John Farry

John Farry is an Irish singer/songwriter from Garrison, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, best known for writing the Irish entry for the 1997 Eurovision Song Contest - a song entitled "Mysterious Woman" which achieved 2nd place.

Farry was born in 1959, in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, the sixth member in a family of seven (four boys and three girls).

Early career

In 1976, John Farry (lead guitar) and his older brother Noel (drums) formed their first band, a country and Irish outfit called "Toledo". The other members of this group included John Lunny (rhythm guitar) and Tom Flanagan (accordion) both natives of Belleek, Co Fermanagh. Following Lunny's tragic death (in a fire which also claimed the lives of other family members), the Farry brothers re-formed the group by inviting a local Cashel girl, Kathleen McKeaney (now Meehan) on board as rhythm guitarist/vocalist. This group flourished on the Irish North West lounge circuit and assumed a harder musical edge following Flanagan's retirement from the business.

As the group continued to be successful, the Farry brothers invited Lavinus Gordon (bass guitar), also a native of Belleek, Co Fermanagh, to join the group and they subsequently re-packaged as "Amarillo" This period saw John Farry's swift development as an accomplished country singer, excelling in both lead and harmony parts. He also developed as a top class band leader who ran a very slick, professional show.

Within the next couple of years, "Amarillo" was augmented by the addition of brilliant lead guitarist, Eugene Cunningham, a native of Belcoo, Co Fermanagh. This outfit prospered and became one of the best country and pop acts in Ulster during this period. John Farry excelled as lead singer with a penchant for top class interpretations of Don Williams, Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard material.

When Cunningham departed from the band to pursue a full-time professional career as a lead guitarist, the ban repackaged under the name 'Tennessee Sunshine'. This group continued to enjoy great success and had just one further change of personnel when drummer Noel Farry retired from the business in 1982. John Farry hired Paul Quinn from Enniskillen as the new skinsman/vocalist and the band continued to go from strength to strength.

In the mid 1980's, John Farry, conscious of the narrowing market for three and four-piece bands, decided to pursue a solo career. His solo career has been a tremendous success, punctuated by his emergence as a top class singer-songwriter.


One of Farry's earliest compositions, "Lough Melvin's Rocky Shore" became a hit for the rising young star from Donegal, Daniel O'Donnell. O'Donnell went on to record a number of John Farry tracks, with "Summertime In Ireland" becoming the Kincasslagh crooner's first number one hit in Ireland in 1987.

Apart from Daniel O'Donnell, Farry's songs have also been recorded by Brendan Quinn, Marc Roberts, Ray Lynam, Michael O'Brien and Mick Flavin.

Farry's songwriting talent received its greatest exposure to date in 1997, when Marc Roberts sang "Mysterious Woman" to No. 2 in the Eurovision Song Contest held in London. John Farry has also recorded in Nashville, Tennessee where he co-wrote with several top Irish and Nashville songwriters.

Today John Farry continues to perform successfully throughout the four Provinces of Ireland and write top class country music songs.

External links

* [ Official website]

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