Henry McCullough

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Henry McCullough, 2008

Henry Campbell Liken McCullough (born July 21, 1943 in Portstewart , County Derry , Northern Ireland , † June 14, 2016 in Ballywindelland , County Antrim , Northern Ireland) was a Northern Irish guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is best known for his work as a member of Spooky Tooth , Paul McCartney & Wings , The Grease Band and Sweeney's Men . In addition, he also appeared with performances and recordings as a solo artist and as a studio musician.



McCullough first drew attention in the early 1960s as a teenage lead guitarist with the Enniskillen show band The Skyrockets . In 1964 he and three other members of the band left the Skyrockets and founded a new show band with South Africa-born Gene Chetty as the singer, for which they chose the name Gene and the Gents.

In 1967 McCullough moved to Belfast , where he teamed up with Chris Stewart (bass), Ernie Graham (vocals) and Dave Lutton (drums) to form the psychedelic band The People. That same year, the band moved to London, where they signed Chas Chandler's management and changed the group's name to Éire Apparent. Under Chandler's leadership, they released a single and toured with groups like Pink Floyd , Soft Machine , The Move and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, as well as Eric Burdon and the Animals . Everything seemed to be going well until mid-February 1968, while the band toured Canada with Animals, McCullough left Vancouver and returned to the UK - officially due to visa problems - and Mick Cox left for the band to replace him instead. Back in Ireland, McCullough joined a primarily folk-oriented band called Sweeney's Men in May 1968. Under his influence, they began to combine folk and rock; the band is seen as an early pioneer of folk rock .


After a year in Ireland, McCullough returned to London to work with Joe Cocker in his backing band The Grease Band. He toured the United States with Cocker, where they also performed at the Woodstock Festival . After Cocker's departure he played with The Grease Band on their album of the same name. At the same time he also appeared as lead guitarist in Andrew Lloyd Webber's and Tim Rice's rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar (1970) and on the progressive Spooky Tooth album The Last Puff (1970).

In 1971 McCullough was invited by Paul McCartney to join his newly formed band Wings alongside Denny Laine and Denny Seiwell. His guitar solo in the piece My Love received particular attention , and Paul McCartney also highlighted it again in his obituary. Differences in musical conceptions, however, led to the break with McCartney, so that McCullough left the band shortly before the recordings for the album Band on the Run . During the two years of his membership he had played the lead guitar on hits Hi, Hi, Hi , Live and Let Die and My Love .

McCullough's words, “I don't know; I was really drunk at the time ”(German:“ I don't know; I was totally drunk at the time ” ) can be heard on the Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), at the end of the song Money . He had uttered it while recalling an argument he had had with his wife the previous evening.

In 1975 McCullough joined the Frankie Miller Band , along with Chris Stewart, keyboardist Mick Weaver and drummer Stu Perry. Together with Miller they recorded the album The Rock . A track from that album, Ain't Got No Money , inspired Bob Seger to write and record the song The Fire Down Below . Later that year McCullough released the solo album Mind Your Own Business on George Harrison's record label Dark Horse .

As a session musician , McCullough has performed in concerts by Roy Harper , Frankie Miller, Eric Burdon, Marianne Faithfull , Ronnie Lane and Donovan . In 1977 he was temporarily a member of Dr. Feelgood after Wilko Johnson left the band.


During a visit to his family in Ireland in 1980, where McCullogh was recovering from a hand injury, he decided to stay in Ireland. He played regularly with his old friends The Fleadh Cowboys at their performances at the Lower Deck Pub in Dublin. Then he returned to Portstewart and put together a new band. He was joined by Percy Robinson on pedal steel guitar , Roe Butcher on bass and Liam Bradley on drums.


In 1998 McCullough traveled to Poland, where he rehearsed for a tour with a band of Polish musicians. After the tour they recorded an album which was released under the title Blue Sunset . Another tour of Poland followed. Back home, McCullough recorded Failed Christian , which was later covered by Nick Lowe on his Dig My Mood album .


McCullough continued recording and performing, and released solo material including the albums Belfast to Boston (2001) and Unfinished Business (2003). The latter also included his 1998 single Failed Christian . McCullough played at events in Northern Ireland and Scotland, supported by a backing band (with Stephen Quinn on drums and Sean McCarron on saxophone).

For the 2003 released album When a Wrong Turns Right by the Alaskan musician Rev. Neil Down, he played guitar and put the band together. 2007 Mundell Music released The Henry McCullough Band - FBI Live album, a 2006 recording of a concert at The Famous Bein Inn pub.

In 2007 the American folk band Over the Rhine covered the piece Failed Christian on their album Live from Nowhere, Vol. II . That same year, McCullough began working with Dave Sharp (of The Alarm ). Together with keyboard player Zoot Money, bassist Gary Fletcher and drummer Colin Allen they formed the group The Hard Travelers. In January 2008 the band made their debut with a performance at The Cellars in Portsmouth .

In 2008 McCullough recorded Poor Man's Moon at Amberville Studios , an album with new McCullough compositions, which was released on September 5, 2008 exclusively in Ireland. McCullough wrote some of the pieces on it with the poet and drummer for the band Horslips , Eamon Carr. Also included is the single Too Late to Worry . Musicians who contributed to the album were keyboard player James Delaney, bassists Roe Butcher and Nicky Scott (the latter also on double bass), keyboard player Enda Walsh, drummer Adie McIlduff and Percy Robinson on dobro and pedal steel guitar. The album also includes drum sequences by Peter McKinney.

