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Runaway Dreams: The Story of Mama's Boys and Celtus [Hardcover]

Don Airey , Michael J. K. Walsh
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Aug 2011
Runaway Dreams tells the story of brothers Pat, John and Tommy McManus who, as Mama's Boys, wrote their own chapter in the history of rock music. From a farmhouse in Derrylin, Northern Ireland, and a family steeped in the traditions of Irish folk music, the three brothers set out at the height of 'The Troubles' to make their mark on a world stage. Given an early leg up by Barry Devlin of Horslips, then by Hawkwind and Wishbone Ash, their success was assured when Phil Lynott chose Mama's Boys to accompany Thin Lizzy on their farewell tour. The band went on to circuit the world many times over, sharing the stage with the likes of Deep Purple, Rush, Sting, Black Sabbath, Rory Gallagher, and Foreigner; and touring in the company of Twisted Sister, Scorpions, Iron Maiden, Ratt and Bon Jovi. At the height of their success tragedy struck the band when youngest brother, Tommy, after years of struggle, died of leukaemia at the age of 28. There could be no Mama's Boys without Tommy, and yet it was unthinkable for the two remaining brothers not to play on. So, after a brief hiatus, the music and the successes continued with Pat and John's new venture, Celtus. Playing their debut at the Royal Albert Hall, the band went on to win the 1998 Irish World Music Award, ahead of U2, The Corrs and Enya, and toured with Sheryl Crow, Deacon Blue, Paul Carrack and Jimmy Nail. Their final performance was with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Runaway Dreams is the story of a band of brothers who, through passion, talent, loyalty and determination, became cultural icons in Ireland and in the words of Mary Anne Hobbs 'living, breathing Irish history.' Michael Walsh lost count years ago of how many times he saw Mama's Boys, and of how many nights he hitched home in the rain through the back roads of Northern Ireland after their shows. He is now, in addition to being a Mama's Boys and Celtus fan, an Associate Professor of Art History at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Previous books include: This Cult of Violence (Yale University Press, 2002); A Dilemma of English Modernism (University of Delaware Press, 2007); Hanging a Rebel (Lutterworth Press, 2008) and London, Modernism and 1914 (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Kennedy & Boyd (15 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849211108
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849211109
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.6 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,783,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'Morals, ethics and a lack of ego; now there's a real rock 'n' roll story.'- Eric Egan, Music Book of the Fortnight, Hot Press. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SUPERB ! 13 Aug 2011
What a superb book!! Packed full of stories, photos, anecdotes and info. At last somebody has recognised that there is a real story to be told about this band. I genuinely loved it - some rock biographies can just merge into a endless list of cities, albums and tours, but, in a similar way to "This is Anvil", Runaway Dreams is a much more human and engaging book.
There's the inside story on all the big bands that they encountered - loved the bit about Rush - then there's the shadow of Tommy's illness popping up to wreck their plans at every stage. Walsh is obviously a fan and has gone to great lengths to trace many of the characters involved to get their side of the story. The photos are great - so many of them - I like the way they are spread throughout the book rather than in a big block in the middle. As Pat would say... "fantastic !"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book of the Fortnight 23 Sep 2011
'...Mama's Boys weren't your usual rock band. How else do you explain how three brothers, from the 'rock mecca' of Co. Fermanagh, go from playing the Ballina Town hall in front of a half-wit kicking a slipper, to 80,000 fans at Knebworth? Along the way there is the weird (Pat providing the solo for Sam Fox's 'Touch Me'), the tragic (youngest brother Tommy's death from leukaemia) and the poignant (one week MTV, next week DSS). Yet the constant in this gripping tale is the brothers' perseverance, integrity and human decency. As Pat states, "I'm not in it for the wealth, or the prestige...I just play a bit of music, that's all." Morals, ethics and a lack of ego; now there's a REAL rock 'n' roll story.' Eric Egan
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read for fans of 80's Rock and Metal. 14 Sep 2011
This book is a great read for anyone who was a fan of Mama's Boys (or Celtus) or was a follower of hard rock and heavy metal during the glory days of the 80's. The author Michael Walsh (who has followed the band since the early days) tells the story of the McManus brothers who followed their dream by playing rock music from the high roads and by roads of rural Ireland to some of the worlds biggest stages. Walsh has seemingly left no stone unturned in his quest to get insights into all the highs and lows the brothers encountered throughout their career. Among those he has managed to interview/get quotes from include, Fast Eddie Clarke, Ratt, Chris Tsangarides, Don Airey, Ricky Medlocke, John Sykes, Barry McGuigan and a host of others. As well as as the text this book is full of great photos.

I a fan who grew up listening to The Friday Rock Show, reading Kerrang and Sounds and followed the metal scene throughout the 80's I can reccommend this book to anyone of like-minded tastes.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book tells the story of a band with many true and faithful fans. Having said that most of them will know the history of the band but will probably enjoy the trip down memory lane and the photos of how we all used to look in the 80''s!
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