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Bill Whelan

- under construction-

From: Limerick, Ireland

Active: 70s onwards

Style: Pop / Contemporary / Soundtrack


Bill Whelan (b.1950) moved from his native Limerick to Dublin circa 1971 and began working for John Dardis at Trend Studios, doing freelance session work. He soon became an established and in-demand session musician in Dublin, playing on anything and everything, in all styles including pop, jazz, jazz, folk, traditional, etc. He honed his skills as composer, arranger and producer during these years. He also worked in the orchestra pit on stage productions such as Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

During 1978 he was a member of pop band Stacc, which featured the cream of Irish session musicians, who released a single on CBS.

In 1979 he joined Planxty, expanding his involvement with Irish traditional music. He later produced records for Andy Irvine, Patrick Street, Stockton's Wing and Davy Spillane.

In 1980 he produced Johnny Logan's Eurovision winning "What's Another Year?", his first number one as a producer. This led to an invitation from RTE to compose the interval music for the 1981 Eurovision song contest. That music was "Timedance", composed with Donal Lunny, and performed by Planxty. Most famously he composed the music for the interval of the 1994 Eurovision song contest, i.e. Riverdance, which was later expanded into a full album, theatrical show, mugs, teatowels, action figures, toilet rolls, etc.

He's recorded many soundtracks including Bloomfield (1970), Lamb (co-composed with Van Morrison), Dancing At Lughnasa and Some Mother's Son (1996). He's also composed many jingles and TV/radio commercials.

Over the years Whelan has produced records by Reform, Those Nervous Animals, U2 ("The Refuge" on War in 1983), Stockton's Wing and Paul Brady among others.

Orchestral works include The O Riada Suite (1987), The Seville Suite (1992), The Spirit Of Mayo (1993). Theatrical works are too many to list.


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