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The Stunning

From: Galway

Active: 1987-1994

Style: Rock

Lineup:

Bio:

Formed by brothers Steve and Joe Wall, The Stunning mixed rock, country, some rockabilly, and a twangy guitar sound to good effect on their early singles, while the country influence is less prominent on their later records. Enormously popular in Ireland but virtually unknown elsewhere, it was probably this lack of international success which ultimately led to their demise in 1994.



The Walls family moved from London (where Steve was born) to Dublin (aged 6) and finally, when Steve was 14, to Ennistymon, Co.Clare. Steve Wall was interested in pursuing a career in acting rather than music but this was not to be (he later auditioned for the part of lead singer Deco Cuffe in The Commitments). He and Cormac Dunne were in Galway Band New Testament in 1982-83. This band included Eamonn Dowd, later of the Swinging Swine. The Stunning formed in Galway in 1987. They were managed by Padraig Boran. They made a huge impact with their first single, "Got To Get Away", which seemed to predict the rise of alt.country. The second single was followed by the The Half Past Tour of Ireland in August 1988, which took them all over the country. Live, they sometimes worked with a brass section and with a backing singers called The Stunnettes.


 

This hard-working approach to live work is what broke the band in Ireland and saw their debut LP "Paradise in the Picturehouse" enter the Irish charts at #8 on it's release in 1990. It was #1 for five weeks and eventually sold about 60,000 copies in Ireland. This was a remarkable achievement for a self-financed album. Despite this success, the band was never able to get ahead financially. They never attracted major label support (Mother Records was among the labels that turned them down) and there was a perception that they would not be successful in the UK, where the debut was released in September 1990. Later, Steve Wall reflected that the band should probably have relocated to the USA. More Irish hit singles followed during 1991, followed by a second album "Once Around The World" in 1992, round about the time the debut was receiving it's Japanese release. There was a live album "Tightrope" in 1993, and a US tour the same year, but mounting debts and a lack of success internationally (and the financial independence that success would have brought them ) led to the decision to split up in 1994. They played their farewell gig at Féile '94 followed by two nights where it all began, at Galway's Warwick Hotel - two nights deemed necessary to make sure everyone could get in. A greatest hits packing "Milking The Hits" followed in 1994.


 

The official website has a good overview of the band. Donal Duggan & Ronan Kavanagh were early members of the band. After the split, Steve & Joe Wall formed The Walls. Jimmy Higgins played sessions (Paul Brady a.o.) and eventually he and Derek Murray became Saw Doctors. Cormac Dunne became involved in various dance-music projects. The Stunning reformed for live shows in recent years, coinciding with the reissue program of their albums on their own Earshot label.



Discography

• Got To Get Away / Smalltown Playboy
7" - Solid Records - ROC 713 - 1988 - PS
Entered the Irish charts on 23 June 1988 for a 2 week run, peaking at #17



• Half Past Two / Hero On The Beach
7" - Solid Records - ROC 717 - August 1988 - PS
12" - Solid Records - ROKT 717 - 1990 - different PS
• Half Past Two (radio edit) / Half Past Two (original)
CDS - Solid Records - ??? - 19?? - PS, promo
2-track promo CD single in card sleeve, same front cover design as original single
Entered the Irish charts on 15 September 1988 for a 4 week run, peaking at #19

Does the 12-inch version have extra tracks? Contact Us us if you know.



• Half Past Two / Got To Get Away / Spotty Wimple
CDS - Solid Records - ROCD? ??? - 19??


• Romeo's On Fire / Spotty Wimple
7" - Solid Records - ROK 719 - 1988 - PS
Entered the Irish charts on 9 March 1989 for a 2 week run, peaking at #24



• various artists - Solid Citizens
K7 - Solid Records - ROCC 1 - 1988
See Compilations section for full track listing.


• Brewing Up A Storm / All I Can Do
7" - Solid Records - ROK 729 - 1989 - PS
• Brewing Up A Storm / This Happy Girl
7" - Solid Records - ROK 729 - 1991 - different PS and B-side
Repressed in 1991 with a different B-side and cover artwork
• Brewing Up A Storm / This Happy Girl / An Empty Feeling
CDS - Solid Records - ROCD 729 - 1991



• Paradise in the Picturehouse
LP - Solid Records - ROCK 5 - June 1990 - inner sleeve
K7 - Solid Records - ROCC 5 - June 1990 - inner sleeve, resequenced
CD - Polystar Records - PSCW 1083 - Japan - 1992 - obi
CD - Earshot Records - SHOTCD7 - 2003 - remix with 3 bonus tracks
Spent 5 weeks at #1 in the Irish album charts.

