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Friday, May 13, 2011

Music Unknown to the Masses Article 3- Aslan

Aslan the band was formed in mid 80's in the working class areas of Dublin by Christy Dignam on vocals, Joe Jewell on guitar, Tony McGuinness on bass, Billy McGuinness on keyboards and Alan Downey on drums and percussion. They took their name from the lion in C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia series. The name Aslan itself comes from the turkish word for lion. In Spring 1986 they released "this is" as a demo single, which became a huge hit. In the summer of 1986 they played a series of very well received gigs across the UK, getting great reviews in Melody Maker.

In 1988 they released their debut album, Feel No Shame, which went straight to number 1 on the Irish charts. Within a few months it became certified gold. Just as they were picked up to record a second album in August 88, the band imploded due to problems with drugs, alcohol and other indulgances. The band, minus Dignam, tried to carry on as The Precious Stones, recruiting Eamo Doyle to replace him, but as Alan Downey later said, "it was like U2 trying to go on without Bono...it was just never going to work". Christy formed Dignam and Goff with guitarist Conor Goff.

On 11 July 1993, 5 years and a day after the band last played together, Aslan played what was supposed to be a one-off charity gig in Finglas, Dublin. However the "spark" was re-ignited and the band signed a new record deal. The first product of the new deal, the new single Crazy World, which entered the charts at number 4, which stayed in the charts for 3 months and won Hot Press' Single of the Year for 1993. A few months later the follow-up single, "Where's the Sun", reached number 3 on the chart.

1994 was spent constantly touring Ireland and recording their album, Goodbye Charlie Moonhead, which was released at the end of 1994, which entered at number 1 on the charts and was certified gold months later. Then in 1995 they were dropped from BMG as a result of boardroom changes. Undeterred, they went into the studio themselves and recorded a new album in April 1996, called Here comes Lucy Jones. It was released in October 1997, the album went to number 14 in the charts. Shame About Lucy Moonhead, a compilation of the best of Aslan's recording work for EMI was released in July 98 and shot to number 1 in the charts, and has since become double platinum.

In March 99 the band played 5 sell-out shows in the famous Vicar Street venue, where they recorded a live album plus concert dvd, called "Made in Dublin". Both shot to number one in thier first week of release, and the album reached platinum in 3 weeks.

In Summer 2000 Aslan toured Australia for the first time to promote the release of Shame of Lucy Moonhead down under, selling out gigs in Sidney and Melbourne. In Spring 2001 the band recorded a single, She's so beautiful, which featured Sinead O'Connor on backing vocals and entered the charts at number 9. In September 2001, the band's newest studio album, Waiting for This Madness to End went straight to number 1, out selling the number 2 album four times over. It hit platinum after just 4 weeks.

In October 2005 the band released a 48 track CD simply called Platinum. It entered the charts at number 3 and after a few weeks lived up to it's name by reaching platinum. The band helped write and perform "How Can I Protect You" the tenth track for Alabama 3's 2006 album Outlaw.

The band's next album, For Some Strange Reason, was released in October 2007 and debuted at number 8. In February 2008 Aslan was named Best Irish Band at the Meteor Music Awards. Shortly afterwards Tony McGuiness announced that he was moving to Australia with his family and would be absent from the band for a year, with Rodney O'Brien replacing him. In April 2008 it was announced that they would record an album consisting entirely of covers.

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