among his big hits were Walk Tall, Elusive Butterfly, What Would I Be, and this one - Morning:

  • A popular touring musician, his "big break" was in 1963 when he was booked to appear on Sunday Night at the Palladium - which led to the offer of his own television show.
  • Val surprisingly provided Gaelic-influenced backing harmonies for Led Zeppelin's The Battle of Evermore.
  • His 1967 album Val Doonican Rocks, But Gently knocked the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band off the top of the albums chart.
  • Apparently, Val was a member of the fictional "orchestra" backing The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.
  • He only stopped performing in 2009, after six decades in showbiz.

RIP Michael Valentine "Val" Doonican (3rd February 1927 – 1st July 2015)


  1. never ever hoid of him, but i do know matt monroe.

    1. Mr Monroe's voice was fabulous. He, like Saint Tom Jones, could give the greats like Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett a run for their money. Mr Doonican, despite his evident lack of success in the US, was every bit as popular here - but in that mellow style that was the trademark of Andy Williams or Johnny Mathis over the pond. Jx

  2. Another reminder that our two worlds of entertainment are more separate than we realize - I, too, had never heard of him. But isn't he charming with Rosie?

    1. He simply exuded charm, no matter who was the guest - everyone from Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee, Olivia Newton-John, Howard Keel, Nana Mouskouri, Lulu, John Denver, Burl Ives, Glen Campbell, Petula Clark, Crystal Gayle, Ray Charles, Vic Damone, Pat Boone, in fact anyone who was anyone in those days, came to sing with him over the years... Jx

  3. A lovely man and a cultural ambassador for the emerald isle

    1. To be sure, to be sure... Jx


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