Released: 1998

Cover from Hothouse Flowers 1998 album Born
1. You Can Love Me Now 4:15
2. Turn Up The Reverb 4:10
3. Forever More 4:09
4. Born 3:51
5. Pop Song 3:32
6. Used To Call It Love 4:22
7. At Last 5:23
8. Find The Time 4:42
9. I Believe 4:23
10. Learning To Walk 4:17
11. It’s A Man’s Man’s World*
12. Love Don’t Walk This Way ’98*
*Bonus tracks on Japan CD release only. Also available on ‘You Can Love Me Now’ single.

Written by O’Maonlai, O’Braonain, O’Toole

Additional Musicians
Rob Malone – Bass
Wayne Sheehy – Drums

Produced by Hothouse Flowers/Townshend
Engineered by Cenzo Townshend
Recorded at September Sound Studios
Jake Davies – Assistant Engineer
Pete Lewis – Engineer
James Dimmock – Photography
Jody Roberts – Assistant Engineer
Dave Bascombe – Mixing

The new members
Wayne Sheehy is known for having played with 1990 and Cactus world News. He now plays with a groove band called The Sofas. He has toured with Ronnie Wood a number of times for his sins. Wayne plays drums with the Flowers on ‘Born’. Together with the band they have done 2 years worth of gigs. The Olympia Theatre Dublin. Leisureland Galway. The Limelight Belfast. The Opera House Cork. Connolys of Leap West Cork. Olympic Stadium Munich. Supporting the Rolling Stones in Malaya, Barcelona, and Gelsen Kirchen.
Robert Malone plays bass with Hothouse Flowers. He and Wayne play in The Sofas together. Rob gained huge experience playing with Lir. With Rob playing bass Peter is free to play Bouzouki, guitar, keyboards, or programme at will. Rob and Wayne provide a new dimension.
We had hoped to include this information on the sleeve of the disc, however, this, for reasons best known to others, did not happen. We won’t allow it to happen again.
– – – – –

Having been away for a while it became clear that what we needed was some recording equipment of our own so we could experiment at our own pace without the huge expense of rehearsal rooms and demo studios. The time had come.

New ways of doing things with new angles and new interpretations. Peter and Fiachna having spent over a year on and off with Michelle Shocked, touring and recording, decided that there was no point putting any more unnecessary pressure on Liam. This was the beginning of a mending process zand a new relationship. Each had to confront the possibility of an ending before there was vision for the future. So with the studio on the go, songs were being written on a daily basis. Liam would come in and sing his version of the melody and so on.

With all the knowledge we had gained over the years we recorded a demo of the new songs and a man called Cenzo Townsend was to co-produce. Peter went to see a studio called September Sound, near Richmond, in London. It had a windowed live room looking onto the River Thames and a good size midi room for any of the sequenced stuff that had to be done.

Through obvious ups and downs the album began to take shape with Cenzo making everything sound tough and raw, an indication of the general mood. It was all mixed in Whittle Street in London by Cenzo, Dave Bascombe and helped by Max of Ocean Colour Scene fame.

– – – – –


HFLIVE: Peter wrote a lot for that album, then?
LIAM: Yeah, he kind of held the fort. He had these songs. We thought ‘these are good, these will do!’ ‘Born’ is mainly Peter’s album. (Speaking to HFLIVE in 2002).

PETER: The songs were written with no time-pressure involved,” says Peter. “It was a big open-ended journey that we were on, so therefore we explored various different types of sounds and we ended up with a selection of one’s which we felt worked best. We spend a lot of time working with loops and things, so you’re automatically going to go somewhere else with it. (Speaking to Hot Press in 1998).

LIAM: We resisted that through the 80’s, going for the full electric sound, because it was so commonplace with production. But now that time, that period is over, and we’ve also gained experience. We’re all a bit wiser now. I think there’s a lot more definitive work on this album than there was on the other ones, in terms of the way the whole thing is executed. The album has been brought home according to a definitive idea and vision. There’s a very strong determination going through it. Peter really held the responsibility for taking the album through the various stages, mainly because he wrote most of the songs but he also had most of the vision for how the sound could go. Fiachna and I just did our bits and circles around the situation. (Speaking to Hot Press in 1998).

FIACHNA: A young man who wrongly believed in hope over experience. A young fool! Ha! Ha! Ha! (Speaking to HFLIVE in 2002).


PETER: I remember when it was just finished, it wasn’t even mixed. I was in London and I went walking around Oxford Street listening to it. It was just perfect, walking with the headphones on. There is something bright about it and the song ‘Pop Song For The Universe’ was on and I just felt that this song can burrow into somebody’s heart.” (Speaking in 1998).

