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The Stars Of Heaven

From: Dublin

Active: 1983-90




"That in blessing I will bless thee,
and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven,
and as the sand which is upon the sea"--Genesis 22:17

Formed in March 1983 by guitarist Stan Errauqht (ex The Peridots, Modernaires, Ghosthance) and bassist Peter O'Sulllvan, joined in September by singer/guitarist Steven Ryan (ex Letters?) and drummer Bernard Walsh (ex Sinners, GhostDance). They recorded an excellent Fanning Show session in 1984 which included "The Clothes Of Pride", which became the A-side of their debut single. The recording of the single was financed by the band themselves but it appeared on the Hotwire label in an edition of 1000 copies in 1985. Sales were slow initially, but with radio exposure (Fanning, Peel) and positive press (NME), its reputation grew until by the end of the year it was making best of lists. But by then it had become almost impossible to get hold of. There was no repress, such being the vagaries of indie label finances in Ireland in the mid-80s, and the band's relationship with Hotwire became strained, though they did appear on the Guru Weirdbrain label sampler LP. They also appeared on the "Live At The Underground" compilation recorded at the Dublin venue of the same name before the end of the year.

In 1986 they recorded two Peel Sessions, in January and May, and a Janice Long Session in June. They signed a one-off deal with Rough Trade who issued the Sacred Heart Hotel mini-LP in September, which had the January Peel session on the A-side and three new tracks recorded in Dublin on the B-side. This reached #11 in the UK indie album charts. The band was still looking for a record label to release their debut LP. There was a lot of interest but no record deal. A rare live track came out on the Moonstruck fanzine cassette that christmas.

In 1987 there was another Peel session, in February, and Rough Trade stepped in to do the honours for the second single, "Never Saw You" in March, which was also released as a 4-track 12inch re-titled Holyhead. This single peaked at #5 in the UK indie singles charts. In May, Rough Trade released the compilation LP Rain On The Sea which combined the Sacred Heart Hotel mini-LP and the Holyhead 12EP on one disc.

1988 began with the fourth and final Peel session in January. Rough Trade released the bands debut LP "Speak Slowly" in June. They signed to Mother Records who financed further recordings but nothing came out. The band split in 1990. Steven Ryan formed The Revenants with former members of The Would-Be's and Something Happens. Stan Erraught formed The Sewing Room with former members of Hey Paulette.

Described as "Ireland's answer to the Byrds, Gram Parsons and the Velvet Underground all in one package" and sometimes seen as forerunners of the country/roots/Americana sound post-grunge, but at the time it didn't seem that simple. There was an undeniable Byrds influence but songs like "So You Know" placed them just as easily beside bands like The Dream Syndicate. This was the ubiquitous Velvets influence, which ran though most indie guitar bands in the 1980s.

I first heard the band when Dave Fanning played their debut single. It sounded like nothing else coming out of Dublin at the time and is still one of my favourites. Both sides are fantastic. Then came the outstanding Peel sessions of 1987 the messy Rough Trade releases (an EP that's half a Peel session, an LP that's half a previous EP under a different name, a single that's taken from both!), not to mention the godlike "So You Know". Then finally after what seemed like an interminable wait, the debut LP proper came out in 1988. I remember feeling underwhelmed by "Speak Slowly" when I first played it. Geoff Travis didn't like it much, according to some sources. It marked the end of the band's relationship with Rough Trade. They signed to Mother Records who financed further recordings and there were plans for a single (which almost reached the release stage) and an album, but it all came to nothing when the band split in 1990. Judging by the liner notes to Unfinished Dreaming, they may have been victims of the Curse of Mother Records, but they seemed to be grinding to a halt anyway. Peter O'Sullivan leaving for the Wilf Brothers was the last straw.

For years I had the impression that the Stars had never fully delivered on the promise of that first single and the Peel sessions. It never quite felt like they'd recorded that one, flawless, killer LP they certainly had in them. In retrospect, all their recordings seem flawless now.

The Stars of Heaven made several live radio broadcasts, including a live show one christimas on Capital as far as I remember. If anyone has tapes, please get in touch. There were also several TV appearances over the years which can be found online.

All the records below are highly recommended.

Stephan Ryan (ex Letters?) later formed Revenants. Stan Erraught (ex peridots, Modernaires, Ghosthance) later formed The Sewing Room. Peter O'Sullivan played with the Wilf Brothers. Bernard Walsh was ex GhostDance.

See also the Videos page.


• 1st Fanning Session 1984
Recorded ??.??.1984
"Clothes of Pride" was released on their debut single. "El Dorado" was included on "Unfinished Dreaming".

