Red Hurley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Red Hurley
Red Hurley in 1976
Red Hurley in 1976
Background information
Birth nameBrian Hurley
Born (1947-11-11) 11 November 1947 (age 72)
Milltown, Dublin
GenresPop,easy listening, gospel.
Years active1969–present

Brian "Red" Hurley (born 11 September 1947) is an Irish popular singer whose career has spanned several decades from the 1970s to 2016. He is principally known as a solo artist, although he has performed with various bands and pop groups, most notably 'The Nevada', with whom he enjoyed his first series of number one records in the 1970s.[1] In 1976 he represented Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest with the song "When".[2] Red Hurley tours regularly, performing at some of Ireland's principal concert venues. In August 2014 Hurley was one of the musical soloists chosen to perform at the State Funeral of former Irish Prime Minister, Albert Reynolds.

Personal life[edit]

Hurley was born in 1947 and grew up in Milltown, Dublin, with four brothers, Joe, Liam, Des and Fran and two sisters, Olive and Flo. His sister Olive is an Irish dance teacher. His father spent some time as a professional musician, but later worked as a public servant (Dublin City Council). His brother Fran has been his manager at different times and his brother Liam was Red's record producer and arranger in the early phase of his career. Red has been married twice, first to top Dublin model Patricia Ward (the couple divorced in the late 1980s) and later to his longtime partner, dancer and performance coach, Norma (his present wife). He has 3 daughters, Stephanie, Kristina and Kimberley.

Early career[edit]

Hurley started his career in 1969 as lead vocalist with The Colours. In 1970, he went on to form his first band, The Wheels, Hurley released several successful singles during this period with The Wheels including Isadora, Take Me Tonight and Poor Man's Roses, all of which made it into the Irish charts with Isadora being the best known of his hits from this period.

Big Break[edit]

In early 1971, Hurley joined The Nevada, one of Ireland's top pop acts of that era, quickly becoming their most popular ever lead singer with a string of number 1 hits many penned by British songwriters Les Reed and Barry Mason specifically for Red. These include 'Sometimes. Kiss Me Goodbye and I never said Goodbye'. He enjoyed success with The Nevada until he left in 1974 to form his own "Red Hurley Band". The hits continued during the subsequent decade with 'Love Is All' (his biggest Reed/Mason hit and one of the biggest selling singles of the 1970s in Ireland), 'Broken Promises', 'Tennessee Special', 'You're my Day You're my Night' and many others, all huge chart hits in Ireland. Red toured extensively right up to the late 1980s. Throughout this time, despite domestic success in Ireland, where he was a major star, significant international success eluded him. Though signed to 'Redbus' one of the UK's premier agencies, the general feeling was that the marketing of a major Irish pop star was difficult at a time when the bombing campaign of the Provisional IRA on the UK mainland was at its height. Red's obvious Irish identity was considered an uphill battle for showbiz promoters in common with other Irish pop icons Joe Dolan and Dickie Rock, who also failed to find a significant enduring UK audience at that time despite being major stars in Ireland. Red's overall record in the Irish Charts places him among the biggest chart acts of all time in Ireland, with over 20 hits and five number ones. Altogether he has recorded over 500 songs in a career spanning the early seventies to the present day. He is still having chart hits in the 21st century giving him one of the longest chart careers in Irish show-business history.

Eurovision Song Contest[edit]

In 1976 Hurley represented Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest.[3] Though one of the early favourites to win the contest, his song finished 10th on the night, beaten among others by the winning UK entry Brotherhood of Man and their song "Save Your Kisses for Me". Red's song "When" became a major chart hit in Ireland and is still popular today with Eurovision fans and regularly included in Red's live shows. "When" was written by Brendan Graham, who subsequently composed two Eurovision winning songs for Ireland, "Rock 'n' Roll Kids" in 1994 and "The Voice" for mezzo-soprano Eimear Quinn in 1996. He also composed the worldwide hit "You Raise Me Up", a major hit for Josh Groban in the U.S and Westlife in the UK.

End of an era & new beginnings[edit]

Towards the end of the 1970s and into the 1980s, the Irish pop music scene underwent a period of significant change. Established artists like Hurley, whose careers had begun in the showband era, were making way for rock groups like U2 and others who were changing the music map in Ireland and internationally. Despite this, Red managed to maintain his career in Ireland throughout this time, albeit at a lower profile. In the 1990s, little was heard from the man whose voice had once ruled the Irish charts. In the 1990s new Irish pop acts such as Boyzone and Westlife emerged onto both the Irish & International scene. Both acts were managed by Hurley's one-time manager, X-Factor's Louis Walsh. Throughout this period, while his previously glittering chart career declined at home, Red Hurley moved to the United States, where he gradually made inroads into the market there. He would have to wait until 2003 for a return to the music charts with the release of a new album/CD "You're Still You". The album was a surprise success in Ireland, eventually leading to a successful comeback in the Irish market and a string of new recordings, as well as the international success (in both the UK and USA) which had previously eluded him.(See below). Gradually record sales increased, as did attendance at his live concert performances and Red managed to re-establish himself as a major live concert and cabaret artist. Regular appearances on high-profile TV and radio shows in Ireland, the UK and the USA followed.