LIAM (Liam messed around with weird sounds on the synth to a loop): …and then I just wrote down words really quickly, non-judgementally, a series of images and the idea of being free, getting funky with words. (Speaking to Hot Press in 1998


This song uses Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major.


LIAM: It’s a song I always really liked. I think we tried jamming it once, even though I didn’t have a clue of the words, during a soundcheck, and we got a great atmosphere going. Usually, if I don’t know the words, I make them up. We went to John Reynolds’ house in London and just lashed it down in a day. John actually had the record so I was able to refer to it. I was feeling really unworthy during the recording, which is probably the best way to feel. I just felt that I just couldn’t do this justice at all. I went down and listened to the original version, the performance, the dynamic and the whole gut going into the song, and then I come along with my namby-pamby version of it. But listening to it now, with distance, I feel much happier. (Speaking in 1998)

– – – – –

‘Born’ was released in Europe, Australia, Japan and Canada and is available on import in the US.

Label: London Records

Release date:
UK 25th May, 1998

Catalog Number:
UK 828966.2

Limited Edition – Label: Polygram Int’l. Reissue of 1998 release

– – – – -.

Additional images and extensions

Born Cassette Tape Cover

‘Born’ Audio tape

‘Born’ Promo Sampler CD:
01. Don’t Go
02. I Can See Clearly Now
03. Give It Up
04. Love Don’t Work This Way
05. Learning To Walk*
06. You Can Love Me Now*
07. Forever More*
08. Born*
(Note states: *Taken from the new album ‘Born’)

Born promo

Songs From The Rain

Cover from Hothouse Flowers 1993 album Songs From The Rain

1. This Is It (Your Soul) 3:53
2. One Tongue 4:29
3. An Emotional Time 4:27
4. Be Good 3:52
5. Good For You 4:04
6. Isn’t It Amazing 5:48
7. Thing Of Beauty 5:26
8. Your Nature 5:07
9. Spirit Of The Land 4:18
10. Gypsy Fair 3:47
11. Stand Beside Me 6:35
All songs written by Hothouse Flowers except tracks 1 & 3 – Hothouse Flowers/Dave Stewart. Track 10 written by Ó Maonlaí /O’Toole/O’Braonain/Jennings.


Liam Ó Maonlaí – Lead and backing vocals, Piano, Hammond Organ, Wurlitzer, Low Whistle, Bodhran, Yodaki (Didjeridoo)
Fiachna Ó Braonáin – Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Bouzouki, Backing Vocals
Peter O’Toole – Bass Guitar, Bouzouki, Backing Vocals
Leo Barnes – Saxophones, Hammond Organ, Backing Vocals, Wurlitzer
Jerry Fehily – Drums

Produced by Stewart Levine
Recording & Mix engineer Daren Klein
Dempsey – Cover Design
Mark Farrell – Studio Personnel
Mark Irwin – Studio Personnel
Daren Klein – Engineer, Mixing
Darren Kline – Engineer, Mixing
Stewart Levine – Producer
Dan McLoughlin – Studio Personnel
Lewis Mulatero – Photography
Marnie Riley – Assistant Engineer
Matt Snowball – Studio Personnel
Todd Vos – Studio Personnel
John Yates – Assistant Engineer

– – – – –
Once again when we came off the road we went into The Factory for a period of time. Soundcheck tapes were listened to and any hint of an idea was worked on. At this stage the idea of co-writing came up.

Liam, Peter and Fiachna went to Los Angeles to meet possible producers and to write with a man called Will Jennings.Will already had a long list of hits including the award winning ‘You Lift Me Up We Where We Belong’, ‘Streetlight’ and ‘You Might Need Somebody’. The man surprised us. A Texan with a real love for good coffee, W.B Yeats, rebel yell and, of course, music. He told stories that made us laugh, sang songs that made us cry and brought out a side of us that was suppressed. A new way of writing and we wrote ‘Gypsy Fair’ with Will. Also he played us demos he had done with Roy Orbison just before he died.

Will suggested we meet Stuart Levine while we were in L.A. Stuart produced most of Simply Red’s stuff as well as The Commodores, Lional Richie, Hugh Masacala and more. He listened to our stuff with great enthusiasm and had some very positive energy that felt fresh. Maybe it was the jive talk which he is famous for. So we went home feeling good with new songs, a possible producer and a new lease of life. Co-write number two was with Dave Stewart. He came over to Dublin with a riff in his head. Started playing it and suddenly ‘Your Soul’ was on the go. He is forever being creative – be it music, photography or practical jokes. A fun person. ‘An Emotional Time’ and one other song were composed.

