IRELAND – Johnny Logan has released a rendition of the Christmas classic ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ in aid of a Parkinson’s charity to honour his friend and fellow Eurovision star, Shay Healy.
Shay, a Eurovision-winning songwriter and veteran RTE presenter died in April after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Johnny recorded the song along with the Irish Chamber Orchestra to raise vital funds for Parkinson’s Association of Ireland (PAI) & ICO’s free education programmes.
Speaking to RSVP Live, the three-times Eurovision winner said he was thrilled to be asked to honour his dear friend, who penned his hit What’s Another Year, back in 1980.
Johnny said: “I was very honoured to be asked, to be honest, and I immediately said yes. It’s a way of keeping Shea’s memory alive and I’m doing something that I know would have made him proud”.
Johnny admitted he felt pressure not to “screw up” in front of the orchestra, “it’s a live take and I was conscious not to have to make them do it again and again”. But he was bolstered by the arrangement and production by guitarist Jimmy Smyth, formerly of The Bogey Boys, who also conducted the orchestra.
He added: “I’m very proud of my involvement not just with the orchestra of course, and with the charity, but with Jimmy as well, I think he did a brilliant job with the production and the arrangement. Jimmy is one of the finest rock guitar players we’ve ever had in Ireland, and watching him conduct the orchestra gave me a real buzz as well. I think Shay would have got a real buzz out of that too”.
As well as raising funds for the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland, the single will support ICO’s inclusive music education programme Sing out with Strings, which provides free weekly music education classes to over 300 children in schools across Limerick, and its work with the Irish Chamber Orchestra Youth Orchestra (ICOYO).