In a brand new series, Maxi meets with some well-known people in Irish society who share with her six songs that through a lifetime have won a special place in their hearts, beginning with songwriting maestro, Brendan Graham


Father Dickens by Johnny McEvoy. This takes me to the Sixties, it’s my first ever lyric. Like many Irish I took the mail boat to Holyhead. I wasn’t earning a lot so my dinners would be dumpling soup, there was eating and drinking in it!
The Beatles were all the rage. I was fascinated by the character of Father McKenzie in Eleanor Rigby and thought he should have a song to himself. So, on a red serviette I scratched out lyrics to Father Dickens. I sent them to Tommy Swarbrigg, who was writing songs in Joe Dolan’s band, and I headed off to Australia.
At Christmas, I received in the post Johnny McEvoy’s With an Eye to Your Ear album and there was Father Dickens with music by Tommy and Jimmy Swarbrigg, and an orchestral arrangement by Bill Somerville-Large. I never cashed the royalty cheque. It’s here, and it was for one pound one shilling and five pence.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids by Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan.
I went to a Fats Domino concert in Dublin. Fats was boogieing away with all his hits and the people in the audience got up to dance in the aisles.
It hit me that underneath whatever exterior they portrayed, they were all rock and roll kids.
So, I borrowed a pen from the guy beside me and wrote down the title on the back of the purple entrance ticket stub. I never thought of it as a Eurovision song, and for the first two years that I submitted it, neither did R.T.E.

Continued in this week’s issue