Back in 2005, the late Larry Gogan invited Alan Corr into his home in Templeogue to check out the great man's favourite albums. Following the sad passing of Larry, we revisit the piece, which was first published in the RTÉ Guide
It is only to be expected that Larry Gogan "does" vinyl. In a world gone mad for mp3s and downloads, the man who’s kept good music on radio for over forty years enters his living room in south Dublin with a pile of big, round shiny black discs.
His top 10 albums of all time are predominately Irish - so no surprises there. "I don’t understand why younger DJs don’t play more Irish music," he says.
"They seem to be slaves to the British charts for some reason. If it's good, play it. There’s loads of Irish rubbish out there but there’s loads of British and American rubbish as well."
Forty years in the business is a lot of vinyl and Larry’s has had to part with a lot of his albums - there’s only so much seventies prog rock one man’s garage can hold. "I only kept Elvis and Bowie and The Beatles and some of the Irish bands," he says.
"It’s difficult to part with them but what do you do with all the CDs now? Hahahaha."
The Man who Built America
Horslips Records, 1978
"RnG wouldn't take me, hahahaha, because I wasn’t speaking Irish."
When they came out in 1972 it was something completely different. Putting the Celtic thing into pop, which was the first time it was ever done. At the time this album came out, I was still doing discos and Dearg Doom was the one they still wanted. Some people weren’t overly impressed with Horslips doing trad and pop. I actually appeared with them on stage on New Year’s Eve on a broadcast from Red Island in Skerries. It was going out on Radio 1 and also RnG and RnG wouldn’t take me, hahahaha, because I wasn’t speaking Irish."
The Last Man in Europe
Reekus Records, 1984
"They should have been as big as U2.".
The Blades, I think, should have become international but they missed out somewhere. Why, I don’t know. The albums they had were brilliant and Paul Cleary was a great songwriter. They should have been as big as U2. They had it, they had it in the songs, they had it in the playing. Never understood why they never broke through. I played this a lot on the radio. They released two albums on a double CD recently.
The Joshua Tree
Island Records, 1987
"Dave (Fanning) was doing this thing with them a few years ago and it went around the world and Larry came in and said, "No, I just want to do the Larry Gogan Show". Hahahaha!"
This is my favourite album of all time. I was always a great U2 fan. It's their best album. I interviewed them on the CBS programme years ago and Bono wasn’t there, he had the flu, or something like that. The interview was for their very first record. Larry, to give him his due, always comes on my show. Dave (Fanning) was doing this thing with them a few years ago and it went around the world and Larry came in and said, "No, I just want to do the Larry Gogan Show". Hahahaha. He always comes on, he did an interview with me a few weeks ago for their new album. Just him and it went all over America, online and all that. I’ve never met Bono, and I’ve met the other two briefly, but Larry is a good guy."
Warners Bros, 1970
"I never met Van but they say he's kinda grumpy. That may be so, but he’s a brilliant singer."
I remember Van in Them and they did an article in, would you believe, the Daily Express in England about the Irish DJ (that'd be Larry) and his tips for the top and one of them was Them. That was a long time ago! Moondance is a bit of a hippy album and people don't believe this, but I used to have long hair down to here (Larry indicates shoulder-length tresses)! This album still stands up today. I never met Van but they say he’s kinda grumpy. That may be so, but he’s a brilliant singer and I still think his stuff is great now. I was a couple of years on the radio when this came out and it’s a great radio album.
Against The Grain
"I was very fond of Rory, I knew Rory. His death was a terrible tragedy for me."
I was very fond of Rory, I knew Rory. His death was a terrible tragedy for me. He was a brilliant guitarist, absolutely brilliant. I don't think there's anyone to touch him. They did a thing on the Bibi Baskin show years ago about me - I don’t like those things, hahahaha and Rory was on it because he said I was one of the first people to play him on radio and he always remembered that. He was a very shy man, very shy. He was marvelous on stage but he was a nice gentle kind of fella. I was very shocked when he died.
"The women were mad about Phil. Nobody would believe he was Irish so he used to say (Larry adopts flat Dublin accent) 'I come from Cork and I got burnt.'"
Phil I knew, too. He used to go to the Television Club ('hip' venue in 70s Dublin) on a Monday night. All these bands used to be off because it was a Monday and I used to write for Spotlight magazine and I used to introduce the bands on stage in the Television Club on a Monday night. I introduced all the showbands - the Dickie Rocks and all that. It’s only now that people are giving Thin Lizzy the respect they deserve. Phil was great fun, great gas. He was asked in Spotlight what his favourite radio programme was and he said Larry Gogan, hahahaha. I thought it was great! The women were mad about him. Nobody would believe he was Irish so he used to say (Larry adopts flat Dublin accent) ‘I come from Cork and I got burnt.’
The All Time Greatest Hits
"What age was I when I first heard Elvis? Don't know . . . we’re back to the age thing again! Hahaha."
They're re-releasing the 18 number ones he had in Britain, one every week. I don’t have a particular favourite but his music just brings me back to a time when I was courtin.’ What age was I when I first heard Elvis? Don’t know . . . we’re back to the age thing again! Hahaha. Marie’s the Name and all those things were my courtin’ songs."
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
"They put out stuff after he became big - I mean, The Laughing Gnome!"
Which one to pick from him is nearly impossible. I like all his stuff. I heard Space Oddity when it came out and from then I was hooked. I thought he was brilliant but he did have a few dodgy ones before he got good. They put out stuff after he became big - I mean, The Laughing Gnome! I wasn't playing a lot of album tracks back then but I’d always try to get a bit of an album track out there and Bowie would definitely be in there.
The Beatles ("The White Album")
"My number on the cover is 006261."
My number on the cover is 006261. I like most of their albums but I think "The White Album" is the one people talk about, isn't it? We used to wait around for their new albums and the singles, too. I used to prefer singles to albums strangely enough. There’s a lot on this, I like Martha My Dear.
"I didn't have a Paul McCartney/John Lennon thing; I liked them both."
When The Beatles broke up, I followed them in their solo careers. I didn't have a Paul McCartney/John Lennon thing; I liked them both. When you play them today they’re still great, still better than anything coming out now. I used to play Mind Games on radio, but I’d play anything that came out. I never saw The Beatles live, no. I was supposed to interview Paul McCartney when he was here a few years ago but it was cancelled at the last minute.
Alan Corr @CorrAlan2
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