Chris de Burgh

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Chris de Burgh
Chrisde33.jpg
Chris de Burgh performing in Cork city, Ireland
Background information
Birth name Christopher John Davison
Born (1948-10-15) 15 October 1948 (age 66)
Venado Tuerto, Santa Fe Province, Argentina
Origin County Wexford, Ireland
Genres Art rock,[1] pop,[1] soft rock[2][3]
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano
Years active 1974–present
Labels A&M Records, Ferryman Productions, Edel Records
Website cdeb.com

Chris de Burgh (born Christopher John Davison, 15 October 1948) is a British-Irish singer-songwriter and instrumentalist. He is most famous for his 1986 love song "The Lady in Red", which reached number one in several countries. De Burgh has sold over 45 million albums worldwide.[4]

Early life[edit]

De Burgh was born in Venado Tuerto, Argentina, to Colonel Charles Davison, a British diplomat, and Maeve Emily de Burgh, an Irish secretary.[5] His maternal grandfather was Sir Eric de Burgh, a British Army officer who had been Chief of the General Staff in India during the Second World War.[6] He took his mother's name, "de Burgh", when he began performing.[7] His father had substantial farming interests, and Chris spent much of his early years in Malta, Nigeria and Zaire, as he, his mother and brother accompanied Colonel Davison on his diplomatic and engineering work.

The Davisons finally settled in Bargy Castle, County Wexford, Ireland, which was somewhat dilapidated at the time. It was a twelfth-century castle which Eric de Burgh bought in the 1960s. He converted it into a hotel, and the young Chris sang for the guests there.[5][6]

After attending Marlborough College in Wiltshire, England, de Burgh went on to graduate from Trinity College, Dublin with a Master of Arts degree in French, English and History.

Musical career[edit]

Chris de Burgh signed his first contract with A&M Records in 1974, and supported Supertramp on their Crime of the Century tour, building himself a small fan base. His début album, Far Beyond These Castle Walls, was a folk-tinged stab at fantasy in the tradition of the Moody Blues. It failed to chart upon its release in February 1975. Five months later, he released a single called "Turning Round" from the album, released outside the UK and Ireland as "Flying". It failed to make an impression in the UK, but it stayed on top of the Brazilian charts for 17 weeks. This became a familiar pattern for the singer/songwriter, as every one of his '70s albums failed to chart in the UK or US while they racked up big sales in continental European and South American countries. In 1981, he had his first UK chart entry with Best Moves, a collection culled from his early albums. It set the stage for 1982's Rupert Hine produced The Getaway, which reached number 30 in the UK charts and number 43 in the US, thanks to the eerie single "Don't Pay the Ferryman". Chris de Burgh's follow-up album, Man on the Line, also performed well, charting at 69 in the US and 11 in the UK.

Chris de Burgh had an across-the-board success with the ballad "The Lady in Red" in late 1986; the single became a number one hit in the UK (number three in America) and its accompanying album, Into the Light, reached number two in the UK. (number 25 in the U.S.) That Christmas season, a re-release of de Burgh's 1976 Christmas song "A Spaceman Came Travelling" became a Top 40 hit in the UK. Flying Colours, his follow-up to Into the Light, entered the British charts at number one upon its 1988 release, yet it failed to make the American charts. De Burgh never hit the US charts again and his commercial fortunes began to slide slightly in Britain in the early 1990s, yet he retained a following around the world. This is mainly due to inactivity of his previous recording label A&M Records UK division in the U.S.[8]

In 1997, de Burgh composed a song entitled "There's a New Star Up in Heaven Tonight", dedicated to Diana, Princess of Wales. The song was released as a 100-copy limited edition and included on the compilations The Ultimate Collection (2000) and Now and Then (2009).[9]

In 2007, a concert in Tehran was planned for mid-2008, together with local band Arian, which would have made Chris de Burgh the first western pop singer to perform in Iran since the 1979 revolution. However, the concert never went ahead because he had not been given permission by the Iranian authorities to perform in the country.[10]

Band line-up[edit]

  • 1977–1978 – Jeff Philips, Glenn Morrow, Ken Allardyce, Colin Vallance (joined in 1978)
  • 1979–1982 – Tim Wynveen, Jeff Philips, Glenn Morrow, Al Marnie, Ian Kojima
  • 1983–1994 – Danny McBride (not to be confused with Daniel "Dirty Dan" Hatton McBride), Jeff Philips, Glenn Morrow, Al Marnie, Ian Kojima
  • 1997–2001 ("Love Songs" and "Quiet Revolution" Tour) – Neil Taylor, Peter Oxendale, Tony Kiley, Dave Levy, Al Vosper
  • 2002–2004 ("Timing Is Everything" Tour) – Gary Sanctuary, Tim Cansfield, Dave Levy, Tony Kiley, Al Vosper
  • 2006–?? ("The Storyman" Tour) – Ebbe Ravn, Al Vosper, Dave Levy, Tony Kiley, Nigel Hopkins
  • 2012 –present – Al Vosper, Dave Levy, Tony Kiley, Nigel Hopkins, Neil Taylor

Personal life[edit]

Chris de Burgh has been married to his wife Diane since 1977 and lives in Enniskerry, County Wicklow in Ireland.[5] They have two sons, Hubie and Michael, and a daughter, Rosanna, a model, who won the Miss World competition in 2003 for Ireland.[5] He is a distant relative of the 13th-century English nobleman Hubert de Burgh, who features prominently in Shakespeare's play The Life and Death of King John.[11] He is an avid Liverpool F.C. supporter, as is Rosanna, and they often attend matches at Anfield.

