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Brendan Wade

Bell and Wade Brendan was born into a very musical family in the south-east Ireland town of Wexford. He took up music as a career playing Irish traditional and folk music and in the 1980s he became lead singer with Cry Before Dawn. After the band went their seperate ways, Brendan teamed-up with singer/songwriter Paul Bell forming a band called the Wild Swans. Their song "Dancing at the Crossroads" was used as the anthem for the Wexford Hurling Team, who won the All-Ireland Final in September 1996, and reached number 1 in the Irish charts! "The Hurling Songs E.P" Cassette and "Where The Winners Go" CD are sometimes on sale in the Book Centre in Wexford.
Brendan in 2001, taken from http://www.paddyobriens.ch During 1997 & 1998 the Wild Swans toured Ireland before changing their name to The Swans, entering the Irish charts in March 1999. At 11.45am on 15th April 1999 The Swans played a 15 minute live set on the Gerry Ryan morning show on Ireland's "2FM". They played two songs from their new album and a version of "The Miracle of Love" by Eurythmics. Apparently people were ringing the station all day to find out more about the band. They released the album "Photographs and Letters" on 24th May 1999 (right & below), which was the commercial release of their 14-track album "Misty-Eyed and Blue". To promote the album they toured first with Mike And The Mechanics and then, in Oct-Dec of 1999, they supported David Essex on a 55 date UK tour. Photographs and Letters
 
gracd246 photo
Click for full-size image
In 1998 Brendan played uilleann pipes on the Angelo Branduardi album "Il Dito E La Luna". Brendan played a pub gig on 12th February 2001 and the photo, left, was taken from the publicity on their website (http://www.paddyobriens.ch).
Solitaire album "Solitaire" is a cover of the Neil Sedaka/Phil Cody song, originally the title-track of Sedaka's 1972 album (left), on which Graham Gouldman played bass, guitar, and provided vocals. On the Wild Swans release, Neil Sedaka was quoted as saying "I am truly flattered that The Wild Swans have chose to not only release 'Solitare' but that they have given it such a wonderful and original treatment". More recently the song was released on Tuesday 16th March 2004 by RCA in the US sung by Clay Aiken (2003 "American Idol" runner-up), and debuted at No 1 on the Nielsen SoundScan U.S. Singles Sales chart for the week ended 21st March 2004 after selling 100,500 copies.
 
"Want You To Go" was written by Franciz and LePont - a writing team who have written and produced for the Backstreet Boys and No Angels amongst others.
 
Mirror Mirror album Wild Seed CD album "Ready To Go Home" was written by Andrew Gold & Graham Gouldman (from '10cc'), who together formed the band 'Wax', and released on the 10cc album "Mirror Mirror" (left) in 1995. In the same year Morten Harket included the song on his album "Wild Seed" (left). The song was produced by Chris Neil who also produced the Bell & Wade singles, "Ready To Go Home" being their last with Grapevine in 2000.
 
After leaving "Bell and Wade", Brendan chose to take a few steps back out of the limelight to spend time with his family. He still got great pleasure out of being a musician and sings and plays uilleann pipes, guitar, bouzouki, and whistles, mainly as a session musician for more traditional Irish bands around Europe.
 
See his new website for further info: http://www.brendanwade.com/.
 
2010 saw him concentrating on Cry Before Dawn once again and the reformed band toured Ireland to sell-out dates in the spring of 2011.
 

The Grapevine Label Ltd was a division of the Ritz Music Group PLC and, before they both 'mysteriously' vanished, their website had a biography of Bell & Wade:
 
A Real True Life Story
Every once in a while you hear one of those songs which you know you will listen to a thousand times over and never tire of. Even less frequently you come across a new artist who is able to deliver a succession of these future classics that sound as brilliant on stage as they do on a meticulously crafted album. Whilst Paul Bell and Brendan Wade with their emotionally charged and fresh new album 'Real True Life Story' fit the bill perfectly, theirs is not a fairytale overnight success story. Paul and Brendan are two exceptionally talented musicians from Wexford in Ireland who knew each other as kids but first teamed up in Paul's home studio in London in 1994. Both had led successful groups and were looking for a new direction. They swiftly found that they shared the same musical vision and started writing songs together.
 
