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Top Ten Worst Irish Contributions To Music

Posted March 7, 2013 by Emma Kelly in Music

For such a small country, we have produced a hell of a lot of good music. From The Dubliners to U2, from The Cranberries to Two Door Cinema Club, the Irish have truly made their mark on the global music scene.

However, for every ‘With or Without You’, we have also given the world a ‘Jumbo Breakfast Roll’, and for every groundbreaking Thin Lizzy album, we are obliged to remember we gave Six a record deal. We can pat ourselves on the back for churning out some of the finest musical talent in the world, but we have to take the blame for letting loose some of the worst acts to hit the charts. So in honour of Seachtain na Gaeilge and our upcoming national holiday, Ramp.ie present to you the twelve Top Ten most mortifying musicians to come from good old Éire.


12. The Saw Doctors

Luckily these lads haven’t made too much of a show of us abroad, but they’re still pretty bad. So Oirish it hurts, with an ode to the mot that’s collecting for Concern on Christmas and another to a stretch of road. But it’s all our own fault for encouraging them. Upon its release in 1990, ‘I Useta Lover’ spent nine weeks at number one and became Ireland’s biggest selling single of all time (at the time). But even that wasn’t their worst moment, no. That honour goes to their Sugababes cover. Sufferin’ jaysus.

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11. Jedward

OK, now these lads have made a bit of a show of us abroad. The terrible twins from Lucan got to the live shows in 2009’s The X Factor and instantly annoyed anybody who tuned in. Was it the hair? The faux American accents? The horrendously out-of-sync dancing? However, the lads have kind of redeemed themselves with doing rather well in th’Eurovision, so the hatred has pretty much evaporated. But they’re still on this list, because we will never forget ‘Under Pressure’.

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10. Amanda Brunker

Yes, she may have only had a brief foray into the music world, but those twenty minutes were horrific. At 2011’s Oxegen festival, novelist and former Miss Ireland Brunker saw a gap in the schedule and thought, ‘You know what? I deserve that’. The backlash that came from her selfishly taking the opportunity from real up-and-coming bands was nothing compared to the reaction to her rendition of ‘With Or Without You’. She half-whispered along to the song to the crowd of about twelve that had shown up, and then skipped off stage. Extra points for the bad mam dancing.

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9. The Coronas

Just when we were doing so well with our cool guitar bands going over to the UK, The Coronas had to go and ruin it all. The soundtrack to every Freshers Ball of recent years, the mehness of The Coronas had meant that they had managed to evade any real opposition. Until now, of course. Plus frontman Danny managed to keep Laura Whitmore from us all for years, so that deserves at least a bit of hatred.

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8. The Corrs

The Corrs are obviously capable of witchcraft. It’s the only reason we can think of for their crazy popularity during the ’90s and early ’00s. Andrea must have been able to hypnotize us all with her tin whistle to stop us realising how much of a headcase Jim was. But sure, they’re the ones laughing with their platinum albums and their MBEs hanging up next their bodhráns.

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7. Samantha Mumba

Samantha Mumba was one of the most successful Irish artists in America in the ’00s. She reached number 4 in the Billboard charts. She even toured with Aaron Carter. Let that sink in for a moment. And then go cry over your My Bloody Valentine LPs.

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6. Brian McFadden

Wow Brian, you were so hardcore with your guitars and curse words; practically a Gallagher! For some reason, when Brian left Westlife to pursue an edgier, rockier career, we let him. In retrospect, we should have done all that was in our power to get him a nice office job. But no. We got this song to number one instead.

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5. B*Witched

In the late 1990s, Ireland’s most successful export was not beef or real butter, but four glittery Riverdancers clad head-to-toe in denim. All those years of us trying to dispel the Irish stereotypes that plagued us, wasted in the space of one three-minute Technicolor nightmare. And don’t even get us started on the spoken word part. (‘Some people say I look like me da.’ ‘Are ya serious? Hahahahahahahaha.’)

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4. Boyzone

England had Take That. So we came up with a group of lads that couldn’t sing, couldn’t dance, and weren’t good looking. All they had going for them was five Irish accents, and somehow that managed to sell them 20 millon records since 1993.