Notes:
The band's debut LP spent 5 weeks at #1 in the Irish album charts and eventually went platinum but remained more-or-less unknown outside Ireland.
Issue #1 of the fanclub magazine The Bin (December 1990) mentions a 'Christmas Cracker' edition of Paradise in the Picturehouse which includes a free 3-song cassette, which was also issued separately for the sake of those who already had the album. This is undoubtedly the Merry Christmas Baby EP, which was also pressed as a 7-inch (see below) but if you know any more details about the freebie edition, please get in touch.



• Merry Christmas Baby EP
7" - Solid Records - ROK-734 - 1990 - PS?
K7 - Solid Records - ROK-734 - 1990
Entered the Irish charts on 20 December 1990 for a 2 week run, peaking at #24

Notes:
Created as a freebie for the 'Christmas Cracker' edition of the Paradise in the Picturehouse album (see above) but also issued separately. Are the regular and freebie editions idential? If you know, please get in touch.



• Heads / Heads (The Knockout Mix)
7" - Solid Records - ROK 738 - 1991 - PS
An excellent promo video was made for this track.
Entered the Irish charts on 14 March 1991 for a 7 week run, peaking at #5



• Everything That Rises / Town for Sale
7" - Solid Records - ROK 754 - 1992 - PS
Entered the Irish charts on 7 March 1992 for a 8 week run, peaking at #6



• Once Around The World
LP - Solid Records - ROCK 10 - April 1992 - inner
CD - Solid Records - ROCD 10 - April 1992
Reached #1 in the Irish LP charts.



• She's On My Mind / Frank The Tramp
7" - Solid Records - ROK 758 - 1992 - PS
• She's On My Mind / Frank The Tramp / All Out Of Luck
CDS - Solid Records - ROCD 758 - 1992 - PS
Entered the Irish charts on 2 July 1992 for a 3 week run, peaking at #12



• Mr.Ginger / I Wish We'd Never Met
7" - Solid Records - ROK-762 - 1992
• Mr.Ginger / I Wish We'd Never Met / Turn It On (live)
K7 - Solid Records - ROK-762 - 1992
• Mr.Ginger / I Wish We'd Never Met / Turn It On (live) / Tired Of All That
CDS - Solid Records - ROCD-762 - 1992
Entered the Irish charts on 15 October 1992 for a 2 week run, peaking at #22


• Deja Voodoo EP
K7 - Solid Records - ROK768 - 1993
A Rainy Day Production licensed to Solid Records, 1993
Entered the Irish charts on 26 August 1993 for a 6 week run, peaking at #8

Notes: Four tracks, all covers. 1 recorded at Roseland Studio, Moate, Co.Westmeath; 2-4 recorded at West One Studios, Galway.



• Tightrope Walker EP
CDS - Solid Records - ROCD-777? - 1993
Recorded live at An Taibhdhearc, Galway, July 1993.

Notes: First two tracks off the forthcoming Tightrope album; the other 3 are non-LP.



• Tightrope
CD - Solid Records - ROCD13 - 1993
CD - Dirtbird Records - ??? - 2006
Recorded live at An Taibhdhearc in Galway in July 1993.

Notes:
"The Mountain" features Irish T.D. ("and self-righteous pain in the arse"-- political editor) Michael D.Higgins reciting one of his poems with backing music provided by the band; this track was not included on the 2006 reissue.





• Milking The Hits (Best Of)
K7 - Solid Records - ROCC-15 - 1994
CD - Solid Records - ROCD-15 - 1994
CD+Video - Solid Records - ROCD-15 / none - 1994 - Numbered Limited Edition
A limited number of CDs came with a free VHS video cassette titled "Milking The Videos"

   



The Grateful Dead, Ennistymon, 1989


The Stunning & The Walls - Brewing Up A Galway Storm
CDEP - Hot Press - ??? - 2007
6 track EP given away free with Hot Press magazine.
Three tracks by each band.


Help!

We need your help to correct and/or complete this entry. If you can provide more information about this band, have scans, photos or any other memorabilia we can use, or spare copies of any releases, then please get in touch.




See Also: New Testament, Swinging Swine, The Walls

External Links: Stunning official website



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