In late 2007 McCullough worked with Jeff Greene and other partners on the album Dark Nite of the Soul , which was recorded at Wind-Mill Lane Studios in Dublin, Metropolis Studios in London and The Sound Kitchen in Nashville . At Paul McCartney's concert on December 20, 2009 at The O2 in Dublin, McCullough was there when McCartney publicly acknowledged McCullough's contribution to the Wings. On March 13, 2010 McCullough and his band opened the Fifestock Festival at The Inn in Lathones, Scotland.


McCullough remained active in the European music scene and played regularly at concerts with artists such as Ed Deane, James Delaney, Noel Bridgeman and John Quearney. In 2011 McCullough worked with songwriter Paul Doherty and his band The Vals on Look to the One . The song, to which McCullough added background vocals and guitar playing, was heard on radio worldwide.

In November 2012, McCullough suffered a heart attack ; his condition remained critical. On November 7, 2012, Ronan Collins mistakenly announced on a broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 that McCullough was dead. The BBC also apologized after rashly reporting his death. In an interview with Something Else website, Denny Seiwell, who played with McCullough for the Wings, said McCullough's full recovery was unlikely.

On March 17, 2015, a benefit concert for Henry McCullough took place in the pub The Half Moon in Putney, in which Paul Carrack , Debbie McGee, Nick Lowe, The Krankies, Andy Fairweather Low , Suggs and Bobby Tench took part. The latter was also part of the backing band, Henry's Heroes. Other contributors to this band were Tim Hinkley, Steve Simpson, Mel Collins , Neil Hubbard, John Halsey and bassist Kuma Harada.

On June 14, 2016, his wife Josie confirmed that Henry McCullough had passed away early that morning.


Solo albums
  • Mind Your Own Business (1975)
  • All Shook Up (1982) maxi single
  • Hell of a Record (May 1984)
  • Cut (1987)
  • Get in the Hole (1989) recorded live
  • Blue Sunset (1998)
  • Belfast to Boston (2001)
  • Unfinished Business (2002)
  • The Henry McCullough Band: FBI Live (2007)
  • Poor Man's Moon (2008)
  • Shabby Road (2012)
Participation in other albums
Participation in singles
  • Gene and The Gents - Puppet on a String / Sweet Little Sixteen (1965)
  • Éire Apparent - Follow Me / Here I Go Again (1968)
  • Wings - Hi, Hi, Hi / C Moon (1972)
  • Wings - Mary Had a Little Lamb / Little Woman Love (1972)
  • Wings - Give Ireland Back to the Irish (1972)
  • Wings - Helen Wheels / Country Dreamer (1973) B-side only
  • Wings - Live and Let Die / I Lie Around (1973)
  • Wings - My Love / The Mess (Live at The Hague) (1973)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. irishtimes.com: McCartney pays tribute as Irish guitarist Henry McCullough dies . Retrieved June 17, 2016.
  2. belfasttelegraph.co.uk: Beatle Paul McCartney pays tribute to former Wings guitarist and Northern Ireland music legend Henry McCullough who has died . Retrieved June 17, 2016.
  3. Ross Hannan and Corry Arnold: Eric Burdon and The Animals
  4. Daragh O'Halloran: Green Beat: The Forgotten Era of Irish Rock , Brehon Press 2006.
  5. a b c Eder, Bruce: Henry McCullough Biography . allmusic.com. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  6. Paul McCartney Reacts to Death of Wings Guitarist Henry McCullough . www.billboard.com. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  7. Rock: Henry McCullough . bbc.co.uk. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  8. Chris Willman: Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side': 40 Years Later, 40 Mind-Blowing Facts About The Mad Classic . In: Stop the Presses! . Yahoo. Retrieved March 11, 2013.
  9. Tony Moon: Down by the Jetty - The Dr Feelgood Story , 2nd. Edition, Northdown Publishing Ltd., Borden, Hants 2002, ISBN 1-900711-15-X , p. 60.
  10. Erlewin, steven, Thomas: Nick Lowe. Dig my mood . allmusic.com. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  11. ^ The Henry McCullough Interview (2012) .
  12. The Fifestock Festival 2010 . list.co.uk. February 17, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
  13. Discography . thevals.co.uk. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  14. ^ Wings guitarist Henry McCullough critically ill , BBC News. Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  15. BBC apologises after announcing death of guitarist , Donegal Daily. Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  16. ^ Henry McCullough Brain Damage: Ex-Wings Guitarist in Bad Condition After Heart Attack , AOL Music. Archived from the original on February 8, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  17. Kielty, Martin: Henry McCullough. Help at the Half Moon . classicrock.teamrock.com. February 20, 2015. Archived from the original on March 26, 2015. Retrieved on March 19, 2015.
  18. Henry's Heroes . geronimo-inns.co.uk. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  19. ^ Cooper, Kevin: In support of Henry McCullough, Henry's Heroes announce concert . ukmusicreviews.co.uk. February 20, 2015. Archived from the original on March 17, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  20. ^ Former Wings guitarist and Northern Ireland music legend Henry McCullough dies . In: Belfast Telegraph . Retrieved June 14, 2016. 
  21. ^ Henry McCullough credits . allmusic.com. Retrieved February 26, 2015.