So eventually we split the recording into two sessions, taking a break for some other committee to approve or not. To get the ball rolling we set off to London to Air Studios’ top floor which overlooked Oxford Street. Here we set up with Stuart Levine who grooved in the playing room with us. We spent most of four weeks here, away from the hustle of the street below, a much more relaxed session compared with our first visit years beforehand while working on ‘People’. Next stop was upstate New York. Woodstock to be precise. Here we lived in a five-bedroom bungalow just outside of Woodstock. The studio was called Dreamland and was a renovated church with stained glass windows presence and had loads of great instruments to inspire. But in after thought I feel we were only going through the motions. Getting as good a job done in the time we were there. Tiredness and frustration hovered. Loneliness and yearning. Thank God for the Tinker Street Cafe in Woodstock town. We used to go there after a day’s work, have a few drinks and get up and play some songs.

Here we met Hugh Masacala who came to blow on ‘One Tongue’. Eventually, it was mixed and we moved on across the globe again singing our songs until one day the stop sign went up and we were able to walk by ourselves for a while….

– – – – –


See also the story behind ‘This Is It (Your Soul) here.

– – – – –


Release date:
23rd March, 1993

Catalog Number: 35046
ASIN: B00004T4B4
UPC: 643443504621

Limited Edition release date: 15th July, 1999. Reissue of 1993 release
Label: Universal/Polygram

Additional images and extensions

Songs from the rain promo
‘Songs From The Rain’ CD Sampler:
01. An Emotional Time
02. One Tongue
03. Thing Of Beauty
04. This Is It (Your Soul)
05. Stand Beside Me

songsjap3new songs3b

Japan release only with bonus tracks
01. Let Him Know
02. Same Song
03. Getting Too Much

Songs From The Rain Songbook
‘Songs From The Rain’ Songbook


Cover for Hothouse Flowers 1990 album Home

1. Hardstone City 3:45
2. Give It Up 3:30
3. Christchurch Bells 3:54
4. Sweet Marie 6:06
5. Giving It All Away 3:49
6. Shut Up And Listen 4:04
7. I Can See Clearly Now 4:52
8. Movies 4:38
9. Eyes Wide Open 3:15
10. Water 4:09
11. Home 4:27
12. Trying To Get Through* 4:23
13. Dance To The Storm* 4:10
14. Seoladh na nGamhna 0:40
* only available on CD version.
All titles composed by Hothouse Flowers except 7. Johnny Nash and 14. Trad.

Hothouse Flowers

Liam Ó Maonlaí – Vocals Piano, Hammond Organ, Bodhran
Fiachna Ó Braonáin – Guitar – Electric, Acoustic. Bass Guitar in ‘Shut Up And Listen’, Vocals
Peter O’Toole – Vocals, Bass, Bass Guitar, Bouzouki, Mandolin
Leo Barnes – Seimer Saxophones, Paris. Hammond Organ, Organ, Vocals
Jerry Fehily – Pearl Drums and Zildjian Cymbals, Percussion, Vocals

Additional musicians

Noel Eccles – Percussion
Claudia Fontaine – Background Vocals
Luis Jardim – Percussion
Carol Kenyon – Background Vocals
Andy Darker – Viola
Aisling Drury -Byrne – Cello
Wilfred Gibson – Violin
Garfield Jackson – Viola
Nawalifh Ali Khan – Fiddle
Daniel Lanois – Dobro, Producer
Martin Loveday – Cello
Steve Nieve – Hammond Organ, Organ, Piano, Arranger, String Arrangements
Andrew Parker – Viola
Andy Parker – Viola
Steve Wickham – Fiddle
Gavyn Wright – Violin

Robbie Adams – Assistant, Assistant Engineer, Mixing
Paul Barrett – Engineer, Producer
Ian Bryan – Engineer
Malcolm Burn – Engineer
Ciaran Byrne – Assistant Engineer
Stewart Day – Assistant, Assistant Engineer
Geoff Foster – Mixing, Mixing assistant
Gary Langan – Mixing, Producer
Clive Langer – Mixing, Producer
Steve Lipson – Mixing, Producer
Willie Mannion – Assistant, Assistant Producer
Patrick McCarthy – Engineer
Shane McCarthy – Photography
Heff Moraes – Engineer, Mixing
Paul Mortimer – Mixing assistant
Peter Mountain – Photography
Paul Nickson – Assistant, Assistant Engineer
Steve Orchard – Assistant, Assistant Producer
Ren Swan – Assistant, Assistant Engineer
Norman Verso – Producer
Alan Winstanley – Engineer, Producer
Donovan Wylie – Photography
Paul Young – Engineer
Tim Young – Mastering

– – – – –

We toured non-stop for the next year and a half. During every sound check we could groove till we got tired. The tape machine was always recording. It had to be. We had a lot of wild music happening and not enough memory power to store it mentally. Soon it was time to think of our next recording adventure.

