Mary Coughlan

Decades: 1980s 1990s 2000s


5 May 1956, Co. Galway, Eire. This acclaimed Irish singer’s troubled upbringing manifested itself in an erratic career path, including stints as a model and a street-sweeper. After moving to London in the mid-70s, she married and began raising a family, before terminating the union and returning to Galway with her children. She began her singing career in 1984, working with Dutch musician Erik Visser (who became her long-term collaborator). The following year she made an acclaimed appearance on the Late Late Show and recorded her first album, which showcased her powerful and bluesy jazz stylings and became an unexpected bestseller in her native Ireland. Despite her ongoing personal problems, Coughlan continued to reap praise for her recorded output on WEA Records. On Under The Influence she revived the 1948 Peggy Lee hit ‘Don’t Smoke In Bed’ and the Billie Holiday ballad ‘Good Morning Heartache’, as well as Christy Moore’s...

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by Mary Coughlan