In 1994, he was found to have had an affair with his children's 19-year-old Irish nanny, Maresa Morgan, who was assisting the family while de Burgh's wife Diane was recuperating in the hospital from a broken neck during a horse-riding accident. His daughter Rosanna indicated during an interview with The Irish Independent that she held little sympathy for Morgan, regarding the latter's portrayal of herself as a victim as "pathetic" and hoped "she pays for her mistake". She forgave her father for his affair.[12]

In 2011, bottles from DeBurgh's vintage wine cellar sold for over $500,000, including a world record set for a magnum collection of postwar vintages.[13]

DeBurgh has a noted interest in war history, especially that of World War I and World War II. His songs contain numerous references to soldiers and battle, and in 2006 he purchased a rare First World War letter written by an unknown soldier.[14]

De Burgh has said that he is "certainly a believer in Christ" but he has always had a deep distrust of organized religion.[15] De Burgh believes in the power of spiritual healing as an alternative therapy to reduce pain. He states that he has been able to heal people with his own hands and he gained an all-encompassing strength that was contacted through prayer.[16]

Media profile[edit]

De Burgh has pursued and won 16 defamation actions.[17] The Irish Independent said he has always been a bit prickly about criticism. Peter Crawley, a theatre reviewer at The Irish Times, received a directed response from de Burgh when he wrote a less than sympathetic review of de Burgh's show in Dublin's Gaiety Theatre in September 2009. Crawley noted: "He departs the stage for 'Lady in Red', invading boxes and draping himself over audience members ... Certain toes will never uncurl after this experience, but it is almost admirable how unaltered de Burgh has remained by the flow of time." In a lengthy, much-publicised reply to the critic, de Burgh made his feelings known, particularly in the postscript:

We were wondering by way of explanation and, as you seem to portray yourself as a bitter and unfulfilled man, were you much teased by your school chums in the schoolyard and called 'Creepy Crawley'?[18]

The BBC has said of de Burgh: "To his millions of fans, Chris de Burgh is the ultimate romantic singer. But to many others he's a figure of fun." When the staff of Melody Maker were putting together a lampoon edition of a new arts and music magazine, they chose de Burgh for the cover. The actor and stand-up comedian Bill Bailey refers to him as the "monobrowed purveyor of ultimate filth".[19] His signature song, "The Lady in Red", has been repeatedly voted one of the public's most disliked songs.[20][21][22] Neil Norman, writing for The Independent, described de Burgh as "the world's naffest balladeer".[23] In his favour, Mike DeGagne, writing for AllMusic, has acclaimed de Burgh as "a genuine master of the soft ballad" and "one of the finest mood-invoking artists ever".[24]

Discography[edit]

Albums and compilations[edit]

Chris de Burgh was signed to A&M Records for many years (1974–2004), but he now has his own label, Ferryman Productions. His recent albums are released by German label, Edel Records.

Filmography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Artist Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "Now and Then – Chris de Burgh". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "The Love Songs – Chris de Burgh". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "Chris de Burgh is singing loud". BBC News. 15 April 2009. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d Chris de Burgh: Why it's divine in Ireland
  6. ^ a b Bargy Castle, Co. Wexford, Travelmania Ireland
  7. ^ Dave Wilson, Rock Formations: Categorical Answers to How Band Names Were Formed, Cidermill Books, 2004,, ISBN 0974848352, p. 167
  8. ^ FAQ Answers
  9. ^ "Now and Then". Official Chris de Burgh website. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  10. ^ Michaels, Sean (19 August 2008). "No permission for Chris de Burgh Iran gig". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  11. ^ Web. "Q&A". Man On The Line Fan Page. 
  12. ^ Books (4 January 2004). "Miss World lashes out at dad's former teenage lover – National News". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  13. ^ "Chris de Burgh red wine collection goes for a song". BBC News. 25 March 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  14. ^ "Singer buys First World War letter". Metro News. 7 November 2006. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  15. ^ "Chris De Burgh: Still High on Emotion". Inside World Music. 17 May 2004. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  16. ^ "De Burgh tells of 'healing' hands". BBC News. 9 October 2006. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  17. ^ "Real winner is common sense in jury awards – Celeb News, Independent Woman". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  18. ^ Books (28 May 2011). "De Burgh has always been close with 'sweet girl of mine' – National News". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  19. ^ "Faces of the week". BBC News. 13 October 2006. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  20. ^ "Birdie Song tops hall of shame". BBC News. 24 July 2000. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  21. ^ "'Imagine' top song ever". The Guardian. 7 January 2001. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  22. ^ "Readers' Poll: The 10 Worst Songs of the 1980s". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  23. ^ Norman, Neil (29 October 2006). "Chris de Burgh: Great hands, shame about the voice". The Independent. Retrieved 7 August 2014. 
  24. ^ DeGagne, Mike. "Far Beyond These Castle Walls". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Chris de Burgh at Wikimedia Commons