We spent some time at home eventually, but it was mainly spent in a new rehearsal complex in Dublin called The Factory. We worked on songs and jammed on a daily basis for quite a while – it must have cost a fortune and we wanted to work with Clive Langer who produced our first record but to try a different engineer. Pat Mc Carthy had been around Dublin working with The Waterboys in Windmill Lane where Peter and Liam spent a magical night jamming alone under the invitation of Mike Scott. Pat was quick in the studio capturing the moment with ease. We hired a house in Borris, Co. Carlow, and brought a mobile studio along. It was a very large house with a few hundred acres of forest and farming land. We ate too much, drank way too much, but in our madness we decided to balance all the opulence with an early morning jog every day. Some were better than others at this.

Some took it seriously while others didn’t do it at all. We all grew beards, played some hurling and recorded six songs of which two made the album. The sound in the house was brilliant. The two songs were ‘Water’ and ‘Eyes Wide Open’. The committee wanted more variation. We went touring around the States where we met Don Gainman who had produced ‘Lonesome Jubilee’ for John Cougar Mellencamp. It was a good day. We wrote a song called ‘If I Could Fly Away’. We also did some demos with our live engineer, Norman Verso, in New Orleans. Two songs from this session ‘Hardstone City’ and ‘Giving It All Away’ are on the album. While in New Orleans we got an invitation to Kingsway Studios which is owned by Daniel Lanois, the producer and musician. He was in the middle of recording with Bob Dylan but on a day off. So here’s a studio full of instruments set up for live recording and oozing with character. We got the nod. Liam sat at the piano. Peter picked up the nearest guitar. Fiachna played bass. Gerry played drums, Leo played Hammond and Daniel played the dobro while Malcolm engineered ‘Shut Up And Listen’. We’re even forming sub committees within the band now. As expected, we didn’t produce much from this session except a lesson in what it is to communicate.

It was back home to Dublin. Temple Bar in Dublin used to be an artist’s playground. To this day, painters work from their studios upstairs overlooking Temple Bar Square and the River Liffey. These buildings have now been rebuilt with bigger windows and cleaner interiors with more heating for the winter. Years ago you couldn’t walk around Temple Bar without being treated to some up and coming new bands latest songs, blasting from the collection of cheap rehearsal rooms scattered around the area. Like most European cities, Dublin has been redeveloped and cheap rehearsal rooms soon became valuable property on the market and had to close down. One such place was STS Studios which was above Claddagh Records in Temple Bar. A feast of artists recorded here including us. Paul Barrett was co-owner who also played and produced. We knew Paul and it didn’t take long before a working relationship was formed.

With Ian Bryan engineering we started arranging some songs and here we recorded ‘Christchurch Bells’, ‘Home’ and ‘Trying To Get Through’ for the album. We did another brief session with Clive and Alan recording ‘Movies’ and ‘Give It Up’ in Westside Studios, London. So what did we have? Lots of tracks recorded at various times in various studios with various producers and engineers. We needed a common thread to tie it all together. We brought in Gary Langan who was a mixing engineer. We spent about 10 days in Metropolis Studios in London with Gary and Paul Barrett. The album was number two in Australia, and did really well in Britain and all over the globe.

– – – – –


‘Home’ was released during the summer of 1990, did well in the UK and went to No. 2 in Australia. The band recorded and wrote all over the world; Dublin, Carlow, New Orleans and London.


This song was written well before the recording sessions took place for the album. From the sleeve notes it ‘was written a long time ago’.


Recorded in Westside Studios, London with Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley. Released as a single in May, 1990, ‘Give It Up’ reached No. 30 in the UK charts.

This song was recorded in STS Studios, above Claddagh records in Temple Bar with Ian Bryan as the engineer. This was the opener on all the UK Tour shows of 2002. Halfway through the tour the band decided to play the first verse with just Liam playing the song on acoustic guitar.


