| 6.2°C Dublin

glory shays Johnny Logan says his friendship with Shay Healy 'began with a song and lasted a lifetime'

'We remained friends for 41 years since that first Eurovision, and closer than friends – we remained family'

Close

Johnny Logan offers his condolences to Shay Healy after the funeral service of his wife DeeDee in 2016. Photo: Damien Eagers 12/7/2016

Johnny Logan offers his condolences to Shay Healy after the funeral service of his wife DeeDee in 2016. Photo: Damien Eagers 12/7/2016

Johnny Logan offers his condolences to Shay Healy after the funeral service of his wife DeeDee in 2016. Photo: Damien Eagers 12/7/2016

Eurovision king Johnny Logan yesterday remembered his dear friend Shay Healy’s “funny and quirky way of looking at life”.

Speaking to the Sunday World, Johnny, who had the first of his three Eurovision victories in 1980 with Shay’s song, What’s Another Year, recalled an incident at The Late Late Show with his own father.

“I was on the show with my father (tenor Patrick O’Hagan). My dad had a religious belief that the Holy Spirit was inside him,” Johnny says.

“During the show with Gay, the Holy Spirit entered my father and my father couldn’t talk. He was full of love to the world. Gay was stuck for words.

“So I explained to Gay, and the people at home, that at that moment my father was feeling the Holy Spirit and that’s why he couldn’t talk.

“Shay was in the studio and when we came off he says to me, ‘You know, that’s a first for Gay.’

“I said, ‘What’s that?’

“And Shay said, ‘That’s the first time that Gay has had the father, the son and the Holy Spirit on the show.’ That was Shay, he was just hilarious.”

Johnny recalled a story that Fr Brian D’Arcy tells.

Close

TV: Shay as an RTÉ presenter. Photo: Collins

TV: Shay as an RTÉ presenter. Photo: Collins

TV: Shay as an RTÉ presenter. Photo: Collins

“Shay once told Fr Brian that ‘A good country song has to have a mother, religion and tragedy in it.’ He added that the perfect line would be... ‘My mother was drowned in the bath at Lourdes.’

“I remember he had a song in the 1979 Castlebar Song Contest that had the line: ‘If life is just a bowl of cherries, why do I get all the pips?’

“I had a song in the same contest that year as well that I was singing. Shay said me afterwards, ‘I have a song in for the Eurovision Song Contest, if it gets picked will you sing it for me?’

“I said, ‘Of course I will.’ I never thought I’d hear from Shay again, but, sure enough, the song got in and that’s where the story began.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

“I remember when we came back from The Hague after winning the Eurovision in 1980, there was a big party with fans in the Country Club, and Shay thought it was hilarious that every time they’d play What’s Another Year? the place would go ape sh*t, but they would follow it with Who Shot JR Ewing? (by TR Dallas) and that would get a bigger cheer all the time.

“We remained friends for 41 years since that first Eurovision, and closer than friends…we remained family. The two of us, we always said about each other we have a special bond.

Close

ARTS LOVER: Shay with actor Brendan Gleeson in 2007. Photo: Arthur Carron/Collins

ARTS LOVER: Shay with actor Brendan Gleeson in 2007. Photo: Arthur Carron/Collins

ARTS LOVER: Shay with actor Brendan Gleeson in 2007. Photo: Arthur Carron/Collins

“Over the years we had the odd falling out, but it was never long term, we were always very close.

“Shay had his beliefs about the things I should do, and I had mine…and sometimes he was right, and sometimes I was right.

“I learned very quickly that I could live with my own mistakes. It’s much more difficult to live with other people’s, and that’s not talking about Shay, that’s talking about the advice that I got in general.

“But we told each other many times how much we loved each other, and the bond that we shared with each other. There’s nothing left unsaid. That’s one of the few things that I know with Shay and me, we said everything that we had to say.

“Shay was beside me all the time. We talked whenever I needed advice. Whenever I needed someone to talk to, Shay was there because he was my friend.

“We had been through all of that Eurovision stuff and I always knew that I could get an honest answer from Shay. I always made my own mind up and my decisions were my decisions, but I always valued Shay’s input and his advice.

“And to be honest, just sometimes to be in his company was enough. Shay didn’t judge you. Shay just enjoyed your company and you enjoyed his. We laughed a lot. The hours I spent in his house sitting at the kitchen table are memories that I’ll treasure.”

Close

Johnny Logan and Shay Healy

Johnny Logan and Shay Healy

Johnny Logan and Shay Healy

Johnny told how Shay was “an inspiration” for the way he dealt with Parkinson’s.

“Shay never lost his sense of humour and even when it came to Parkinson’s he was able to laugh at it,” Johnny says.

“Shay got up and went for a swim each day while he still could. He did all the things that physically he could to fight it and he never gave up.

“It was hard for him talking, and you know how he loved talking. It was hard to understand him sometimes, but he never stopped and he’d always send me a joke, or try to tell me a joke whenever I’d meet him. I’ll miss him terribly.

Close

STRUGGLE: Shay in 2016 as he determinedly battled with Parkinson’s. Photo: Steve Humphreys

STRUGGLE: Shay in 2016 as he determinedly battled with Parkinson’s. Photo: Steve Humphreys

STRUGGLE: Shay in 2016 as he determinedly battled with Parkinson’s. Photo: Steve Humphreys

“The last time I saw Shay was at the 25th anniversary of Riverdance. He was with Fionn, his grandson, and it was lovely to see the close bond he had with him.

“I’m very close to his kids as well, and I was close to his wife, Dymphna, and I sang at her funeral in 2017.

“He was also a wonderful father to his sons, Fionán and Oisín. We’ll all miss Shay, but none more than his family.”

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Online Editors


Privacy