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TV tribute Nathan Carter dons white suit specially tailored for Joe Dolan during new RTE series

Nathan recalls that while he never met Joe, he grew up with his music.

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Nathan Carter in RTE's Shoulders of Giants

Nathan Carter in RTE's Shoulders of Giants

Nathan Carter in RTE's Shoulders of Giants

IN a poignant scene during tonight's Shoulders Of Giants show on RTÉ, heartthrob Nathan Carter slips on the final white suit that was specially tailored for superstar Joe Dolan.

Ireland's answer to Elvis had ordered the iconic suit shortly before he became seriously ill - and he never came to collect it. Joe died on St Stephen's Day 2007.

The white suits were the Mullingar singer's trademark. They were tailored by Jas Fagan, a former member of The Cadets showband.

Jas died in 2012, but his son Len and daughter-in-law Jenny now run the shop in Dublin's Thomas Street, where Joe got suited up.

Len reveals that his dad would provide Joe with "six or seven" white suits every year, in addition to thousands of the famous ties that the singer gave away to his fans at live shows.

In Shoulders Of Giants, a new six-part RTÉ series in which celebrities delve into the lives of the giants who inspired their careers, Nathan recalls that while he never met Joe, he grew up with his music.

"My nan and grandad used to mind me at the weekends sometimes," Nathan says. "My grandad would have these old records of a lot of the showband singers, and Joe Dolan was the main man in their house."

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Nathan Carter in RTE's Shoulders of Giants

Nathan Carter in RTE's Shoulders of Giants

Nathan Carter in RTE's Shoulders of Giants

As a performer, Nathan says he was fascinated to find out how a young man from Mullingar became the only Irish singer to score number ones across four decades, from the '60s to the '90s, winning legions of faithful fans both here and abroad. Nathan travels the country meeting the people who knew Joe best.

In Mullingar, his brother Ben reveals that Joe was sacked from his job in the printing works of the local Westmeath Examiner newspaper in the early days because he was singing in the band by night and couldn't get up in the morning.

Having known Joe since I was a teen, I also join Nathan on the show and reflect on his incredible success and magnetic appeal.

Joe was our first international pop star. His single, Lady In Blue, sold millions in the mid '70s and saw the exciting singer jet-setting all over Europe performing. In later life he was doing covers of artists such as Blur and Oasis.

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Nathan says he followed Joe's lead as an entertainer.

"When I started in the country scene in Ireland I tried to modernise it and bring a younger age group to the music. In the same way, when I chat to people about Joe, he was trying out new things. He was recording brand new songs."

• Shoulders Of Giants is on RTÉ One tonight at 8.30pm.

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