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June 2019
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2004-01-13 Thanks for the help Phil

When I am old and grey and nodding by the fire, I know that a few of my family, career and personal memories will remain in the forefront of my hopefully-still-active mind. One of those select career memories will undoubtedly be the honour of having had a song written especially for me by one of the great Irish songwriters of all time.

Some of the younger generation may only know Phil Coulter as an adjudicator on RTE's "You're a star", but Phil has proved himself to be without question one of the most enduring talents in the Irish music industry.

The song "Congratulations" is almost as frequently performed as "Happy Birthday to you!", and along with the Eurovision winner "Puppet on a string", these songs mark some of the early landmarks in Phil's enduring career. 23 Platinum discs, 32 Gold Discs, 51 Silver discs and a Grammy Nomination later, Phil still works every hour God sends.

Labelled "Ireland's Ambassador to Music", Phil has penned songs for the Bay City Rollers, Elvis Presley, The Dubliners, Billy Connolly, James Galway, and more recently The Celtic Tenors. He has produced albums for many artists including Van Morrison (who is responsible for calling him "Cool Filter"), Elvis Costello, Sinťad O'Connor, Ronan Keating and The Celtic Tenors.†

The song he wrote for us is "Remember Me/Recuerdame", and for the song Phil takes the theme of three Irish soldiers serving in the Spanish Civil War, remembering the loved ones they have left behind and wondering if they will ever see them again. With so many servicemen and servicewomen from many countries serving in every corner of the globe, this song will continue to strike a chord (no pun intended) as long as it is performed. This song along with many of his other biographical songs are what makes Phil Coulter's music, in my mind, so enduring.

The personal stamp of his own life is at times painted so clearly as in such songs as "The Old Man" where he shares with us his feelings of bereavement after his dearly loved father passed on, or the description from personal experience of learning to cope with a handicapped child in "Scorn not his simplicity", or the world-famous "The Town I loved so well" which vividly paints a picture of his home town of Derry during the 'Troubles', while at the same time doubling up as a hymn of peace.

Phil Coulter's commercial success, his versatility and longevity was recently highlighted in a BBC TV Special celebrating his 60th birthday.

Last year saw his new series "Coulter and Company" reach top of the ratings, and "You're a star" went into it's second series. Phil is also embarking on another nationwide tour, and his first stop is down the road at the Great Northern Hotel in Bundoran, on Saturday January 31st.

Phil's special guests are "Sweet Charity" from "You're a star" and the legendary Rebecca Storm. The Celtic Tenors were helped hugely at the outset of their career by appearing as special guests in many of Phil's previous shows.

Just before Phil wrote "Remember Me" for us and before he produced our début album, we had been appearing in a long residency at Dublin's Clontarf Castle Hotel ? 136 shows in a row (I know, don't even go there, as they say!). We shared the top-billing for those 5 months with West-End star Rebecca Storm. Singing from the age of 2, Rebecca (originally Elisabeth Roberts) was cast at the age of 23 in the mature role of Mrs Johnstone, the mother of 7 in "Blood Brothers". Rebecca went on to play the leads in "Evita", "Les Miserables", "Piaf", "Cats" and others, and has recorded several albums. She repeated her "Blood Brothers" portrayal at a sell-out run in Dublin's "Gaiety" only last year. Rebecca fell in love with Ireland, and a few years ago she moved here permanently with her partner Kenny Shearer (also a musician and a producer). They live in Naas, County Kildare. Rebecca has one daughter Becky who is also a talented singer/song-writer.

These two enduring stars, Phil Coulter and Rebecca Storm, helped put the Celtic Tenors on their career-path, and are about to embark on a nationwide tour together. Catch them at the Great Northern in Bundoran on the last day of January!