Paul Cunniffe

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Paul Cunniffe
Paul Cunniffe in London
Background information
Born (1961-06-23)23 June 1961
Cambridge, England
Died 11 August 2001(2001-08-11) (aged 40)
Whitechapel, London, England
Genres Rock
Occupation(s) Musician, Songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1979–2001
Associated acts Blaze X, The Saw Doctors, Tuatha

Paul Cunniffe (23 June 1961 – 11 August 2001) was a British-born, Irish singer-songwriter. He fronted the 1980s punk band Blaze X.

Early life and career[edit]

Cunniffe was born in Cambridge, England, and then lived in Ellesmere Port, but moved back to his family's hometown of Tuam in Ireland at the age of 14. In the Christian Brothers School in Tuam he formed Blaze X with friends Paul Ralph, Davy Carton and Ja Keating.

After Blaze X split, he moved to London. He began to write songs on his own, and play on the Irish pub scene around the capital. He won the London Pub Entertainer of the Year award in 1996. He went on to form a short-lived band with a group of friends, naming themselves "Tuatha" a reflection of Paul's time in Ireland. With only a small number of well-received gigs under their belt, they disbanded and Paul went on to more appearances on the London Irish pub and club circuit, initially appearing with Chris Nash (tin whistle and bodhran player) in a number of live performances before his return as a solo artist.

He wrote the first version of the Saw Doctors number 1 single, "I Useta Lover". He also wrote the track "Funny World" which is covered by the Saw Doctors on their album The Cure.[1]

Following his death, an album of his songs entitled Excuse My Accent was released to critical acclaim. Many songs on this album evoke a sadness which seems to be in Paul's life. In the documentary, Man of Music, Heart of Gold, Kenny Ralph describes him as having frailty in life, similar to the life of Nick Drake. Others, such as Sunshine, suggest otherwise; Sunshine, lights up a cloudy day, moonlight helps me to find my way. You can't beat the feeling, when you've made it on your own . Dreams is considered the song which most aptly displays Paul's fine[1] talent for words and the English language. There were only 500 copies of this album pressed. A catalogue of unreleased songs may be released at some point in the future.

There still exist rehearsal recordings of Paul with Tuatha, which may one day come to light. They include versions of "Taking The Easy Way Out", "Excuse My Accent", "Courting In The Kitchen", and The Saw Doctors' hit, "N17". In keeping with Paul's sense of humour, these sessions were recorded in a hall attached to a Catholic convent in Roehampton, South West London.

Paul left behind his partner Jo and three children, Paula, Shane and Mollie Rae.

A no-budget documentary about his music entitled Man of Music, Heart Of Gold was shown to a packed audience in his hometown of Tuam on 19 August 2007. The film had its Galway premiere on 6 December 2007 in Monroe's Tavern.[2]


Paul died in suspicious circumstances, following a fall, in Whitechapel, east London on 11 August 2001. In January 2010, The Guardian claimed that Paul fell from the balcony of Paul Roundhill's flat,[3] and that the circumstances surrounding the fall have never been discovered.



  • Excuse My Accent, (posthumous) 2003

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Paul Cunniffe song Funny World on new Saw Doctors album". Retrieved 2008-03-23.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "funny_world" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ "New Documentary on the songwriter Paul Cunniffe". Retrieved 2008-03-23. [dead link]
  3. ^ Doward, Jamie (2010-01-31). "Pete Doherty: the gifted artists who pay a fatal price after entering his orbit". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 

External links[edit]