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‘Oh Me, Oh My’: Masculinity, Popular Music and Reviving Joe Dolan

  • Méabh Ní Fhuartháin
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Abstract

This essay explores the projection and reception of masculinity in the revival of Joe Dolan’s singing career in Ireland from the mid-1990s. The discussion examines diverse cultural performances up to his unexpected death in 2007 and the contexts in which his success continued postmortem. Following a discussion of Joe’s early career, I consider Dolan’s late album releases, which coincided with the emergence of the Celtic Tiger. The intersection between a changed national cultural space and Dolan’s revitalized popularity sheds light on the reconfiguration of the past executed in the present. My second point of critical engagement develops these ideas further, looking at the use of the Dolan hit ‘You’re Such a Good Looking Woman’ in the 2007 Meteor phone campaign and offers an opportunity to explore the transformation of his celebrity status within a culture of zealous Tiger consumption. This campaign was significant in acknowledging and consolidating Joe’s place within the wider sphere of popular culture in Ireland to both older and newer fan bases. Finally, I discuss how, since his demise on St Stephen’s Day (26 December) 2007, Dolan’s persona continues to be drawn upon in a variety of contexts including The Joe Dolan Reunion Tour and the theatre production, The Night Joe Dolan’s Car Broke Down. Collectively, these performative moments are identified as key points in an Irish cultural soundtrack during the period 1990 to 2010, offering a window on Joe Dolan, masculinity and popular music in Ireland.

Keywords

Popular Culture Popular Music Dance Hall Celtic Tiger Eurovision Song Contest 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    For further information on showbands see Vincent Power, Send ‘Em Home Sweatin’ (Dublin: Kildanore Press, 1990); Finbar O’Keefe, Goodnight, God Bless Google Scholar
  2. and Safe Home (Dublin: O’Brien Press, 2002); and Gerry Smyth, ‘Showband dreams’ in Noisy Island: a Short History of Irish Popular Music (Cork: Cork University Press, 2005), 11–24.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    For a complete record of Dolan’s Top Ten hits in Ireland to 1979 see Eddie Kelly, The Complete Guide to Ireland’s Top Ten Hits (Dublin: Original Writing, 2009), 113–14.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Smyth, Noisy Island: a Short History of Irish Popular Music (Cork: Cork University Press, 2005), 12.Google Scholar
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    Martin McCloone, Film, Media and Popular Culture in Ireland: Cityscapes, Landscapes, Soundscapes (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2008), 166. Dolan’s most memorable exception to this is ‘The Westmeath Bachelor’ (Pye Records, 1968).Google Scholar
  12. 18.
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© Méabh Ní Fhuartháin 2014

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  • Méabh Ní Fhuartháin

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