Up in that Pantheon inhabited by the biggest selling recording artistes of all time in Ireland, rubbing shoulders with Bono and the Boys, you might be surprised to bump into Phil Coulter. You shouldn’t be!
It’s now twenty years since the distinctive sound of Tranquility, featuring Phil’s piano and orchestra, first seduced the whole of Ireland with its easy melodic charm, before going on to make believers around the world. With record sales now counted in millions, as well as a Grammy nomination, several appearances in the White House and sold out international tours, it’s been quite a ride.
Not that Phil Coulter had been a stranger to success in the music biz prior to that. In the twenty years before Tranquility he had achieved world-wide recognition as a hit songwriter, notching up chart entries with a diverse list of acts from Elvis Presley to Waylon Jennings, from Bobby Vinton to The Bay City Rollers. His production credits include Van Morrison, Sinead O’Connor, Elvis Costello and Richard Harris while in Ireland his successes have ranged from the Dubliners to Planxty, from Paddy Reilly to the Furey Brothers.
He has performed with everyone from James Galway and the London Symphony Orchestra to Nanci Griffith and The Blue Moon Orchestra, not to mention Henry Mancini, Elmer Bernstein and Quincy Jones!
He has contributed at least four titles to the list of Great Irish Songs - the anthems ‘The Town I Loved So Well’ and ‘Ireland’s Call’ and the haunting ‘Scorn Not His Simplicity’ and ‘Steal Away’.