The Stunning

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The Stunning
Origin Galway, Ireland
Genres Rock
Years active 1987—1994, 2003—present.
Labels Dirtbird Records, Earshot Records, Solid Records
Associated acts The Walls, The Saw Doctors, Altan, Christy Moore
Website The Stunning official website
Members Joe Wall
Steve Wall
Derek Murray
Jim Higgins
Cormac Dunne
Past members
  • Donal Duggan
  • Ronan Kavanagh
  • Patrick Schutte

The Stunning are an Irish rock band formed in 1987. In the seven years that they were initially together, they toured relentlessly building up a following that would make them one of the most successful Irish bands ever. In 1990 their debut album ''Paradise In The Picturehouse'' spent five weeks at number one and became one of the most-loved Irish albums of all time. Two years later, the follow-up Once Around The World also hit the number one spot, and the band went on to sell over 100,000 albums in Ireland alone. Brewing Up A Storm has become an anthem of sorts and is to be heard everywhere from football stadiums to clubs around the country where it is still a guaranteed floor-filler. Songs such as Half Past Two, Romeo’s on Fire, and Everything that Rises is still to be heard on the radio and have been featured in movies and numerous compilation albums of the best of Irish rock. They toured the US and the UK with the likes of Bob Dylan and The B52s. During their time, the band scooped every music prize and award going and their music is still to be heard on the airwaves. The band split up in 1994 to pursue other interests and they reformed in 2003 to support the re-release of their debut album Paradise in the Picturehouse. They perform regularly for select Irish shows and festivals, and in 2014 they returned to New York and Boston for their first gigs there since the early nineties. The band are currently in the studio recording new material, set for release in early 2016.



The group was formed in 1987 by Steve Wall in Galway city in the west of Ireland. After brief name changes The Stunning was settled upon and the band played its first show in the Hilltop Hotel, Salthill, Galway under the new moniker. The original line-up also included Donal Duggan (saxophone), Ronan Kavanagh (keyboards) and Paddy Schutte (trombone), the latter three all leaving after the first couple of years to pursue other careers.

The first release was the single Got to Get Away (1988) licensed to Solid Records. It reached No. 17 in the Irish charts and received strong airplay on national radio. The band started to tour constantly starting in the west of Ireland, working their way east and finally playing their debut shows in Dublin with a three-week residency in the Baggot Inn. More singles followed: Half Past Two (1988); Romeo’s on Fire (1989) and Brewing up a Storm (1989). Ironically, the latter which is now their most famous song was the only single from their first album not to enter the Irish charts.

Their debut long player Paradise in the Picturehouse was released under licence on Solid Records in June 1990 reaching number one in the Irish charts and remaining there for five weeks. The first time a debut album by an Irish act had done so. It has reached multi-platinum status in Ireland and continues to sell to this day on the Dirtbird Records imprint and through digital platforms worldwide. That year the band performed an early slot at the first Féile festival in Semple Stadium, Thurles and they toured constantly building up a huge following nationwide.

The second album Once Around the World (1992) released on Solid Records went straight into the number one spot and contained the hit singles Heads; Everything that Rises; She’s on my Mind; and Mr. Ginger. The Stunning were now one of the most successful bands in Ireland and that year they headlined the Féile festival at midnight, going on after Bryan Adams to a crowd of approximately 40,000 people.

Tours in the UK and the US followed. They opened for Bob Dylan over five nights in the Hammersmith Apollo in London and two weeks later played support to the B52’s on a UK tour. Regular shows in the Mean Fiddler (Harlesden), the Powerhouse (Islington) and the Grande (Clapham) had hoped to get the band noticed by UK record labels but a deal never materialized. They made several trips to the US playing in Boston, New York City, Northampton, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Portland, Maine but these self-financed tours became impossible for the band to fund.

In 1993 they released an EP of cover versions Deja Voodoo which reached number six in the charts. That summer they played two consecutive nights in the Galway Arts Festival which were recorded and featured on the live album Tightrope which was also released that year.