Under the name The Wild Swans; the title of their favourite poem by W.B. Yeats, they soon scored their first number one hit in Ireland. An extraordinary achievement given that at the time they had no record label, no distributor and did not press a single CD. 'Dancing At The Crossroads' was sold on cassette only and personally distributed to retailers by the band and their friends. Somehow they managed to meet the demand and achieved the unthinkable when they knocked the Spice Girls 'Wannabe' off their Number One spot.
 
Buoyed by the commercial acceptance of their first release Paul and Brendan dropped the 'Wild' from their group name; perhaps a subliminal pointer to their evolving style of haunting melodies and emotional lyrics, as they went on to record a highly acclaimed album 'Photographs & Letters' for the Grapevine label with George Michael's producer Chris Porter. Last year The Swans, replete with their extremely accomplished band toured the UK and Europe first with Mike & the Mechanics then with David Essex. Night after night they won the rapturous audience applause normally reserved for major headline artists and they sold more CD's at those concerts than any previous artist on such concerts. Simply by word of mouth with no radio exposure the 'Photographs & Letters' album has sold over 30,000 copies in the UK - no mean achievement in the absence of media support.
 
Word of The Swans success reached the ears of Chris Neil the producer responsible for enormous worldwide hits with numerous artists ranging from Celine Dion and Rod Stewart to Mike & The Mechanics. Chris Neil's superlative production was the final ingredient which finely honed their pop sensibilities and enabled Paul & Brendan to evolve into the creative unit they first envisioned back in 1994 at Paul's home studio.
 
In the process of recording material for the new album they surpassed the need to cloak themselves with impersonal group names and now, for the first time they present themselves to the world as what they were always destined to be: Bell & Wade - a musical union forged from the distinctive individual styles and influences of the two constituents into a distinctive, sophisticated duo writing and performing well crafted songs that whilst paying homage to their musical heritage are without risk of ever being a cliche; of the genre. 'Real True Life Story' - Is a wonderful collection of haunting melodies and emotional lyrics combining the influence of Irish tradition but dominated by a contemporary feel which sounds as much at home cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway as it is does on a fresh Wexford summer morning.

 
The Deeper Background
Although both Paul and Brendan hail from Wexford on the Southeast coast of Ireland, they didn't work together until the mid 1990's, by which time both had tasted success with their own bands on opposite sides of the Irish sea. As a child Paul had wanted to be a footballer, an actor or a musician. He opted for the latter, and despite the fact he couldn't read music his skill as a pianist landed him a place at the prestigious Royal Irish Academy. Tracing the footsteps of his uncle who composed the Wexford evergreen 'Carrig River' Paul wrote the poignant Wexford anthem 'The purple and gold' which is reportedly still the most played song at weddings and funerals in Ireland. He formed his first band The Lookalikes in his late teens but soon upped sticks for London and a life of poverty in Stoke Newington, living in a haunted house, running a recording studio in his flat. There he formed Zerra One, recording two albums for Phonogram the first of which was produced in New York by Todd Rundgren. Zerra One achieved an encouraging level of commercial success in Europe and performed all over the world with artists of diverse styles such as U2, The Cure, Peter Gabriel, Ultravox, and Squeeze. The calibre of those artists who invited him to perform is ample testimony to the respect which his musicianship commanded among his fellow artists. During this time Paul also produced and recorded a demo for a local Wexford rock band called Cry Before Dawn which featured Brendan as lead singer.
 
Brendan Wade's family also endows him with a rich and varied musical heritage including an uncle who won the All Ireland Accordion Championships. Showing his own prowess in traditional music, at 17 Brendan won an Irish tin whistle competition. It is therefore perhaps no coincidence to find that same traditional whistle features strongly on Bell & Wade's debut single 'Want you to go'. After Brendan joined his local band Cry Before Dawn as lead singer the demo Paul had produced soon found its way to the Irish division of Sony Music, who immediately signed the band. Cry Before Dawn quickly went from strength to strength in Ireland, picking up two IRMA Awards for Best New Band and Best Irish Band, enjoying top five success with singles and two albums, touring with Squeeze and Big Country and playing the biggest arenas in Ireland. Sony Music sent the band to Los Angeles to record a new album. But for one reason or another it just didn't work out and the band inexplicably unravelled at their peak.
 
Meanwhile, back in London Zerra One moved on and Paul had formed Ashes & Diamonds, an innovative band which began to explore his own Irish roots and scored tremendous success with US college radio stations. With Brendan just gigging around Dublin, both men seemed unsure of their next step. Paul heard on the musical grapevine that Brendan was at a loose end playing sessions in Dublin pubs and he wrote to Brendan inviting him to visit London and write some songs together. It's often said that 'timing is all' and certainly that fateful letter played the timely hand which finally brought Bell & Wade together.