LIAM:When that song came up I could almost see the mood that was in it. I’d gone beyond all that sadness and pain anyway. So I was filled with this tremendous melancholy. Real happy-sad. That’s a precious feeling. It’s a moments like that when I feel like performing or writing the most. (Speaking to Melody Maker in 1988).
PETER: ‘Sweet Marie’ is a favourite. It feels great when we sing the chorus together. (Speaking to HFLIVE in 2002).


LIAM: We wrote and recorded ‘Shut Up And Listen’ in just one afternoon when we went to visit Daniel Lanois in New Orleans. It was great, we were there and we just started playing, we finished the whole thing in a couple of hours – a sort of back to basics approach.


On the live stage, the song runs on and on and incorporates all sorts of endings – Elvis’ ‘Mystery Train’ and Harry Thacker Burleigh’ gospel song ‘Motherless Child’, for example. This song was originally recorded by Jimmy Cliff and written by Johnny Nash. (It seems Jimmy’s music obviously is well respected – Madness covered Jimmy’s ‘The Harder They Come’.) Incidentally, Neil Finn has recorded a version of this song for the ‘Antz’ movie soundtrack. Released as a single in July, 1990, ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ reached No.23 in the UK charts and stayed in the charts for four weeks.


MATT: (Question via email) Is ‘Eyes Wide Open’ about Mother Teresa?
LIAM: She’s in there. And Pamela Anderson! Actually, Halle Berry! (Liam answering questions to HFLIVE in 2002.)


FIACHNA: When we were in Borris, an Australian didgeridoo player called Philip Pike, happened to be in town and Clive Langer, our producer had an Indian fiddle player over, so they both came along and joined in on that track.



PETER: Well, we liked the idea. It’s simple, and we like the word, and the place.


FIACHNA: Seoladh na nGamhna. It means ‘The Herding of the Calves. It’s a love song, although the fact that it’s called ‘The Herding of the Calves’ may sound a bit unromantic.

– – – – –


Release date:
19th June, 1990
Catalogue Numbers: 35044
UPC: 643443504423
ASIN: B00004T4B2
Ire: London 828197
Limited Edition ASIN: B00004WZK2

Additional images and extensions

US Promo Kit includes cassette, video and newspaper in a presentation box. Video shows promo clips of singles and interviews.


Released: 1988

People Album Cover

Liam Ó Maonlaí – Vocals, Bodhran, Hammond Organ, Harmonica, Marimbas,
Piano, Vibraphone
Fiachna Ó Braonáin – Background Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Sitar
Peter O’Toole – Background Vocals, Bass Guitar, Bouzouki, Electric Guitar, Mandolin
Leo Barnes – Background Vocals, Saxophone
Jerry Fehily – Drums, Percussion

Additional musicians
Claudia Fontaine – Background Vocals
Jimmy Helms – Background Vocals
Jimmy Chambers – Background Vocals
Luis Jardim – Percussion
Gary Barnacle – Brass
John Thirkell – Brass
Peter Thoms – Brass
Lovely Previn – Fiddle

Producer and engineered by Alan Winstanley and Clive Langer.
Photography by Amelia Stein.
Design by Steve Averill.

– – – – –

Blackrock, Co. Dublin.

Engineer Chris O’Brien set up a small but funky recording set up in the front
room of the house and recorded a few songs namely ‘Fatman’, ‘My Baby’s Coming
Home’ and ‘Show Me’. This was all around the time of the Magic Carpet gigs.
Then through a man called Lorcain Ennis we did some demos in Strand Studios
off Caple Street in Dublin. Leo Barnes was invited to play some sax on a song
called ‘Out Walking’ which literally blew us all away. This is where the first
demo of ‘Love Don’t Work This Way’ was recorded.

A tall man with U2 connections called in one evening and picked up a copy of
the tape and pretty soon the phone was ringing wanting a meeting with the band.
In the mean time, gigs were happening in places like the Colony Restaurant,
Timmerman’s, The Chicken Club at the Pembroke Bar, various gigs in Trinity and
U.C.D and of course in the Risk night-club. It was in the Risk night-club that
the famous friends started coming to see us. It was here that we hit something
musically, that was to send out waves around the globe.

U2 at this stage had set up a record label to help Irish artists. We were offered
a one single deal for the song ‘Love Don’t Work This Way’ which we recorded
in Windmill, with Flood as an engineer/producer. It was really a tiring day
but a very professional experience, which felt like a stepping stone for all
of us. The record got great airplay and reviews and it was important to have
such a recording to send to various record companies whom were intrigued by
the band’s sound. Finally, after touring for a while and rehearsing a lot, we
went over for a meal organised by London Records. This was a strange event at
the time. Almost like being courted, where the other person is eager to impress.
Anyway, we ate a lot and drank too much and made no promises to anybody. Eventually,
the paperwork was right and we signed
our first recording contract with London Records.

