ROCKTOBER Episode 3: Over the Hills and Far away-Gary Moore

“Over the Hills and Far Away” is a song by Northern Irish musician Gary Moore, released in December 1986 by 10 Records as the first single from his sixth solo album Wild Frontier. The song peaked at number 20 on the UK Singles Chart,[but was most successful in the Nordic countries, topping the charts in Finland and Norway.

The song features The Chieftains, who also appear in the video.Moore performed the song with the group at the TV show celebrating their 25th anniversary in 1988.

If anyone thinks the Chieftains are rigid in their attitudes, a look at the list of people with whom they have recorded (Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Art Garfunkel, Dan Fogelberg, Mike Oldfield) or jammed (Jerry Garcia, Eric Clapton, Jackson Browne) should put that notion to rest.

They have recently finished a single with Canada’s rising rock group Glass Tiger, and Moloney chuckles when he talks about another collaboration, with Irish rock guitarist Gary Moore, a platinum seller in Europe. “ ‘Over the Hills and Far Away’ was the single, the video for which, incidentally, they dressed me up in black leather. I looked like Napoleon gone wrong.” Paddy Moloney said.


I heard the news today, old boy-The story behind Beatles’ “a Day in the life”


“I heard the news today, old boy”. That must be the best start to any song. The song ‘a day in the life’ by the Beatles is not just a random set of words strung together, it actually has a back story which in a way links to another band, the Chieftains.


According to Lennon, the inspiration for the first two verses was the death of Tara Browne, the 21-year-old heir to the Guinness fortune who had crashed his Lotus Elan on 18 December 1966 in Redcliffe Gardens, Earl’s Court. Browne had been a friend of Lennon and McCartney,and had, earlier in 1966, instigated McCartney’s first experience with LSD.Lennon adapted the song’s verse lyrics from a story in the 17 January 1967 edition of the Daily Mail, which reported the ruling on a custody action over Browne’s two young children.

“He blew his mind out in a car
He didn’t notice that the lights had changed
A crowd of people stood and stared
They’d seen his face before
Nobody was really sure
If he was from the House of Lords”

Car Crash Tara Browne.jpg

Lennon said. “Tara didn’t blow his mind out, but it was in my mind when I was writing that verse. The details of the accident in the song—not noticing traffic lights and a crowd forming at the scene—were similarly part of the fiction

It was over a custody battle between his mother, Oonagh, and his estranged wife, Nikki, over their young children. That custody battle made the headlines in a newspaper which was picked up by John Lennon when he and the band were writing songs for their forthcoming classic, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Realising he actually knew Tara Browne, the deceased Irishman in question, he sat down at the piano, took pen to paper, and the rest is history.

Lennon said “I noticed two stories. One was about the Guinness heir who killed himself in a car. That was the main headline story,” he recalled in a 1980 interview with Playboy. “On the next page was a story about 4,000 potholes in the streets of Blackburn, Lancashire, that needed to be filled.” While the holes were delightfully absurd, Browne’s accident hit chillingly close to home. He was a familiar face in the Beatles’ social circle, and one of Swinging London’s first famous fatalities.

One of Tara’s older brothers was  Garech Browne, an enthusiast of traditional Irish music and a founder of the music group The Chieftains.

Tare Browne was the son of The 4th Baron Oranmore and Browne, an Anglo-Irish peer and a member of the House of Lords ; and Oonagh Guinness.

Finishing with that famous song




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