Ireland’s Eurovision 1990 singer Liam Reilly has passed away at the age of 65. His family says that he died peacefully at his home on Friday night.

Liam Reilly was born on 29 January 1955 in Dundalk. The Irish public first came to know him when he, alongside Wally McConville, Ken Doyle and John O’Brien, formed the legendary band Bagatelle in 1978. They had several hits throughout the 70s and well into the 80s. But their biggest hit was “Summer in Dublin” which became a radio mainstay from its release in 1980, and set a standard for Irish bands for years to come. U2’s frontman Bono has cited Bagatelle as a major influence on U2 at the start of their career.

In the mid 80s, Liam embarked on a solo career, and left Ireland behind for the beauty and charm of Savannah, Georgia in USA. There he really started to focus on his compositions, emphasising his vocals and the keyboard. He released his first US solo album named “Savannah Serenade”, which consisted mainly of his own work.

In 1988 his homeland called and Liam entered the Irish national final for Eurovision Song Contest with his song “Lifeline”, ultimately losing out to the band Jump The Gun, who went on to represent Ireland on home soil with “Take Him Home”.

However, the opportunity to represent his country in Eurovision Song Contest came again in 1990 and Liam set sail for Zagreb in the then Yugoslavia with his song “Somewhere in Europe” — a piano ballad with an Elton John sound. He wowed juries across the continent, and secured Ireland a respectable second place, becoming one of Eurovision’s most memorable contestants from 1990.

He wasn’t quite done with Eurovision though, and travelled to Rome the following year as the composer and lyricist behind Ireland’s 1991 entry “Could It Be That I’m in Love”, performed by the singer Kim Jackson, who had previously accompanied him as one of his backing vocalists in Zagreb. The song didn’t do quite as well as “Somewhere in Europe”. It reached 10th place.

During his long and successful career, Liam secured his place as one of Ireland’s most beloved and popular entertainers, both as a composer and performer.

In a statement sent out last night, his family acknowledged how important Reilly was to the Irish music scene and to Eurovision history.

“We know that his many friends and countless fans around the world will share in our grief as we mourn his loss, but celebrate the extraordinary talent of the man whose songs meant so much to so many.”

Our deepest condolences go out to Liam Reilly’s family, friends, co-workers and fans around the world.

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PP77
PP77
4 months ago

EBU must put in Eurovision final 2021 Memories ( tribute to passes away singers,composers,conductors, hosts,HOD..between 2019-2021)like we had at Oscar ceremony with actors,directors…

HarpyDarper
HarpyDarper
4 months ago

Horrible news, 65 is no age to go.

I had only recently discovered ‘CITTIML’, beatiful song that deserves much higher result. I’ll be inspired to look up some of his earlier work too

Charles
Charles
4 months ago

If we are going to celebrate the lives of those legendary pre-2000 ESC participants who sadly passed away, then it would far more respectful and honest to celebrate them all on equal footing. I have a hard time believing that, anyone who took notice of Liam’s passing, did not know that 1976 Portugal Carmos do Carmo, the best Portuguese male fado singer, had also passed away in the exact same date. I mean … anyone in this case does know that Eurovision existed way before it came out of the closet, so certain details are expected to be known. It… Read more »

Joe
Joe
4 months ago
Reply to  Charles

Sure do love that low-key homophobia and acting like openly-LGBT contestants have delegitimized the contest. I love Carlos do Carmo too, but this kind of oldhead snobbiness is the reason we fans of 20th century Eurovision have such a hard time bridging the generational divide.

Joe
Joe
4 months ago
Reply to  Joe

(And if you love Carlos do Carmo so much, maybe spell his name right?)

Ashton
Ashton
4 months ago
Reply to  Charles

Bold of you to state that Dana and Conchita were not showing their musical craftsmanship. I bet that if you listened to Rise Like A Phoenix without seeing Conchita, you’d think it was amazing. Its the homophobia and transphobia for me.

Jo.
Jo.
4 months ago
Reply to  Charles

Just ask them to write an article about do Carmo, they’ll do it. Don’t need to write a long post complaining.

Last edited 4 months ago by Jo.
Marc
Marc
4 months ago

He was a wonderful talent- RIP Liam. ‘Somewhere in Europe’ is a real treat to the ears and just makes me smile.

