Henry McCullough, Northern Irish guitarist, Died at 72

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Henry Campbell Liken McCullough was born on July 21, 1943, in Portstewar and died on June 14, 2016.

He was a Northern Irish guitarist, vocalist and songwriter.

Henry was best known for his work as a member of Spooky Tooth, Paul McCartney & Wings, The Grease Band and Sweeney’s Men.

McCullough also performed and recorded as a solo artist and session musician.

He first became well known in the early 1960s as the teenage lead guitarist with The Skyrockets show band from Enniskillen.

Along with three other members of The Skyrockets in 1964, he left and formed a new showband fronted by South African born vocalist Gene Chetty, which they named Gene and The Gents.

During 1967, he relocated to Belfast where he joined Chris Stewart (bass), Ernie Graham (vocals) and Dave Lutton (drums) to form the psychedelic band The People.

Then, later, that year the band moved to London and were signed by Chas Chandler’s management team, who changed the group’s name to Éire Apparent.

With the help Chandler’s guidance after a single release they toured with groups such as Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, The Move and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, as well as Eric Burdon and the Animals.

Apprently, every went well until in Vancouver, Canada in mid February 1968, while the band was touring with The Animals, Henry McCullough went to The United Kingdom, officially because of ‘visa problems’ and Mick Cox flew out to take his place in the band.

After going back in Ireland McCullough joined what was primarily a folk group called Sweeney’s Men, by May 1968.

With his help, they began to mix folk and rock, and are regarded as the innovators of Folk rock.

After a year in Ireland, McCullough returned to London to work with Joe Cocker as a member of his backing band, the Grease Band.

Along with Cocker he toured the U.S. and performed at the Woodstock Festival.

Henry played on The Grease Band’s eponymous album after leaving Cocker and during his time with the band he also appeared as lead guitarist on Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar (1970) and on the progressive Spooky Tooth album The Last Puff (1970).

During 1971, Paul McCartney asked McCullough to join his new band, Wings, alongside Denny Laine and Denny Seiwell.

Henry McCullough guitar solo on “My Love” has been described as one of rock music’s greatest solos.

The musical differences with McCartney, however, saw McCullough move on the eve of the Band on the Run sessions.

Henry McCullough spent two years in the band, playing lead guitar on “Hi, Hi, Hi”, “Live and Let Die” as well as “My Love”.

Henry McCullough continued to record and perform and released solo material, including Belfast To Boston (2001) and Unfinished Business (2003).

He made his 1998 single, “Failed Christian”.

McCullough performed at concerts in Northern Ireland and Scotland, playing with a backing band (featuring Stephen Quinn on drums and Sean McCarron on saxophone).

McCullough remained active in the European music scene and played regular live gigs with artists including Ed Deane, James Delaney, Noel Bridgeman, also John Quearney.

During 2011, McCullough work with songwriter Paul Doherty and The Vals on the track ‘Look to the One’.

The song when worldwide airplay, with McCullough contributing backing vocals and guitar.

Henry suffered a heart attack in November 2012, leaving him in critical condition.

A benefit concert for Henry McCullough was held at The Half Moon, Putney music venue, featuring Paul Carrack, Nick Lowe, Andy Fairweather Low, Suggs and Bobby Tench who also appeared with the backing band, Henry’s Heroes, on March 17, 2015 The line up of this band included Tim Hinkley, Steve Simpson, Mel Collins, Neil Hubbard, John Halsey and bass player Kuma Harada.

Henry McCullough passed away at 72 yrs old.

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