Phil Coulter to celebrate 80th birthday in Derry

Phil Coulter says he’s looking forward to enjoying a glass of something special when he celebrates his 80th birthday in Derry in a few months’ time.

Friday, 12th November 2021, 11:46 am
Phil Coulter is looking forward to celebrating his 80th birthday in his hometown of Derry.

The award winning songwriter and performer, who recently toasted yet another chart topper with his single, ‘Dear God’, will be back in the “town he loves so well” in February for a hotly anticipated gig at the Millennium Forum.

And, as coincidence would have it, the performance is scheduled to take place the day before his 80th birthday.

“It’ll be extra special,” he told the ‘Journal’ this week. “Celebrating my 80th in my home town. Yeah, it’s sure to be a special occasion.”

Phil, a towering presence on the world music stage for over 55 years, this week embarks on a new Irish tour - ‘Returning to Tranquility’ - which will see him performing right across the island.

In fact, next week, he’ll be taking to the stage in Donegal at Harvey’s Point, outside Donegal Town (November 17) and the Waterfront Hotel in Dungloe (November 20).

And, it’s a tour he’s looking forward to in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

“The past 20 months have been a tough, tough time for a lot of people,” he says. “Personally, I’ve known nothing like it, particularly the impact it’s had on the entertainment industry. It makes you stop and think and certainly puts things into perspective. A real eye-opener.”

However, never one to rest on his laurels, during lockdown the Derry man seized the social media bull by the horns, live streaming on his Facebook page every Saturday from his “Lockdown Lounge” and posting new tracks every week achieving millions of hits.

Indeed, it’s only a few months since his newest single, ‘Dear God’, went straight to Number 1 in the Easy Listening Charts in Ireland and the UK and No. 5 in the USA.

“When I wrote a piece of music to be performed at my son Ryan’s wedding in Mexico, I never thought for a second that, a few years later it would end up at the top of the charts,” he said. “Originally composed as a solo violin melody, during lockdown I finally got round to writing a lyric. I’d found the perfect voice in fellow Derryman George Hutton so I assembled the orchestra and headed into the studio. The result was ‘Dear God’, about a young couple starting out on their life’s journey. The reaction was beyond what I’d ever expected and completely blew me away. Even for an old hand in the business, getting to the top of the charts again was such a thrill. I mean, how many octogenarians can boast chart entries in every decade since the 1960s?”

Phil Coulter’s remarkable rise has seen him go from modest beginnings on the streets of post-war Derry to the summit of the global charts as a composer to a host of the biggest stars such as Luke Kelly, Cliff Richard, Sandie Shaw and Elvis Presley.

His production credits include Van Morrison, Sinead O’Connor, Elvis Costello, Lisa Stansfield, Marianne Faithful and Richard Harris while, in Ireland, his successes have ranged from the Dubliners to Planxty, from Paddy Reilly to the Furey Brothers.

It’s a huge testament to Phil Coulter that, at 79 years of age and with more than 55 years in the music industry, his ability to adapt and change, particularly in the present climate, remains undiminished.

And, so, to that extra special date in Derry in February.

“Yes, we play theForum on February 18 and my birthday is the day after, so, at the very least, I aim to be in Derry after midnight to enjoy a glass of something special to celebrate what will be, in anyone’s books, a bit of a milestone.

“It’s always special to come home and, in particular, to perform for people who, you know, appreciate what you do. I’m really looking forward to it - the performance as well as the birthday!”