Brendan's discography (more information as I get it):

The Wild Swans

sorry.gif 150x150 If I Only Had Time, C283
1995 Ritz Records.
 
If I Only Had Time, Our Time Again, Hand In Hand
 
Take Me Back - CD single Take Me Back, CARRIG CD 1 In my collection
1995 Carrig Records
 
Take Me Back (4:02), It'll End In Tears (4:50)
 
Both tracks Written by Bell/Wade, Produced by Paul Bell; Brendan Wade: lead vocals on 1, backing vocals on 2, acoustic guitar; Paul Bell: lead vocals on 2, backing vocals on 1, accordian & piano.
 
Possibly also released on cassette CARRIG C1 with different track listing
Solitaire - CD single Solitaire, CARRIG CD 2 In my collection
1996 Carrig Records
 
Solitaire (4:41), Like lovers Do (4:06)
 
1 Written by Sedaka/Cody; lead vocals & piano: Brendan Wade; piano: Paul Bell; guitar: Erwin Keiles; string arrangements: Paul Bell/Andrew Higgins. 2 Written by Bell/Wade; lead vocals, accordian & piano: Paul Bell; backing vocals & acoustic guitar: Brendan Wade. Both tracks Produced by Paul Bell.
 
Possibly also released on cassette CARRIG C2
 
Hometown - CD single Hometown, CARRIG CD 3 In my collection
1996 Carrig Records, available through Grapevine
 
Hometown (3:40), Don't Let It Fade Away (4:42), Let Me Be The One (4:34)
 
1 Written by Bell/Wyatt/Wade. 2 & 3 Written by Bell/Wade. Vocals, acoustic guitar: Brendan Wade; vocals, accordian & piano: Paul Bell; banjo & mandolin: Anthony Warde. All tracks Produced & Engineered by Paul Bell at The Sound Chamber Studio, London.
 
Possibly also released on cassette MC4
 
Misty-Eyed And Blue - CD Album Misty Eyed And Blue, CAR CD 05 In my collection
1996 Carrig Records, available through Grapevine
 
Dancing At The Crossroads (4:13), Hometown (3:57), Hand in Hand (4:24), Darling You're The Best Thing (3:59), Misty-Eyed And Blue (3:28), Take Me Back (4:17), The Purple And Gold (5:08), Hands Of Love (3:50), Winter's Day (4:06), Like Lovers Do (4:04), Forever On Her Mind (3:34), It'll End In Tears (5:11), This Is My Home (3:38), The Dawn Lament (5:21).
 
All tracks Written by Bell/Wade, except 2 (Bell/Wyatt/Wade), 8 & 14 (Bell); Recorded at The Sound Chamber Studio, London, 1995-1996; Engineered by Paul Bell; Mastered by Dr. John Milner at Digital Doctor.
 
Cass 3 The Hurling Songs E.P. Cass 3 In my collection
1996 Carrig Records
 
Side 1: Dancing At The Crossroads '96, The Purple And Gold; Side 2: Dancing At The Crossroads '68, Carrig River
 
1 & 3 Words and Music Bell/Wade, 2 Words Bell/Wade, Music Bell, 4 Trad. arranged Bell/Wade; Produced by Paul Bell.
 
This song was the anthem for the Wexford Hurling Team, who won the All-Ireland Final in September 1996, and reached number 1 in the Irish charts!
sorry.gif 150x150 Spirits (Promo), GRACD 237
 
If I Only Had Time, Spirits Of History, Here To Stay, Hands Of Love
 
I found this for sale on the web but when I tried to order it they said it had been misplaced and would contact me if it surfaced during the next stock-take.
 
sorry.gif 150x150 Spirits, GRACD/MC 237
 
If I Only Had Time, Spirits Of History, Here To Stay, Hands Of Love, + ????
 
I am not aware of any evidence to suggest that this was ever released.
 
Here To Stay - CD single Here To Stay, CDGPS 238 In my collection
1998 The Grapevine Label Ltd.
 
Here To Stay (3:40), Don't Let It Fade Away (4:45)
 
Both tracks Written by Bell/Wade. 1 Produced by Chris Porter, 2 Produced by Paul Bell.
 
