Good Vibrations Return to Belfast

Belfast record shop and label opens for business after an absence of 15 years. Click Play Audio to listen to 'The Wedding' by The Minnows

The most famous record label and shop in Northern Irish history is back in business after an absence of more than 15 years.

Belfast's Good Vibrations, which made its name as an independent record shop and recording label in the late 1970s, has re-opened its doors to the public. 

The re-opening rounds off a memorable year for founder and owner Terri Hooley, who this year received the Legend Award at the Fate Magazine Awards and saw work begin on a film of his life. 

Leonard Cohen's Happy Compared to MeThe first album release on the new Good Vibrations label is The Minnows' Leonard Cohen's Happy Compared To Me.

'The Minnows and Good Vibrations go back a long way,' says Hooley. 

'The launch of the band’s new album is another important milestone in the company’s revival, particularly as it’s one of the best albums from these parts in many years. It’s music for today’s generation and I think it will open a few eyes and ears.' 

The Minnows singer and principle songwriter Michael Rafferty is also thrilled with the release.

'Terri has always been very supportive of the band and we're all very excited about the album launch. From a band perspective, the album is the best collection of music that the Minnows have created to date, and for it to be the first Good Vibrations release in 17 years makes it extra special for us.

'The fact that Terri likes it so much, considering his history and knowledge of the music business, means a lot to us. 

'We might not have the punk rock sound that Good Vibrations is famously associated with, but Terri will tell you himself that, as a band, The Minnows have a self-help ethic that epitomises what the label is all about - getting of your butt and doing things for yourself.'

Now operating out of a three-story building in Belfast’s Winetavern Street, Good Vibrations began life in 1977 from a derelict building in Great Victoria Street, which quickly became a hub for musicians and artists looking for an escape from the Troubles.

The arrival of the punk rock era saw Hooley release his first singles on the Good Vibrations label, which Terri Hooley with Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrolfamously included ‘Teenage Kicks’ by The Undertones, a song that propelled the young band from the streets of Derry to stardom and the record label to global recognition. Other bands on the label at that time included Rudi, The Outcasts and Protex.

Whilst music was definitely Hooley’s great passion in the early days, business unfortunately was not and the store closed its doors in 1992. 

Since then Hooley has run a number of record shops, including Vintage Records, which was destroyed along with 23 other businesses when the North Street Arcade burned to the ground in April 2004. 

Cruelly, Hooley lost his priceless record collection and the history of Good Vibrations in the blaze. 

Hooley's excitement at the re-opening of his beloved Good Vibes in July 2008 was impossible to hide.

'I’m not often lost for something to say but words cannot describe how thrilled I am to be going back to my roots and re-opening Good Vibrations. The past year has been brilliant and I’m delighted to be making records again on the Good Vibes label.' 

Leonard Cohen's Happy Compared to Me is released on Good Vibrations in September, 2008.