Aslan are an Irish rock band from Dublin who formed in 1982. Comprising Christy Dignam, Joe Jewell, Billy McGuinness, Alan Downey and Rodney O'Brien, the band has released six studio albums - Feel No Shame (1988), Goodbye Charlie Moonhead (1994), Here Comes Lucy Jones (1997), Waiting For This Madness To End (2001), For Some Strange Reason (2007) and Nudie Books and Frenchies (2012).
Aslan, who took their name from the great lion in C.S. Lewis's series of books chronicling the fictional land of Narnia, (Aslan is the Turkish word 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 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 second album had been picked up, Aslan imploded, torn apart by overindulgence of all kinds. The band, minus Christy, tried to keep the band alive by recruiting the vocal talents of Eamo Doyle, but as drummer Alan said on the Made In Dublin DVD "it was like U2 trying to go on without Bono...it was just never going to work". Christy during this period went on to form Dignam & Goff with guitarist Conor Goff and the other members went on to form another band, The Precious Stones.
On 11 July 1993, five years and a day after they had last gigged together, Aslan 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 three 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, 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 26 December, sharing the billing with Picture House.
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 sellout crowd and then returned to home soil to sell out the Point Theatre again on December 27.
In the spring of 2001 Aslan recorded a single, "She's So Beautiful" (featuring Sinéad 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 released a 48 track CD, simply called Platinum. 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 platinum sales. The band played yet another headlining gig in the point on 27 Dec 2005.
The band helped write and perform "How Can I Protect You", the tenth track for Alabama 3 on their 2006 album, Outlaw.
The band's most recent album, For Some Strange Reason, was released in October 2007 and debuted at no. 8 in the Irish album charts, their first album based solely on new material not to debut in top spot since 1997's Here Comes Lucy Jones. Two singles, "Here Comes the Sun" and "Jealous Little Thing" were released prior to the album. Popular singer Damien Dempsey makes an appearance on the new album on the track "Bullets and Diamonds".
On 15 February 2008 Aslan were named 'Best Irish Band' at The Meteor Irish Music Awards. Tony McGuinness announced shortly after on the bands website that he was to move to Australia for one year with his family and would be replaced by Rodney O'Brien as bass player for Aslan during that time.
In April 2008, the band announced that they will record an album consisting completely of cover versions. This will be the band's first ever album without Tony McGuinness. In May 2009 Uncased reached number 2 in the Irish Charts, behind Eminem's Relapse.
On 7 November 2008, Aslan performed "Always" on a Balcony overlooking Dame Street, Dublin for the music viral show BalconyTV, and a new song "Let Go" on 24 December 2010. They are currently working on a new album and a new documentary, both due for release in early 2012 to coincide with the band's 30th anniversary.
The band toured Australia in December 2011 playing to large crowds of predominantly expatriates. Lyrics from their song "Down On Me" will feature in the upcoming novel by Cecilia Ahern. Their new album "Nudie Books and Frenchies" was released in April 2012.