Sleeve notes state tracks taken "from the new album SPIRITS".
If I Only Had Time CD single If I Only Had Time, DPGPS 239 In my collection
1998 The Grapevine Label Ltd.
 
If I Only Had Time (4:01), Don't Let It Fade Away (4:52)
 
Both tracks Written by Bell/Wade. 1 Produced by Chris Porter; lead vocals: Brendan Wade; backing vocals, piano, keyboards, accordian, & bass: Paul Bell; guitars: Phil Palmer; drums & percussion: Andy Duncan; keyboard programming & Assistant Engineer: Steve McNichol. 2 Produced by Paul Bell; lead vocals & piano: Paul Bell; backing vocals: Brendan Wade; guitars: Phil Palmer.
 
Sleeve notes state tracks taken "from the album SPIRITS (GRACD/MC 237)".
 
CD005 Where The Winners Go (Limited Edition 2001), CD 005 In my collection
2001 Carrig Records
 
Where The Winners Go (4:29), The Purple And Gold (5:10), Dancing At The Crossroads '96 (4:10)
 
1 Music & Lyrics - Bell, 2 Music - Bell, Lyrics - Bell/Wade, 3 Music & Lyrics - Bell/Wade; Produced by Paul Bell

The Swans

If I Only Had Time CD single If I Only Had Time, CDGPS 247 In my collection
1999 The Grapevine Label Ltd., Due for release on 29th January 1999.
 
If I Only Had Time, Winter's Day
 
Both tracks written by Bell/Wade; Produced by Chris Porter

 
This song reached number 18 on the Irish charts on 13th February 1999 (went down to no' 30 on 20th February)
Photographs and Letters CD Photographs and Letters, GRACD 246 In my collection
1999 The Grapevine Label Ltd., Released 24th May 1999.
 
If I Only Had Time, Real True Life Story, Dead End Street^, Goodbye My Friend*, Darling You're The Best Thing, Misty-Eyed And Blue, Here To Stay, Forever On Her Mind, Spirits Of History, Dawn Lament
 
Produced and Engineered by Chris Porter

 
Paul Bell: Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Bass & Accordian; Brendan Wade: Vocals, Uillean Pipes and Whistles; Additional Musicians: Phil Palmer (Guitar), Andy Duncan (Drums, Percussion & Drum Programming), Paul Turner (Bass Guitar)*, Chris Cameron (Orchestral Arrangements), Dave Stewart (Keyboards)^
 
Dead End Street CD single Dead End Street, CDGPS 251 In my collection
1999 The Grapevine Label Ltd.
 
Dead End Street (3:58), Hands Of Love (4:04)
 
1 Written by Bell/Wade, 2 Written by Bell; Produced by Chris Porter
Real True Life Story CD single Real True Life Story, CDGPS 259 In my collection
1999 The Grapevine Label Ltd.
 
Real True Life Story (4:00), Winter's Day (4:05)
 
Written by Bell/Wade; Produced by Chris Porter

Bell & Wade

Want You To Go Promo CD Single Want You To Go (Promo), CDGPR 286 In my collection
2000 The Grapevine Label Ltd.
 
Want You To Go
 
Written by Franciz & Lepont; Produced by Chris Neil
Want You To Go CD Single Want You To Go, CDGPS 286 In my collection
2000 The Grapevine Label Ltd.
 
Want You To Go, Want You To Go (Sunshine State 12"), Want You To Go (Sunshine State 7")
 
Written by Franciz & Lepont; Produced by Chris Neil; 2 & 3 additional Production and remix by Sunshine State at Hatch Farm Studios
Ready To Go Home CD Single Ready To Go Home, CDGPS 293 In my collection
2000 The Grapevine Label Ltd.
 
Ready To Go Home (3:48), Goodbye My Friend (4:02), Ready To Go Home (Album Version) (4:34)
 
1 & 3 Written by G.Gouldman/A.Gold, Produced by Chris Neil; 2 Written by Bell/Wade, Produced by Chris Porter

 


Ireland Chart Placings
 
Group Entry Date Song Highest
position
Weeks
on chart
The Wild Swans 1st August 1996 The Hurling Songs No.1 (3wks) 11 wks
7th August 1997 The Purple And Gold No.5 4 wks
11th June 1998 Here To Stay No.19 2 wks
The Swans 4th February 1999 If I Only Had Time No.18 3 wks

 

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