Jackie Hayden is best known as the man who signed U2 to CBS Records in Ireland. He worked in the music industry in Ireland over many years as a record company executive, producer (The Urge, Reform, Aftermath, etc), music journalist (including Hot Press), A&R , etc. What's not so well known is that he was also a songwriter. In 1971 Hayden was head of A&R at Polydor Records and took this opportunity to sign himself to the label and release an album of songs written in collaboraton with Brendan Cullen - nice work if you can get it! The result was the hard to find Hayden-Cullen Choir & Orchestra LP.
Jackie Hayden and Brendan Cullen were both from Dublin. They formed a folk duo in the late 60s and gigged around the Dublin and London folks clubs (Les Cousins, Bungies, etc). Jackie wrote the lyrics and Brendan the music. Their music was an attempt to satirise the hippie folk genre as best exemplified by the Incredible String Band (whom they loved) but by their own admission they were quite limited musically and they were never sure if they achieved this. As I had not heard the album, I cannot comment. I've read that it's quite sparse instrumentally and has a slightly 'stoned' atmosphere. The album sold modestly and there were no further releases.
Hayden-Cullen featured in RTE Radio's Song & Sounds of Tomorrow series in March 1971. Two Hayden-Cullen compositions Looking My Way and On My Tomorrow were recorded by Spice in 1971, with Jackie Hayden producing. The former came out as a B-side, the latter on a 4 track EP.
In January 1972 Jackie Hayden joined the promotions department of CBS Ireland where he became Marketing Manager. He worked with many Irish acts. He also founded the Midnite label and production company with Eamon Carr in 1975.
In 1983 he became a director and General Manager of Hot Press. He wrote many articles for Hot Press over the years, including a fair amount of what can only be described as hack work, though he was far from alone in this regard (Hot Press has a very chequered history). He co-wrote Philomena Lynott's bestseller My Boy – The Philip Lynott Story and Don Baker's controversial biography The Winner In Me.
Hayden established his own music business consultancy and wrote a couple of How To guides: The Need To Know Guide To The Record Industry and The Need To Know Guide To Careers In Music. He was heavily involved in the Jobs In Music Campaign and served as chairman of the task force set up by the government of the day to examine the International Marketing of Irish Music.
Brendan Cullen, originally from Churchtown, passed away in 2011.
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