It’s hard to believe, but exactly 25 years ago in 1987, in a rented farmhouse in Galway, The Stunning were born. All the songs that appeared on their first album Paradise In The Picturehouse were written and rehearsed in that house. To mark their 25th Anniversary the band will get together and perform the album in it’s entirety for a Christmas spectacular featuring very special guests The Pale.
During the early nineties the biggest Irish band in the world was U2, but in Ireland it was The Stunning. In the seven years that The Stunning were together, they toured relentlessly building up a following that would make them one of the most successful Irish bands ever. In 1990 their debut album Paradise In The Picturehouse spent five weeks at number one and became one of the most-loved Irish albums of all time. Two years later, the follow up Once Around The World also hit the No. 1 spot, and the band went on to sell over 100,000 albums in Ireland alone. During their time, the band enjoyed numerous Top 20 singles and scooped every music prize and award going. Irish radio & TV championed the band and they were rarely off the airwaves.
The band formed in 1987 and broke up in 1994, but despite the passing of time, their popularity has never waned. Songs such as “Half Past Two”, “Romeo’s on Fire”, and “Everything that Rises” are still to be heard on the radio and have been featured in movies and numerous compilation abums of the best of Irish rock. “Brewing Up A Storm” has become an anthem of sorts and is to be heard everywhere from football stadiums to clubs around the country where it is still a guaranteed floor-filler. Ireland’s current President Michael D. Higgins is a huge fan and even guested on the band’s Tightrope album and The Stunning supported him throughout his 2011 presidential campaign.
During the late eighties and early nineties the band frequently toured in the US and the UK and also supported the likes of Bob Dylan, The B52’s and the Waterboys. It seemed that international fame and stardom would naturally follow, but this was not to be. After a series of business dissappointments and a lack of progress internationally the band became frustrated and decided to split up. Their music never got a release outside of Ireland. They played an emotional farewell tour in 1994 and met crying fans all over the country for whom The Stunning had provided the soundtrack to their teenage years. Then they went their separate ways.
All the band members are still actively making music. Frontmen Steve & Joe found success with The Walls and released their third album Stop the Lights in March 2012. Guitarist Derek Murray played for years with The Sawdoctors and now teaches recording in the west of Ireland. Cormac Dunne is a renowned and in-demand session drummer, while multi-instrumentalist Jim Higgins plays bodhran with some of Irleland’s best traditional acts such as Altan and Mairtin O’Connor.
In 2003 the band reunited for the first time to promote the re-release of Paradise in the Picturehouse on The Walls Dirtbird Records label. The album sold out in the first three days, reaching No. 2 and the tour that followed was one of the biggest in the country that year. They played four sold-out nights in Dublin’s Vicar St. venue as well as packing venues thoughout the country on a 14-date tour. After that they decided they would reform every two years as the demand was so high and have since played to capacity crowds at the Electric Picnic and other festivals and venues throughout Ireland.
Paradise in the Picturehouse and Tightrope have been re-issued on Dirtbird Records and are available in record shops, from www.thestunning.net and from iTunes.
The live shows feature all the massive hit tracks and the band line-up comprises all the original members.