Horslips were constantly developing their sound in the 1970s.
In 1975, they released the album, The Unfortunate Cup of Tea. It featured more mainstream pop music but it didn’t sell as well as their previous albums.
Following the disappointing sales, the band returned to their roots and later that year, released their fifth album, Drive the Winter Away. It was a traditional folk album and it delighted their fans.
In 1976, they signed to DJM Records and released their sixth album, The Book of Invasions: A Celtic Symphony. It was a concept album and featured ancient Irish legends that formed a narrative throughout the record. It was their only album to make it into the UK music charts, reaching number 39.
The Man Who Built America
Encouraged by their success they set about trying to make it in the US. Their 1977 album, Aliens, was about being Irish in America in the 19th century.
They followed it up the following year with The Man Who Built America, which was about Irish immigrants in the States.
It had a heavier rock sound than their previous albums and was popular in the US. It became their most successful album.
In 1979, they released their final album before splitting up, Tall Tales. Unfortunately it didn’t match their previous success and wasn’t well received by critics.
Horslips split after a decade together
It was a disappointing end for a band that had produced so many great moments throughout the decade. Not just in the studio but also on stage.
They played in world famous venues such as London’s Albert Hall. They also toured extensively in Europe and North America.
During the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, they performed in both the North and Republic of Ireland.
They played their last concert in 1980 in the Ulster Hall, although they didn’t know at the time that it was to be their final performance.
The band only gave a cryptic warning that they were to split when they performed The Last Time by the Rolling Stones during the encore of their final concert.
Reforming after nearly 30 years
In 2009, the band reunited to play two shows in Belfast and Dublin. Despite not performing together for nearly 30 years they weren’t fazed by playing in front big crowds.
Jim Lockhart said: “We have played stages of every stripe from tiny places to huge venues so it doesn’t make an awful lot of difference.”
Barry Devlin added:”I think the dressing room (at Dublin’s O2) is bigger than the places we used to play!”
They have stayed together and continue to perform.