Famous Bands With Northern Irish Members

From Belle and Sebastian to Whitesnake, Pulp to Paul McCartney's Wings, some of the biggest bands on the planet have relied on the talents of Northern Ireland's finest

Pulp – Candida Doyle

Everyone knows that the members of Pulp grew up in Sheffield and that they include keyboard player Candida Doyle, but only from the age of 10. As her name might suggest, she comes from this side of the Irish Sea – Belfast, to be exact – and she followed her brother Magnus (later to leave) into the band during the mid-1980s, first appearing on their 1987 album Freaks. Her keys and synth lines are a massive part of the band's sound, and her unflustered stage demeanour made a nice contrast with Jarvis Cocker's histrionics. She recently spoke to the BBC about the arthritis that has affected her throughout her entire career.

The Beautiful South – Briana Corrigan

Raised in Belfast and then Portstewart, redheaded singer Briana Corrigan first moved away to study Creative and Performing Arts in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. She began singing with a band called The Anthill Runaways, before the Go! Discs label, who were considering signing them, gave her the chance to sing with a band already on their roster: The Beautiful South. Corrigan went on to appear on three of their albums and the number one single 'A Little Time' before leaving in 1992 to embark on a solo career. That never quite worked out and she later moved to Dublin and switched her focus to acting and writing.

Wings – Henry McCullough

Henry McCullough may only have been a member of Paul McCartney's Wings for a little over 18 months, but his tenure coincided with the most controversial period of the band's 10-year career. His first contribution was on the notorious single 'Give Ireland Back To The Irish', a #16 chart hit in the UK despite being banned by the BBC. Later that year, another single, 'Hi Hi Hi', was also banned by the trigger-happy Auntie Beeb for alleged sex and drugs references, while in 1973 the band had huge success with 'Live And Let Die'. McCullough left shortly afterwards and went on to enjoy a long career as a session player with the likes of Marianne Faithfull, Roy Harper, Donovan and as a solo artist.

Mister Saturday Night – Eamon Harkin

Brooklyn DJ duo Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin run events including their legendary all-day Mister Sunday parties in a New York park, as well as touring (they appeared at Twitch in Belfast last year) and running the Mister Saturday Night record label. Derry man Harkin moved to New York from Northern Ireland in 2004 and soon got involved in the underground dance scene, holding several residencies including one with hip-hop progenitor Afrika Bambaataa, before founding Mister Saturday Night in 2009. The name is now synonymous with quality underground house and techno and unpretentious party vibes.

Dio/Def Leppard/Whitesnake/Thin Lizzy – Vivian Campbell

A bountiful four-in-one here for the much-travelled Steve Claridge of rock, Belfast guitarist Vivian Campbell. After cutting his teeth in NWOBHM band Sweet Savage, he joined Dio in time for the release of their debut album in 1983, before moving on to Whitesnake (in 1987), Def Leppard (in 1992) and, briefly, his favourite band, Thin Lizzy (in 2011) – among others. Now resident in Southern California, he is still a member of Def Leppard and the local celebrity football team, Hollywood FC.

Optimo – Jonnie Wilkes

As far as leftfield, wide-ranging dance music goes, Optimo represent the gold standard. Their long-standing Sunday residency at the Sub Club in Glasgow is the stuff of legend, and nowadays JD Twitch and Jonnie Wilkes are in constant demand as DJs and remixers. They also run their own record label. Wilkes was born in Belfast in 1967 and moved to study at Glasgow School of Art in 1988. He then worked as an artist for several years before committing himself to music. And although he has spent the best part of 30 years in Glasgow, he is a regular sight behind the decks in his home city – sometimes with long-standing partner Twitch, sometimes not.

AnD – Andrew Bowen

Manchester duo AnD are at the heart of the current mania for dark, intense, industrial techno, as propagated by the likes of Perc, Surgeon and Blawan. Their DJ sets are pulverising assaults of funky machine music and their records the same, with a fixation on outer space and science fiction that harks back to the Detroit originators, the likes of Juan Atkins and Jeff Mills. One of the pair is Andrew 'Andro' Bowen, a Carrickfergus native who formed AnD with his compadre, Dmitri, seven years ago after having spent several years in Manchester. Now resident in Berlin, Bowen maintains a close association with ace Belfast techno label DSNT.


Belle and Sebastian – Bobby Kildea

You may think that Belle & Sebastian's literate indie-pop is as Scottish as Irn Bru and battered pizza, but they have a Northern Irish interloper in their midst. When founding member and bassist Stuart David left the band in 2001, it was the shaggy-haired Bobby Kildea – formerly a member of V-Twin – that they turned to. Kildea is from Bangor, but that hasn't stopped him being nicknamed 'Belfast' by the rest of Belle & Sebastian. Their lyrics are more imaginative than their nicknames, then.

The Almighty/Thin Lizzy/Black Star Riders – Ricky Warwick

Here is another Scottish connection, and a bigger one than Belle & Sebastian's Bangor bassist. Based in Glasgow, The Almighty were a fixture on the hard rock scene during the 1990s, touring with Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper and enjoying significant commercial success – seven top 40 singles and two top 20 albums, including 1993's 'Powertrippin'', which reached the heady heights of #5. Their frontman was Ricky Warwick, a Newtownards native who went on to front Thin Lizzy and their spinoff band Black Star Riders, as well as embarking on a solo career. His song 'The Arms Of Belfast Town' has been adopted as something of an anthem by Warwick's beloved Glentoran FC.

Thin Lizzy/Skid Row – Gary Moore

Unlike Vivian Campbell and Ricky Warwick, who have both been members of an ever-changing post-Phil Lynott Thin Lizzy line-up, guitarist Gary Moore was there – on and off – during the band's heyday. After making his name in Dublin band Skid Row (alongside Lynott) in the late 1960s, Moore first joined Lizzy in 1974 to replace founding guitarist Eric Bell, who also hailed from Belfast. He didn't stay long but returned in 1977 and again in 1978, this time staying long enough to play on one of their most successful albums, Black Rose, before leaving again in 1979 to concentrate on his successful solo career. He died a certified guitar legend in 2011, aged 58.