Me!
Me!
4 months ago

I don’t understand the angry comments some of you write here if there isn’t an article about subject “x”, there are hundreds, even thousands of people who have had something to do with eurovision and I can’t even think myself expecting the whole team at Wiwibloggs to be on top of it all. If you know something you’d want to be written about you could just suggest it in the comments by mentioning it and I’m sure there might be an article of it at some point. No need to start blaming that your country isn’t acknowledged here, you could… Read more »

Skiwalko
Skiwalko
4 months ago

I half-expected Wiwibloggs to make an article about it, but I guess there will be no more appropriate time to honour the memory of those who passed away last year: Pearl Carr (UK 1959) Rajko Dujmic (Yugoslavia 1987 & Yugoslavia 1989 (composer)) Caroline Flack (UK 2008 (commentator)) Larry Gogan (Ireland 1978-2001 & 2011 (commentator)) Dries Holten (Netherlands 1972) Tadej Hrusovar (Yugoslavia 1975) Agathonas Iakovidis (Greece 2013) Bill Martin (UK 1967 & 1968, Luxembourg 1975 (composer)) Alan Merrill (UK NF 1976) Del Newman (Italy 1980 (conductor)) Ljiljana Petrovic (Yugoslavia 1961) Ulla Pia (Denmark 1966) Joseph Reynaerts (Belgium 1988) Ossi Runne (Finland… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Skiwalko
Joe
Joe
4 months ago
Reply to  Skiwalko

Lovely post, but Bill Martin didn’t conduct Luxembourg in 1975 – that was his songwriting partner Phil Coulter, who’s still alive and kicking.

Skiwalko
Skiwalko
4 months ago
Reply to  Joe

He did compose it, however 🙂

Joe
Joe
4 months ago
Reply to  Skiwalko

Missed that, sorry!

Badwoolfgirl
Badwoolfgirl
4 months ago
Reply to  Skiwalko

Maybe there should be a memoriam article to remember those we lost in the last year, which was only two days ago.

Liam
Liam
4 months ago

Very sad to hear of his passing this morning, ‘Summer in Dublin’ was a massive hit here in Ireland and one of the songs I listened to the most this year. Very young age as well… May he RIP.

MyName
MyName
4 months ago

Sad news from Ireland! His music reminds me a lot of Elton John, one of my favourite singers

Whisker
Whisker
4 months ago

R.I.P and thank you for the music.

Joe
Joe
4 months ago

“Somewhere in Europe” is a real grower, easy to lose in the shuffle with the bombast of Italy and the avant-garde nature of France, but it’s really solid. I have a huge soft spot for “Could It Be That I’m in Love,” a really beautiful song with wonderful orchestration. He was a great singer and songwriter who’ll be truly missed.

Alaska
Alaska
4 months ago

Portugal’s Carlos do Carmo (Eurovision 1976) died yesterday. It would be nice to read an article about him here. Bernardo?

R.I.P. Liam.

Joe
Joe
4 months ago
Reply to  Alaska

He had one of the most underrated entries ever. Beautiful arrangement by Thilo Krasmann too.

Joe
Joe
4 months ago
Reply to  Joe

And a pre-televote 12 from France to boot. The French jury that year had good freaking taste. I believe they also gave Greece their only decent score.

Mr X
Mr X
4 months ago
Reply to  Joe

Greece recieved in 1976 2 points from Belgium, 4 from Finland, 5 from Portugal, 1 from Italy and just like already mentioned 8 as the highest score from France. One of the strongest years in Eurovision ever.

Mr X
Mr X
4 months ago
Reply to  Mr X

Sorry, I was wrong – correct is of course 5 from Italy and 1 from Portugal.

Jonas
Jonas
4 months ago
Reply to  Alaska

It’s nice that we got a reminder of both of these men in the last few months, through #EurovisionAgain.

Filipe
Filipe
4 months ago

LOL, Portugal had the same one day ago, with Carlos do Carmo and you said 0. Tendencious and obvious

Una
Una
4 months ago

How sad. RIP Liam. I loved his 1990 song. How sad.

Colin
Colin
4 months ago

R.I.P. Mr. Liam Reilly. I liked his song in 1990, pointing it out as one of the better ones there.

Una
Una
4 months ago
Reply to  Colin

We wrote nearly the same a minute apart!!!

My comment on 22 November in the occasion of Eurovision Again when his song made my second place: “2. Ireland: the vocal and instrumental were so good and comforting and cozy and soft and crreeamy as hot chocolate and safe and just beautiful. Very well done, Ireland!!”

Donncha O'Dea
Donncha O'Dea
4 months ago

RIP Liam. “Somewhere In Europe” is one of my favourite Irish entries ever. He will be missed.