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3. Ronan Keating

But at least Boyzone had Stephen Gately (RIP). We all know their biggest crime was spawning Ronan Keating, the solo star. Possibly the world’s most annoying person, Keating has managed to maintain a pretty lucrative career considering he has a very irritating singing voice yet no charisma, he cheated on his lovely wife and he’s generally a douchebag. Plus he sang a cleaned-up version of ‘Fairytale of New York’ which is unforgivable in any self-respecting Irish person’s books.

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2. Crystal Swing

We could have kept the continuing ritual of showbands our dirty little secret. But noooo, these three gobshites managed to get invited onto Ellen. Ellen, we love you, but why did you expose them to the world? Mary, Dervla and Derek are currently selling their Best Of album. Yes, they have made more than one album.

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1. Westlife

We couldn’t be content with having one cheesy boyband blazing the trail in Engerland, oh no. We had to let Louis Walsh put together another one. And this time, he really knew what he was doing. He brought out sharper suits, stools and the rights to Barry Manilow songs to create an Irish band that would overshadow any of our other achievements for the best part of ten years. For introducing the get-up-off-your-stool-for-the-key-change move to the music industry, and forcing Kian Egan onto our tellys, Westlife definitely deserve our number one spot. Congrats lads, you can add that to your 14 other number ones. There’s no justice in the world.

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For more magical musical meanderings, why not read our list of the 14 songs you used to love before you became too cool, or even the 12 things we certainly don’t miss about club culture. Mmm, relevant.


About the Author

Emma Kelly

Emma is currently masquerading as a super-cool Londoner that wears a lot of denim and listens to music you haven't heard of yet. However, the masquerade isn't really working, so she spends most of her time drinking tea and watching middle-aged cookery programmes.

  • http://www.ramp.ie/ Lisa McInerney

    Amanda Brunker. AMANDA BRUNKER. I don’t understand how that was allowed to happen. I mean, I think she’s an obnoxious self-promoter but I was still morto for her.

  • justin

    Boyzone should get a pass for giving us that Late Late footage

  • http://twitter.com/beatingblog Karen Mulreid

    Eh, hello? The Carter Twins? They were TWINS. That looked the SAME. In the same CLOTHES. That was the thing you see, they were TWINS! One of them drives a van now, apparently.

    • http://www.ramp.ie/ Lisa McInerney

      Oh my GOD.

      ‘Until the twelfth of never and that’s a long long time…’


    • http://twitter.com/TooManyEmmas Emma Kelly

      I’d completely forgotten about The Carter Twins, shame on me, the repressed memories are pouring out now…

  • Kevin Lehane

    You lost me by hating on The Corrs. Crazy. They may not be cool but they were never awful.

  • Will

    I am here to support The Corrs. They were musicians, they were talented, they could sign, they seemed genuine. There music was not that bad.

  • Will

    God dam, the could also sing as well as sign.

    • http://twitter.com/TooManyEmmas Emma Kelly

      I will admit that Breathless was a fair aul tune. But then they also had Jim, so it all evens out really.

    • http://www.ramp.ie/ Lisa McInerney


  • http://twitter.com/Sarklor Ciaran O’Brien


    Jaysus. There’s no other word for the names on that list. Jaysus.

    Actually, I was worried there might be a mention of Zig&Zag, but I am pleased to see their absence. Although Dustin can feck off. On the eurovision no less. What were we thinking?

  • http://twitter.com/jennyfoxe Jenny Foxe

    The Sawdoctors what? To my shame, in our local venue on Long Island, this very week. http://www.paramountny.com/shows/saw-doctors/

    • http://www.ramp.ie/ Lisa McInerney

      Some friends of mine went to see them in Boston (we’re from Galway, shuttup) and were asked to leave for singing along too raucously. They just don’t understand THE CRAIC, Jenny.

  • Cuntiness

    Ive a mate who was chatting to Brian mcfadden once…he said Brian said he was terrified of books, the only one he’d read was Roy Keanes autobiography… figures

  • SeanIRL

    Where’s Mike Denver, Derek Ryan, The 3 Amigos and all the other bad Country and Irish acts? They are the worst ever Irish artists imo. I’d listen to a bad boyband anytime before these.

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