So many names were put forward to work with that we were dreaming names at
the end. They were stressful days where it was hard to know where it was all
going. Eventually we played with U2 in Dublin sometime between late ’87 and
early ’88. Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley came to see us. What we liked was
their versatility; they had worked with (Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Madness, and
David Bowie) to name a few. We did a good week of rehearsals and reshaping and
we then went to London to record. It was put together in
Westside Studios near Notting Hill Gate and we did some overdubbing in Townhouse,
in Battersea (once owned by Pete Townsend). We felt good in Townhouse with their
selections of pianos/organs/ercussions/vibes/marimbas, etc. It was a very soulful
session meeting the various people involved like the Jimmy’s (Helms/Chambers)
who did some backing vocals, Luis Jardin with his big fat cigars who played
percussion and Claudia Fontaine who’s voice changed the shape of the album so
wonderfully. We ate a lot of Indian food and drank a lot of beer, wine and whiskey.

There was a lot of coming and going on behind the scenes with a whole sub committee
making the album, too. I remember Clive was on the phone a lot. We eventually
mixed in Westside, we had the company of people in Archies bar, while Alan Winstanley
did the mixing on the album which came to be called ‘People’.

1988’s ‘People’, was the most successful debut in Irish history. Even before
the release of ‘People’, expectations were high. Rolling Stone magazine said
they were the ‘best unsigned band in the world’. The album’s original sleeve
is shown above – now a collector’s items. CD’s were starting to hit the market
and subsequently, to get the market going for CD’s rather than lovely old crackly
vinyl, extra songs tended to be added to the CD that weren’t on the vinyl version.
‘Lonely Lane’ and ‘Saved’ being the bonus tracks for ‘People’. (The Limited
Edition Import listed below with a different catalogue number is no different
to the normal CD). After it was released the band were said to be the next U2
– which was highly unfair to both Hothouse Flowers and U2. They were, after
this release, probably as big, if not bigger than U2. The album reached Number
2 in the UK chart and Number 1 in Ireland.

PETER: People forget that there’s plenty of room for U2 and
us. They assume neither of us can stand each other and that we live in this
huge shadow but it’s nothing like that. (Speaking in 1988).


( The song was released as a single.)

LIAM: Things out there
are very hard to understand. I find it hard to give my understanding to what
is going on in the world. I’m trying to do that through the songs. Putting my
finger out. Trying to make contact. Let some people know that somebody wants
to understand. Saying sorry is a hard thing for some people to do. It’s a human
frailty. Not being able to do it. Surrender? Yeah, it’s like that. Especially
to say sorry when it would be easier not to. (Speaking to Melody Maker in 1988).

LIAM: ‘I’m Sorry’ isn’t too personal.
It’s meant to be taken at face value. It can be about anything. It’s up to the
listener. (Speaking in 1989).


(There was once a time, believe it or not , when they didn’t play it! The video
is slightly different as there is no mandolin in the intro, a count in on the
drumsticks by Jerry and a shorter run by Leo on sax before the last verse. The
song was released as a single.)

LIAM: I like the idea that somebody could take ‘Don’t Go’ as a straight love plea. The night before last, I looked out into the audience and saw this couple. There was something in the way they were looking at one another which told me they were thinking of splitting but when the chorus came in, they both started smiling. Quite a story. The song could be for anyone. Parents, exiles, sons and daughters. For me, it’s a very personal thing, the death of my friend, Eamon. The day he died. A beautiful spring day, otherwise. A slow death. One year long. So much pain for the people around him. It’s not a difficult song for me to sing though. It’s a rejoicing song, in spite of everything. Just like ‘If You Go’ which is about the same thing, written in the same mood and the same day. ‘Don’t Go’ is here and now. Immediate. I like to think the present being more important than the past or the future. More important than looking forward to things. Most people waste too much time looking ahead or looking back. Living in the moment can be too difficult, too painful. It has to be learned continually. (Speaking to Melody Maker in 1988).

LIAM: That song was written about
a friend of mine who was in a motor bike accident. And he was in a coma for
about a year and one day I was inspired to write this song for him because it
was one of those beautiful days and the sky was so blue and so I thought to
myself, “Please don’t go.” It was my personal plea to him because
I realised how precious life was and how beautiful it could be. I didn’t want
him to die. (Speaking to Beat magazine in 1989).