• Clothes Of Pride / All About You
7" - Hotwire Records - HWS 853 - IRL - 1985 - PS, 1000 copies
Both tracks are included on the "Unfinished Dreaming" CD
Played by John Peel several times during Oct-Nov 1985.

• various artists - Weird Weird World of Guru Weirdbrain
LP - Hotwire Records - HWLP8505 - IRL - 1985
See Compilations section for full track listing.

• various artists - Live at the Underground
LP - Underground Records - UG 1 - IRL - late 1985 - poster & insert
Recorded live at The Underground, Dublin on 5-6 September 1985.
See Compilations section for full track listing.

• 1st Peel Session
Recorded 14.01.1986, broadcast 22.01.86
The first two tracks are included on the "Unfinished Dreaming" CD.

• 2nd Peel Session
Recorded 13.05.1986, broadcast 26.05.86
The first two tracks are included on the "Unfinished Dreaming" CD.

• Janice Long session
Broadcast 04.08.1986
The first track is included on the "Unfinished Dreaming" CD.

• Sacred Heart Hotel
mini-LP - Rough Trade Records - RTM 173 - UK - Sept 1986
mini-LP - Virgin Records - ??? - France - 1987
Side one consists of the entire 1st Peel Session recorded 14.01.1986
Entered the UK indie album chart on 20.9.86 for a 4 week run, peaking at #11.

• various artists - Moonstruck Christmas Cassette
K7 - Moonstruck Records - MS 005 - IRL - Dec? 1986
See Compilations section for full track listing.

• 3rd Peel Session
Recorded 03.02.1987, broadcast 17.02.87
All four tracks are included on the "Unfinished Dreaming" CD.

• various artists - Planes, Trains and Automobiles OST
LP/CD - MCA Records - 6223 - 1987

• Never Saw You / Widow's Walk
7" - Rough Trade Records - RT 203 - March 1987 - diecut PS

• Holyhead EP
12" - Rough Trade Records - RTT 203 - March 1987
Entered the UK indie singles chart on 23.3.87 for a 10 week run, peaking at #5.

• Rain On The Sea
LP - Rough Trade Records - ROUGH 113 - May 1987
LP - Nuevos Medios/Rough Trade - 43 259 L - Spain - 1987
LP - Rough Trade/Virgin - 70528 - France - 1987
LP - Rough Trade/Victor Records - VIL-28093 - Japan - 1987 - insert+obi
• Sacred Heart Hotel
CD - Rough Trade/Victor Records - VDP 1236 - Japan 1987 - obi
CD - Independent Records - INDCD50 - IRL - October 2005
"Rain On The Sea" combines the Holyhead EP and the Sacred Heart Hotel mini-LP.
It was retitled "Sacred Heart Hotel" for the Independent Records CD release.

• 4th Peel Session
Recorded 17.01.1988, broadcast 27.01.1988
The first and third tracks are included on the "Unfinished Dreaming" CD.

• 2nd Fanning Session 1988
Recorded ??.??.1988
The first two tracks are included on "Unfinished Dreaming".

• Speak Slowly LP - Rough Trade Records - ROUGH 131 - March 1988
LP - Nuevos Medios/Rough Trade - 43 329 L - Spain - 1988
LP - Rough Trade/Festival Records - L30060 - Australia - 1988
CD - Rough Trade Records - ROUGH 131 - March 1988 - with 4 bonus tracks
CD - Independent Records - INDCD51 - IRL - October 2005
Produced by Stephen Street
Entered the UK indie album chart on 25.6.88 for a 4 week run, peaking at #6
Conor Brady (of The Partisans) guests on guitar

• Unfinished Dreaming
CD - Independent Records - INDCD 012 - 1999
Collects the first single, BBC & RTE radio sessions and unreleased 4th LP tracks recorded for Mother Records with Mitch Easter.

The Revenants

From: Dublin

Active: 1992-





• Marry Money EP
CDs - Hunter S.Records - HSRC-001 - 1993
Marry Money
I Remember Us
Capercailye (version)
Horse Of A Different Colour

• Horse of a Different Colour
CD - Hunter S. Records - LONOCD931 - 1993
CD - Independent Records - INDCD008 - IRL - August 1997
Produced by Chris O'Brien
Eileen Gogan guests on "Capercailye" and "William Byrd".

• Septober, Nowonder
CD - Independent Records - INDCD015 - IRL - July 1999
CD - Black Burst Records - BLACKCD001 - UK - 1999
Produced by Conor Brady