Aslan, who took their name from the heroic lion in C.S. Lewis’s series of books chronicling the fictional land of Narnia, (Aslan is the Turkish for ‘Lion’), emerged from the working class areas of Finglas and Ballymun in Dublin’s Northside, in the mid 1980s. They released a demo single, ‘This Is’, in the Spring of 1986, which was a huge hit and became the longest ever play-listed single on Ireland’s pop radio station, RTÉ 2fm.
In the summer of 1986 they played a series of rapturously received shows in the UK and Melody Maker noted, ‘Lucky the label that signs this band!’. Janice Long at BBC Radio 1 recorded Aslan in session and went on to air it for an unprecedented three times in the subsequent weeks. At the end of 1986 Aslan walked away with The Stag/Hot Press,’ Most Promising New Band’ award and signed to EMI.
In 1988 they recorded their debut album, ‘Feel No Shame’ which shot straight in to the No.1 spot of the Irish charts and remained there for weeks. Within a couple of months it was certified Gold. Then in August 1988, just as the option for their 2nd album had been picked up, Aslan infamously imploded, torn apart by overindulgence of all kinds.
Five years and a day to the last time they gigged together (on the 11th of July 1993) they played what was supposed to be a one off charity gig in Finglas; the spark was reignited and Aslan landed a new record deal with BMG. The first fruit of the deal, their single “Crazy World”, entered the charts at No 4 and stayed in the charts for 3 months, becoming one of the most played songs on Irish Radio for the year. “Crazy World” also won the “Single of The Year” in 1993’s Hot Press Awards. A few months later the follow-up single “Where’s The Sun” reached No.3 on the chart.
The latter part of 1994 was spent touring consistently in Ireland and recording their album, ‘Goodbye Charlie Moonhead’, which was released in Ireland at the end of 1994 and charted at number one, going on to be certified Gold weeks later. Then in 1995 the band were dropped, the victims of boardroom changes at BMG.
Undeterred, Aslan went into the studio under their own steam and began recording a new album, ‘Here Comes Lucy Jones’ in April 1996. Released in October 1997, the album went into the Irish chart at 14 and Aslan were nominated in seven categories of the 1997 Hot Press readers poll.
‘Shame About Lucy Moonhead’, a compilation of the best of Aslan’s recorded work on EMI, was released in July 1998, shot into the Irish albums charts at No.1 and has since turned double platinum.
In March 1999 Aslan played 5 sell out shows in Ireland’s most prestigious intimate venue, Vicar St, during which their live album and video concert movie/DVD ‘Made In Dublin’ were recorded. Both shot to No 1 in their 1st week of release. The album turned platinum within 3 weeks and remained in the top 10 for 8 weeks. Aslan finished 1999 on a high note by selling out Ireland’s largest indoor venue (9000 capacity) , the Point Theatre on 26th December.
In Summer 2000 Aslan toured Australia for the first time to promote the release down under of the album “Shame About Lucy Moonhead” and in the process, sold out shows in Sydney and Melbourne. Aslan ended 2000 by playing their first gig in the Netherlands to a sell out crowd and then returned to home soil to sell out the Point Theatre again on Dec 27th.
In the Spring of 2001 Aslan recorded a single, “She’s So Beautiful”, (featuring Sinead O ‘Connor on backing vocals,) which entered the Irish singles charts at number 9. The band released the follow-up “Different Man” which charted at number 7.
In September 2001, the band’s most recent studio album, “Waiting For This Madness To End” went straight into the Irish Album charts at number 1, out selling the number 2 album four times over. The following week it remained at number 1 and kept Kylie Minogue off the top spot! “Waiting For This Madness To End” hit the platinum sales mark after only four weeks.
In Christmas 2001 Aslan again sold out the 9000 capacity Point, and in 2002 Aslan were nominated for eight categories of the Hot Press readers poll, demonstrating the immense following the band have in their homeland.
October 2005 and the band release a 48 track CD, simply called The Platinum Collection. The album chronicles the singles, b-sides and rarities of their long career. The platinum collection went into the charts at no. 3 and after a few weeks lived up to its name by achieving triple platinum sales.The same year also say a successful sold out show in the Point marking the platinum collections release.
2007 saw the release of “For Some Strange Reason” which was produced by Ger McDonnell. It went straight into the top 10 album charts at number 7.
In February 2008, Tony McGuiness left the band and moved to Australia. He was replaced by Rod O’Brien and in 2009, the band released a covers album “Aslan UNCASE’d” which went straight into the charts at number 2. It was kept off the number 1 spot by Eminem. The single from the album, John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” was playlisted on every station in Ireland and has become an Aslan favourite at their live gigs.
2010 saw the band undertake an extensive Australian tour which took them to Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra which was a great success with a lot of the gigs sold out!
On the 19th April 2012, the band attended The Savoy cimema for the world premier of their film “Please Don’t Stop” which tells the full story of the bands 30 years together. The film was made by three friends of the band; Paul Andrews, Daragh Murphy and Ronan Quinn and it received a standing ovation at the end. A DVD of this movie is being released 26th October 2012!
The following day, 20th April 2012, their album “Nudie Books and Frenchies” was released on the E.M.I. label and went srraight in at No. 1 in the Irish charts! Not only did the fans like the album, but the critics described it as one of Aslan’s best albums to date and it received rave reviews across the board.
THE LION IS STILL ROARING…