LIAM: The light, I suppose, is whatever
anyone believes to be God. Whatever anyone believes to be God. Whatever anyone
believes to be the light. It could be love. It could be some kind of escape.
I had to leave that line open. To me, it is God and salvation. God is there…
it is nothing to be fathomed. Nothing I could fathom. I could find no justice
in saying who or what it is. It might become clearer to me. There will always
be ups and downs. Even the most pious and the most wise will have their confused
moments. There are wise people who become children again, going back to enjoy
the wonder once more. Knowing how to remain a child is a wise thing in itself.
(Speaking to Melody Maker in 1988).


(This version starts with a verse – but later versions on the ‘Home’ tour started
with a chorus. The song was released as a single.)

LIAM: An obvious song. Sleep
an amazing thing. The idea that you will wake up and things will be different.
Sometimes, they might be worse. Looking to a new day. Offering words as a kind
of solace. That’s all. The best songs are the ones an audience can empathise
with. I think we want to offer something. But that’s not all. A song’s objective
is also to stir something in a listener. Perhaps to bring some kind of relief.
People have come up to me and said they needed this song. That’s the
best kind of flattery. (Speaking to Melody Maker in 1988).

LIAM: Well, actually, ‘It’ll
Be Easier In The Morning’ is about when I was younger. You see, when I was younger
I used to have trouble sleeping. But, I learned from this experience, that if
anything gets you down never lose sleep over it. There’s always a new day.

LIAM: We made ‘Don’t Go’, and somebody said, ‘We really like
that; would you like to be played on The Eurovision? We’d make a video for you.’
And we thought, ‘Yeah, Planxty had done it, so it’s not a sick thing to do.
They’ve done it well, it’s a cultural event. It mightn’t be everybody’s cup
of tea, but it’s an opportunity to do some good art.’ So, we did it. We spent
a really hard-working two weeks travelling all over Europe, places we’d never,
ever been before. We were playing on the streets, doing gigs, and it became
almost all of the time. It was very heavy on us, but of course, the results
were immediate attention from all the world. We were in America in no time.
We were all over Europe in no time, we were on ‘Top of the Pops,’ we were on


This song has been a mainstay of the set since its beginnings. It gives the
opportunity for Liam to stretch his fingers on an acoustic guitar. During the
intro, when they supported INXS at Wembley Stadium in 1991, he said it was for
an old man he saw sleeping at the bus station he saw last night. The song has
gone through some changes from the original. On the LIVE
album, the song has altered to a more funk feel with a muted guitar constantly
holding the rhythm. Each line has a longer separation, too.

LIAM: He’s hoping to be saved every night
when he goes there. I was thinking a little of all those characters you see
in the corners of Irish pubs. A lot of people who would devote their lives to
the bottle would once have devoted their lives to something else. Somebody
else. It’s a long road from there. It’s quite a nice side-step from life though.
Something to revolve your life around if you can no longer handle revolving
around it, around a woman or a god. (Speaking to Melody Maker in 1988).


Trivial Fact: Fiachna breaks a string
during the live performance of this song on the video ‘Take A Last Look At The
Sun’ and still plays on…

LIAM: The desire to reach the other side. There’s an ambiguity about
it. Like ‘Don’t Go’, it can be taken as a love song, though it’s another song
about Eamon passing away. I’m not sure if I know what Heaven really is. It might
depend on my mood on the day. Sometimes I feel more… um, enlightened. Sometimes
Heaven might be a place on Earth. A new life. The promise of something new.
A possible Heaven. A Heaven where there are no bodies so man and woman, man
and man, are the same, almost merging their souls. (Speaking to Melody Maker
in 1988).

LIAM: It’s a last farewell – ‘if you go, I hope you get there, if you
get there, I hope you like it’ – kinda like a hail and farewell to someone who’s
going for the last time. By the same token it’s saying ‘don’t go easy -fight!’
People connect with that and take from it what they want. The feel of the song
is greater than the words sung. (Speaking to New Musical Express in 1988).