Red Hurley now enjoys renewed success both in Ireland and the USA. In 2010 he celebrated 40 years in show business with a sell-out tour of Ireland with his special guest, legendary US Singer Rita Coolidge. The highlight was a sell-out show at Dublin's Grand Canal Theatre. Pulitzer Prize-Winning American author Maya Angelou became an admirer of the singer and helped introduce him to American audiences. A greatest hits compilation 'Red Hurley – The Hits' reached the Irish top ten in 2009 and the singer also starred in a TV special for PBS in America in 2006, filmed before a live audience in Dublin's Olympia Theatre. Speaking in September 2010 of the renewed interest in his career, Red said that he was 'delighted and really enjoying his life again'. Kevin Myers, writing in the "Irish Independent" in September 2010 said, 'His intuitive sense of the beautiful is one reason why Red Hurley is such a wonderful singer. He will find the key element of any song – a single note or phrase – and elevate that into an unexpected little musical jewel'. Internet concert reviews blog Daniel Lindon Reviews said of Red, 'Rarely has an artist had the persistence and self-belief to rise above many career setbacks and emerge once again triumphant, he is one of the great male voices and his international success is long overdue'. Red Hurley continues to tour regularly in Ireland, USA and in the UK and his many recordings are now available to a whole new audience.

Irish chart positions[edit]

Band Singles:

A Poor Man's Roses / I Didn't Even Know (with The Colours) – #14 Irish Charts Target Records – 7N.17771 – June 1969

Isadora / Amigos (with the Wheels) – #14 Irish Charts Target Records – May 1970

Take Me Tonight / Let's Get Started (with the Wheels) – #20 Irish Charts Target Records – 7N.17982 – September 1970

Going Away (with the Nevada) Play Records – March 1971

Sometimes / I'll Be Home (with the Nevada) – #1 Irish Charts Play Records – PLAY 03 – July 1971

Kiss Me Goodbye / Bring Back The Good Times (with the Nevada) – #1 Irish Charts Play Records – PLAY 06 – Oct 1971

Hold Me / Trudy (with the Nevada) – #3 Irish Charts Play Records – PLAY 19 – April 1972

Arkansas / Hold Me Just One More Time (with the Nevada) – #2 Irish Charts Play Records – PLAY 53 – Feb 1973

I Never Said Goodbye / I'd Like To Teach You (with the Nevada) – #5 Irish Charts Play Records – PLAY 63 – August 1973

Solo Singles:

I Know – #5 Irish Charts Release Records – RL 741 – 1974

Love Is All / Morea– #1 Irish Charts (Biggest selling Irish Single 1975) Release Records – RL 766 – 1975

Broken Promises – #1 Irish Charts Release Records – January 1976

When – Ireland's Eurovision Entry 1976 – #4 Irish Charts PYE Records – 7N.45583 – March 1976

Tennessee Special /Granny's Got A Painted Leg – #3 Irish Charts EMI/Red Bus Records – EMI 2527 – September 1976

In Shame Love, In Shame / Listen To The Children – #3 Irish Charts Release Records – February 1977

You're My Day, You're My Night / Morena – #2 Irish Charts Release Records – RL.878 – July 1977

You Don't Have To Say You Love Me – #5 Irish Charts Release Records – May 1978

You're So Good To Me / Steppin' Aside – #9 Irish Charts Spider Records – February 1979

The Furey Man – #6 Irish Charts Spider Records – November 1979

I Want To Live With You / Perfect Love – #29 Irish Charts Spider Records – WEB 036 – January 1981

Hey / Cut Across Shorty – #15 Irish Charts Crashed Records – CAR 38 – February 1983

Danny – #15 Irish Charts Crashed Records – CAR – September 1983

I Believe I'm Going To Love You – #21 Irish Charts Dolphin Records – DOS – June 1985

Let The Heartaches Begin – #20 Irish Charts Dolphin Records – DOS – June 1987

For Always – #19 Irish Charts Dolphin Records – DOS – April 1989

We were in Love – #27 Irish Charts Ensign records – Sept 2006

Album Releases 1973 Red Hurley 'Hits' (Irish Charts Peak Position No 1)

1976 When (Irish Charts PeaK Position No 2)

1978 Red Hurley With Love (Irish Charts Peak Position No 8)

1981 Warm Red (Irish Charts Peak Position No 23)

1982–2003 Various Compilations Released in Ireland/UK/USA

2003 – You're Still You (Irish Charts Peak Position No 8)

2005 – Always There For Me (Irish Charts Peak Position No 14)

2006 – Raised on Songs and Stories CD/DVD (USA) (Sony Music Sold as part of USA PBS TV Special)

2008 – Red Hurley 'The Hits Album' (Irish Charts Peak Position No 6)

2009 – How Great Thou Art (Irish Charts Peak Position No 21)

2010 – Sings My Soul CD/DVD (USA Only)

2012 – Red Hurley 'The Hits Album' (Re Issue) for 2012 Tour

2014 – Updated Greatest Hits CD Expected (Autumn 2014)


  1. ^ "Brian 'Red' Hurley". Irish-Showbands. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  2. ^ Knoops, Roy (10 November 2013). "Ireland: Red Hurley shows his spiritual side". ESCToday. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  3. ^ Eurovision 1976 The Hague Netherlands. (21 May 2006). Retrieved on 3 October 2011.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
The Swarbriggs
with "That's What Friends Are For"
Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
The Swarbriggs Plus Two
with "It's Nice to Be in Love Again"