Stockton’s Wing began their career in Ennis sometime in 1977 with Kieran Hanrahan on banjo , mandolin and harmonica, Paul Roche on Flute and whistle, Maurice Lennon on fiddle, Tommy Hayes on Bodhran, spoons and bones and Tony Callinan on guitar and vocals. The name Stockton’s Wing came from a Bruce Springsteen song, “Backstreets” from the album “Born to Run”
“Slow dancing on a moonlit street at Stockton’s Wing, where desperate lovers park to meet the last of the Duke Street kings.”
The band signed a deal with Tara records after winning the Trad section of a music contest in Limerick. A group called U2 won the rock section.
Stockton’s Wing first album, produced by Clareman PJ Curtis, received rave reviews from national and international press
Singer/songwriter, Mike Hanrahan after spending a couple of years with Maura O’Connell in the duo Tumbleweed, replaced Tony Callinan in 1979 and in the spring of 1980 they released their second album on Tara Take a Chance. The album featured some original music and marked the arrival of a progressive force into the world of Irish music. Following the success of the album, they toured extensively, creating a storm of enthusiasm at major folk festivals across Europe.
At Ballisodare Folk Festival in the west of Ireland, they met with Australian, Steve Cooney, who joined forces shortly afterwards, playing bass guitar and didgeridoo. In 1982, the Band released their third album Light in the Western Sky – a highly polished album which represented a significant shift in their musical direction, focusing more on the band’s creative original material. The album featured two hit singles, written by Mike Hanrahan, Beautiful Affair and Walk Away. It also featured a haunting composition The Golden Stud, a combination of Aboriginal and Irish music.
Percussionist Tommy Hayes left the band in 1983 and was replaced by Fran Breen on drums and Peter Keenan on keyboards. After listening to the band, a critic for the New York Times wrote “they were eclectic, electric, passionate, personal, innovative and powerful.” In 1985, a live album Stockton’s Wing Live – Take One was recorded in Galway and Dublin, produced by Bill Whelan, capturing that ‘eclectic, electric’ sound and enjoyed major success.
Tours of America, Canada, Europe and Australia kept the band away from the recording studios until the autumn of 1986 when they recorded their fifth album Full Flight. The album contained no less than four hit singles – Why Wait Until Tomorrow, Avondale, New Clare Revival and So Many Miles. The group’s sixth album, produced by Steve Cooney, received critical acclaim in America where the group headlined many major music festivals.
In the summer of 1988 they shared the stage with Michael Jackson in Cork. The following year they made a guest appearance with Sammy Davis Jnr. in Dublin as part of his world tour with Frank Sinatra and Liza Minnelli. In 1990 Stockton’s Wing went on location to take part in the Noel Pearson/Jim Sheridan film production of the John B. Keane play The Field which featured Oscar nominee Richard Harris and John Hurt.
In 1991 Kieran Hanrahan left the band. They renewed their contract with Tara and together with producer Bill Whelan, recorded their seventh album The Crooked Rose in January 1992. The album of original music highlighted the excitement, drive and virtuosity of each individual in the band.
Kieran Hanrahan moved to radio and eventually settled on Céilí House on RTE Radio1 where he has made it his own and travels the country recording music from young and old and ensuring the tradition has a healthy future. He released one solo banjo album and is currently programme head for the internationally renowned The Temple Bar Music festival in Dublin.
Mike Hanrahan left the band in 1994 to pursue a solo career and later work with the legendary Dubliner Ronnie Drew. Mike has released two solo albums, produced four albums with Ronnie, was chairman of Irish Music rights organisation for six years and in recent years trained as a chef and later teacher at The Ballymaloe Cookery school,
Beautiful Affair was voted into the top 75 songs in the history of RTE radio. Today FM voted the song no 7 in a top 20 all time poll of Irish songs.
In November 2003 Stockton’s Wing held a reunion concert in their home town of Ennis, Co. Clare. Founding members, Kieran Hanrahan, Paul Roche, Maurice Lennon and Tommy Hayes, were joined by long-time band member Mike Hanrahan. The concert was a huge success with over 1200 people packed into the West County Hotel. In the words of the band’s producer PJ Curtis “what an extraordinary, amazing, mind-blowing concert the Wing delivered last night. I’m still spinning from it. It was TRIUMPHANT!..no other word for it….such an incredible turn-out….and the music and the vibe (Ronnie (Drew)too…who was pure magic as usual) made it a NIGHT TO REMEMBER!!! It rates as one of the top gigs of the decade for me…”
In 2016 the band played to a capacity crowd in the Dome in Ennis during Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. They were joined on the night by Ennis native Maura O’Connell – it was a truly special night that will long be remembered.
Tickets for this event can be purchsed here.
The Current line-up includes Mike Hanrahan, Paul Roche, Tommy Hayes, Steve Cooney, Tara Breen and Karol Lynch
Stockton’s Wing), 1978
Take a Chance 1980
Light in the Western Sky, 1982
American Special, 1984/85
Take One Live 1985
Full Flight, 1986
Celtic Roots Revival, 1988
The Collection 1991
The Crooked Rose, 1992
Letting Go, 1995
The Very Best of Irish Jigs, Reels & Songs 2005
Live – Take One (re-release) 200