LIAM: It’s like walking. The way it moves. Like the sea too, perhaps.
When I sing, ‘like a child touching age’, it’s a child touching adolescence.
Finding the first moments of adolescent knowledge. Thinking it’s going to be
easy now you’ve grown up. That’s my own experience. Then we’re proven wrong.
You can’t predict things. You can choose what colour slippers you’re going to
wear, but you can’t know when somebody is going to walk out of your life. You
just assume that they won’t. Finding perfect love. That’s one of the real answers.
I’m not sure it’s the only answer. There’s a lot of unattached people who find
a meaning to life in solitude. People who are willing to live with themselves,
alone. It’s terrifying. When I talk about searching out the answers, I’m thinking
about other people too. Most people are, I’m sure, searching out the answers
to mysteries. They fall in love with mystery and that’s a trap. We’re all led
by mystery. Money is a mystery to us. We don’t know what the mystery is until
we have money. Then we find out it’s not a mystery at all. Neither does it solve
everything. Playing the Eurovison thing had mystery, but it had more to do with
going to Europe to do the video. The travelling. The adventure, if you like.
(Speaking to Melody Maker in 1988).

LIAM: ‘The Older We Get’ is about a specific issue – how society treats
older people, marginalises them. (Speaking to New Musical Express in 1988).


LIAM: It’s also self-reassurance.
As much as reassuring someone else. Even when there’s pain to consider. Yeah,
devotion. A very personal one. (Speaking to Melody Maker in 1988).


(This version is not the same as the single version which Maria Doyle Kennedy
appears on. This version was recorded for the album. The single being recorded
with Mother Records. Check out the 1998 version (very different) which appears
on the B-side of ‘You Can Love Me Now’.)

LIAM: A more negative
look at love, sure. The idea that you can’t fall in love with mystery. That
you simply have to fall in love wit her, you’re only in love with what you don’t
know about her. The beauty of summer is only what you missed in that summer
gone. People putting love on a pedestal. Not meeting love head on. That comes
back to mystery. (Speaking to Melody Maker in 1988).

LIAM: The turning point was the single. ‘Love Don’t Work This
Way.’ (Speaking in 1989).

LIAM: Just before we got together as a band, my friends were
listening to Joe Tex, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye and the whole Motown thing –
we were all dancing to it. That was a big inspiration for the music that I wanted
to do. When we started, I sang with this black soul voice and ‘Love Don’t Work
This Way’ came out of that inspiration. (Speaking to Hot Press in 1998).


LIAM: The set is almost Hollywood. You can imagine the sand. The saloon
bar. The silence as he moves in. Yul Brynner could be that man. What a man,
Jesus!The man is told to leave. He’s very understanding. He leaves. I don’t
know if it is right to tell him to leave. Everyone has a right to arrive. I
have a feeling though that guy in the black boots is a happy-go-lucky. He might
just fall in love with the girl for one night and leave her, hurt. I see bits
of myself in both these characters. I don’t know if I was trying to work something
out writing the song. Jealousy is in there. That horrible feeling. The feeling
you sometimes can’t do anything about. (Speaking to Melody Maker in 1988).


(The song was released as a single.)

LIAM: It does take on a lot. It does sound quite anthemic at times.
The essence of it, for me, is in the chorus. The importance of maintaining a
direct link right down to the roots, to the ground. Times are changing and things
are moving faster. My head isn’t exploding now. I haven’t come across anything
worse now than I found before. I guess I’m saying that I want to know, that
I want to understand. Dealing with times of trouble… this song might be a
way of pinning things down. Reminding myself what it’s all about. We need anchors,
yeah. That’s what is good about a wife or a close partner. Someone who will
tell you when you’re wrong. Someone to straighten your tie. (Speaking to Melody
Maker in 1988).

– – – – –


Release date:
UK 1st January, 1988.
US CD 25th October, 1990.

Catalogue Numbers:
US: 828 101-2
ASIN: B00004T4B3 Cat: 35045.
UPC: 643443504522

Limited Edition CD ASIN: B00002DE0K

Additional images and extensions

‘People’ Japanese release without ‘Lonley Lane’ and ‘Saved’
Promotional sample LP with lyric insert, picture sleeve and matching obi-strip
Catalogue Number: L28P1265


‘People’ audio tapes

‘People’ Songbook

Conversation and Music with Hothouse Flowers – US promotional release 12″
Dave Fanning interviews the band between songs
01. Don’t Go (excerpt of busking version)
02. Kansas City (excerpt of busking version)
03. It’ll Be Easier In The Morning (excerpt of album version)
04. Feet On The Ground (excerpt of album version)
05. Don’t Go (excerpt of album version)
06. I’m Sorry (album version)
Label: London Records
Catalogue Number: SA085
‘People’ Sampler (UK) 5 track promotional release 12″ vinyl. Same track
listing on both sides
01. Don’t Go
02. Easier In The Morning
03. I’m Sorry
04. Hallelujah Jordan
05. Ballad of Katie.
Label: London Records
Catalogue Number: HOT-1 or LONLP58, 828101-2.