Henry McCullough Forever
Henry McCullough – Rock’n’Roll Mainman
Two weeks ago the BBC and RTE announced the death of Henry McCullough. Thank God they were incorrect – and they rapidly apologised. However Henry suffered a massive heart attack and remains in extensive care near his home in Ballysally, Coleraine, N Ireland.
I love Henry. We’ve been friends since 1966 when The People appeared in Dublin via a stint in Blackpool – and wiped everyone out. Henry was the guitar player – and boy oh boy this young man could play!
And then… The People became Eire Apparent, toured Britain on a bill with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Move and Pink Floyd, toured America with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Eric Burdon & The New Animals and Soft Machine – straight into the mouth of full-blown psychedelia… Henry returned to Ireland and joined Sweeney’s Men with Johnny Moynihan and Terry Woods – one of the most extraordinary and musically groundbreaking groups I have ever seen – before becoming a member of Joe Cocker & The Grease Band and playing at Woodstock.
Next Henry McCullough became a member of Wings – supplying that classic guitar solo to McCartney’s otherwise-mawkish My Love.
And since then our Henry has played with everyone from Marianne Faithful, Roy Harper, Ronnie Lane, Leon Russell, Frankie Miller, played guitar on the multi-platinum album Jesus Christ Superstar and was one of the voices on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon. And he plays on the new album Sound City Beat by The Radiators From Space, great as ever.
And of course he’s been doing his own stuff, from his superb Mind Your Own Business album on George Harrison’s Dark Horse label (1975) to his own spectacular bands throughout the years.
I last saw Henry on October 17th – he’d come down to Dublin to record for RTE and afterwards he and his lovely lady Josie and I met up and hung out in their hotel room, having a wee smoke and a chinwag as one does. Henry, he was in fine form.
He’d played a show in Dublin a few weeks before that and was nothing less than soul-wrenchingly amazing. He made me cry, brought tears of joy to my eyes at the wondrous beauty of this rock’n’roll warrior still sharp and blazing, his guitar wailing and that face like Mount Rushmore twinkling as his vocals grabbed everyone by the soul and made us all feel as one, made us all realise how priviliged we were to see this genuine legend in his mature and magic prime. No wilting here, baby.
And now this. What does one do? Pray? Yes. Please.
I love you, Henry. I never met anyone like you and I believe I’m all the better for knowing you and for all the adventures we’ve had over the years. I pray there are many more to come.
Keep her running, Henry.
Dublin November 21st 2012
Henry McCullough – Failed Christian (1998)
The Grease Band – Henry McCullough (gtr/vox), Neil Hubbard (gtr), Mick Weaver (keyboards), Alan Spenner (bass gtr/vox), Bruce Rowland (drums) – The Wild Side Of Life (1972)
Joe Cocker & The Grease Band – Henry McCullough (gtr), Chris Stainton (keyboards), Alan Spenner (bass gtr), Bruce Rowland (drums) – The Letter (1970)
Joe Cocker & The Grease Band – Henry McCullough (gtr), Tommy Eyre (keyboards/vox), Chris Stainton (bass gtr/vox), Kenny Slade (drums) – With A Little Help From My Friends (1968)
Joe Cocker & The Grease Band – Henry McCullough (gtr/vox), Chris Stainton (keyboards/vox), Alan Spenner (bass gtr/vox), Bruce Rowland (drums/vox) – Delta Lady (1969)
Paul McCartney & Wings – Paul McCartney (vox/keyboards), Henry McCullough (gtr), Denny Laine (gtr/vox), Linda McCartney (tambourine/vox), Denny Seiwell (drums) – My Love (1973)
Timeless – Henry McCullough by BP Fallon with love x
Henry McCullough Hero Of Rock’n’Roll Wang Dang Doodle
November 22, 2012 @ 3:27 pm
Henry joined Eire Apparent in 66 BP. I know because that was the year i came over to Ireland from London as a guitarist to replace him. Remember you from those days as well and your columns. Hope he gets over this . Rang Josie yesterday but she was at hospital.
Good Luck: Pete Cresswell
November 22, 2012 @ 4:40 pm
November 22, 2012 @ 6:12 pm
if you want to add something resent of Henry’s own band to this or any subsequent post feel free to grab the embed code. we shot this the last time Henry was in one of his favorite places, The Bridge Bar in Ramelton, County Donegal
November 24, 2012 @ 8:31 pm
It must’ve been mid-eighties – and early in the week, it being standard musos time off…and I’m having a beer with a musician mate in Kenny’s of Westland Row, Dublin (acoustic session origins of Johnny M/Pete and the Fleadhs)…..So next thing Henry sidles past with guitar case in hand, smiles,heads in the back. My mate’s mouth drops – Is that?!!! “Course”, says I, “he’s just catching up Johnny M, his old Sweeney’s Men mate, to play a few tunes. From Eire Apparent to Cocker/Woodstock to McCartney ….. to meeting up with his old Sweeney’s Men mate Johnny in the back of nowhere. Seems like a “have guitar will travel – its just….its just…… its what I know, its what I do” …for H. What an endearing and sweet tribute Beep – as always a wonderful way of expressing a deep love for the man, his music and legacy. And for Henry – the bestest, the sweetest, the mostest positive vibes for recovery
November 24, 2012 @ 9:56 pm
Nice one Beep
November 24, 2012 @ 10:02 pm
Thank you, Don – much appreciated. Very downhome vibe off Henry’s performance in your video. Excellent.
November 24, 2012 @ 10:06 pm
Great story about Henry, Steve. Thank you.
And Henry’s still with us, thank God.
November 24, 2012 @ 10:08 pm
Cheers, Errol. Trust your music is choogling nicely!
November 24, 2012 @ 10:22 pm
Ah, you joined Gene & The Gents when Henry left to join Ernie, Chris and Dave to form The People?
Will the circle be unbroken? Yes.