02/7/2015 11:54 am  #1

Val Doonican

Val Doonican, sometimes called the Irish Bing Crosby, has died at the age of 88. 

There is a brief report here.

Certainly there are Bing influences, with an impish Irish slant, though possibly the influence is filtered a little through Perry Como.

For a long period Val had his own show on British TV, with several "trademarks" - a rocking chair, knitted woollen jumpers or cardigans (later abandoned), and his relaxed style, playing  his guitar.

He specialized in relaxed ballads intermixed with jocular Irish ditties - "Delaney's Donkey", "Paddy McGinty's Goat" and "O'Rafferty's Motor Car" being notable,  The "Guardian" site with the link above has a good embedded clip of Delaney's Donkey.
Of his fifty or so albums there were two that had distinctly Bing material - "Val Sings Bing" and "Christmas Album". The first was certainly a conscious tribute to Bing, covering many of the best known songs, whilst the second could hardly avoid a number of Bing's hits - "Silent Night" and "White Christmas" (and who has not covered that?) among them.

There are many TV and song clips of Val on Youtube. I'm uncertain how far he may have been known further afield but in the UK and Ireland the weekly TV shows, under a number of names, were very popular indeed right through the mid/late 1960s through to the mid 1980s.   


03/7/2015 8:58 am  #2

Re: Val Doonican

I have seen at least one reference to Bing appearing as a guest on a Val Doonican TV show but can find no confirmationa anywhere. 
They did play golf together, recorded for TV - This from Malcolm Macfarlane's "Bing Crosby - Day By Day" on the "Bing" magazine website for 1975.
"August (undated). Records an International Pro-Celebrity Golf  BBC -TV program on the King’s Course, Gleneagles in Scotland, with Val Doonican, Tom Weiskopf, and Peter Oosterhuis. Bing and his partner win easily. The program is shown on BBC 2 on January 27, 1976."

The same piece includes a long extract of an article by Val Doonican himself about the event.


Last edited by Richard Baker (03/7/2015 12:43 pm)

     Thread Starter

03/7/2015 1:03 pm  #3

Re: Val Doonican

Bing never appeared on Val's show. They just golfed together.


03/7/2015 1:26 pm  #4

Re: Val Doonican

Malcolm Macfarlane wrote:

Bing never appeared on Val's show. They just golfed together.

Thank you Malcolm. I'm relieved to have your confirmation. I thought that the Daily Telegraph had it wrong when they said - "Through the 1970s and 1980s Doonican continued to appear on television. The format remained consistent: a mixture of light-hearted chat, celebrity guests – including Hollywood luminaries such as Howard Keel and Bing Crosby  -"

Bing's name just gets trotted out when writers wish to give an impression of fame and grandeur, perhaps.


     Thread Starter

08/7/2015 2:18 am  #5

Re: Val Doonican

My Grandfather was a huge Val Doonican fan. He loved all the British singers from Max Bygraves to Val Doonican. I haven't thought of the name Val Doonican since my Grandfather died in 2002.

Rest in peace.


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