1994 - The break-up[edit]

Due to various business disappointments and the lack of progress internationally, the band decided to split up. They performed a sell-out Irish tour in 1994, which included their fifth appearance at Féile, and concluded with two nights in the Warwick Hotel, Galway where the band were based. The Stunning have sold well over 100,000 albums in Ireland alone. During their time, they scooped every music award going and are still regularly heard on the airwaves.

The Stunning 2003-2015[edit]

2003 - 9 years after breaking up, they re-issued Paradise in the Picture House on the imprint Dirtbird Records as a special edition with bonus tracks and a full-colour booklet. It went to number two in the Irish charts selling out all copies in the first three days and the accompanying tour was a huge success. They played 14 sold-out shows to over 20,000 people across the country.

2006 - they re-issued the live album Tightrope and completed an eight date Irish tour that Christmas taking in Dublin, Galway, Cork, Galway, Sligo, Castlebar, Ennis, Killarney.

2008 - the band completed a 12-date Irish tour and that summer they played to a massive crowd at the Electric Picnic festival in Stradbally, Co. Laois.

2009 - the band headlined the Friday night of the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Galway city on the 5th June. Around 25,000 people gathered around Galway docks to hear them play.

2012 - was the band's 25th anniversary and they celebrated with a six date tour that Christmas taking in Dublin, Kilkenny, Cork, Castlebar, Donegal and Galway. They played a follow-up concert in Galway for the Volvo Ocean Race again on 6 July, headlining the Saturday night to a crowd of around 30,000. [1]

2013 - On 13 February The Stunning were the headline act for the NUIG Arts Ball, the largest formal dress ball in Ireland, in their 'hometown' of Gaillimh. [2] On June 8th they also headlined the Helium Charity Festival in Ballymahon, County Longford in aid of Ataxia Ireland.

2014 - saw the band return to the USA for the first time since 1993, performing at Terminal 5 in New York and the Royale, Boston with the Boomtown Rats and Mundy.

2015 - The Stunning went into Grouse Lodge studios, Co. Westmeath for two week-long periods to record new material and that summer they performed several festival shows around Ireland.

After The Stunning[edit]

The founding members, brothers Steve and Joe Wall, formed the successful Irish band The Walls in 1998 releasing three acclaimed albums between 2000 and 2012. One of The Wall’s songs Drowning Pool - taken from the New Dawn Breaking album - was licensed for use in the opening credits of the Miramax movie Begin Again starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo. The film was written and directed by John Carney (Once).

Steve Wall is now a successful actor appearing in Vikings (Einar); Moone Boy (Danny Moone); Silent Witness (Chief Superintendent Robert Drake); An Klondike (2015); Crossing Lines (2016); Rebellion (2016). Joe is lecturing at the music college BIMM, Dublin.

Derek Murray joined the Saw Doctors, before leaving again. Jim Higgins spent a number of years playing around the world with Riverdance and since then has played with Saw Doctors (drums), Altan (bodhrán) and Christy Moore (bodhrán). Cormac Dunne has become one of the most in-demand session drummers in the west of Ireland.


Studio albums[edit]

  • Paradise in the Picturehouse (1990)
  • Once Around The World (1992)
  • Tightrope (1993)
  • Milking the Hits (1994)


  • "Got To Get Away" (1988), Chart placement: Number 17
  • "Half Past Two" (1988), Chart Placement: Number 19
  • "Romeo's On Fire" (1989), Chart Placement: Number 24
  • "Brewing Up a Storm" (1989/1991)
  • "Merry Christmas Baby" (1990), Chart Placement: Number 24
  • "Heads (Are Gonna Roll)" (1991), Chart Placement: Number 5
  • "Everything That Rises" (1992), Chart Placement: Number 6
  • "She's On My Mind" (1992), Chart Placement: Number 12
  • "Mr. Ginger" (1992), Chart Placement: Number 22
  • "Deja Voodoo EP" (1993), Chart Placement: Number 8


External links[edit]