Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Irelands King of Country passes
Born near Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, Tom McBride was one of four siblings. He left school in his teens to help out on the family farm and later worked in Scotland and England where he started playing music. He later returned to Ireland and continued to play with the band that was to become The Mainliners.
The band appeared on RTÉ's The Showband Show in 1966 with Gentle Mother and the song became a huge hit, establishing Big Tom and the Mainliners at the forefront of the Irish country scene.
They were huge stars in the 60s and 70s, packing out ballrooms around the country and Big Tom became known as "The King" of Irish country music.
In the late 1970s Big Tom had hits included Four Country Roads and Back to Castleblayney.
In 1980, he was presented with a Gold Award for sales of more than one million records.
He was the first inductee into the Irish Country Music Awards Hall of Fame on RTÉ One in June 2016.
President Michael D Higgins described Big Tom as "one of the most charismatic and influential artists in Irish country music".
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