Dublin band The Radiators (from Space) are best known for their debut single "Television Screen" and for their legendary second album Ghostown. "Television Screen" was hailed by Rolling Stone as the best of the first batch of UK punk singles and was also the first punk single to place Top 20 anywhere in the world when it charted at No 17 in Ireland in April 1977. Ghostown, an exotic fantasia of a midnight walk around Dublin which seems to take place simultaneously in the 1970s and six decades earlier, has consistently featured in the lists of Best Irish Albums of All Time since it was recorded 33 years ago.
But that's not all there is to The Radiators. There's their debut album TV Tube Heart, widely considered a punk classic, and their stunning reunion album from 2006, Trouble Pilgrim. In the intervening years guitarist Philip Chevron found fame with The Pogues, Steve Averill became one of the music world's top designers and has been involved with the artwork for U2 from the very beginning, while Pete Holidai received the Hot Press/Smithwicks award for his work as a record producer.
And now, The Radiators have their sights set on a fourth studio album, a tribute to the Irish rock bands and beat groups of the 1960s who tenaciously flew the flag for rock music at a time when the country preferred to listen to dancebands and ballad singers.
Although a commercially viable rock scene did not really happen in Ireland until the 1980s, the urban areas of the country in the Sixties were hotbeds of exciting young beat groups who eked out short careers in blues cellars and tennis clubs, some of them, like The Strangers, The Creatures, Orange Machine, Bluesville, Ditch Cassidy and the King Bees, The Greenbeats and Sugar Shack made some fine singles, others, like Granny's Intentions, Dr Strangely Strange, Eire Apparent and Andwella's Dream, advanced to album deals, the Sixties' medium of choice, and still more, like Them, Skid Row and Thin Lizzy, were crucibles for major Irish talents like Van Morrison, Gary Moore, Philip Lynott, Terry Woods, Horslips, Henry McCullough and Rory Gallagher, whose work would come to maturity in the 70s, 80s and beyond.
Though much of this early Irish rock music has become prized among record collectors, very little of it is ever heard. But The Radiators, finding some kinship of spirit with garage bands who did not go all the way commercially, have spent years exploring this area and have come up with some surprising and, they think, illuminating connections between those early records and what we now take to be "Irish Rock". And it is in this spirit, with genuine affection and respect, that they are about to embark upon this album of cover versions of some long-forgotten classics.