Transcribed from: EVENING PRESS, THURSDAY DECEMBER 2, 1965 p.7
Writing Pops for 7 Years
A few minutes after the transmission of Telefis Eireann's first National Song Contest earlier this year, guest star Julie Rogers was heard to remark "Who wrote the Joan Connolly entry? I must record that."
The song in question, "Another Star, Another Tear" which tied for third place was written by Gay McKeon, a student at the Royal College of Surgeons, who comes from Boyle, co Roscommon. Generally he works in collaboration with lyricist Willie Devine, also of Boyle. Together they have written over 80 songs.
Recalls Willie, "When I was about 12, I began writing lyrics on my own. A few years later, Gay approached me and and mentioned that he had been writing music and had no lyrics to go with them. From then on we worked together."
Apart from song lyrics, Willie who works in a solicitors office, has written extensively for newspapers and magazines and for the specialist "Elvis Monthly" in which he is particularly interested.
In the last few years he has organised shows at the local tennis club, of which he is secretary. Although one of his deepest interests lies in short story writing, he has been concerned primarily with the pop scene up til now, which leaves little time for other pursuits.
He also finds time to manage the Jivenaires Showband, Boyle. Willie hasn't yet written for them specifically, but they perform Gay's Springfields-like "One Broken Heart" regularly.
Gay was given his first piano lesson soon after his fourth birthday. Later he went through all the grades at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. During his secondary schooldays he took music as a subject and gained honours consistently.
On leaving school he had to decide whether to take up music seriously or learn dentistry. After taking his family and other factors into consideration, he decided in favour of dentistry. That was nearly five years ago.
"When I was at Clongowes, I studied under T.C. Kelly. My writing career began quite early. I used to write little pieces for my brother when I was about ten. I started collaborating with Willie about six or seven years ago."
The time involved in composing varies from song to song just as the methods vary. Sometimes the melody suggests itself first, sometimes the lyrics.
And on some occasions the title springs to mind initially.
Willie estimates that normally it takes ten hours of hard work from the basic idea to completion.
Of their 80 compositions, they have strong faith in 20 as likely number ones by present showband standards. Their first number one was "Don't Loose your Hucklebuck Shoes."
Showbands are beginning to record their songs regularly and the duo's fans include some of the best known singers. Butch Moore was convinced "Another Star, Another Tear" would win the National Song Contest. And it was Brendan Bowyer who insisted that Gay should enter it in the first place. "Our eventual ambition is to write musicals. There's no musical theatre in Ireland . . . very little anyway, " they said. "Any we've seen are definitely revue standard . They have nothing special to offer."