Helen O’Hara decided she was going to be a violinist at the age of nine. Her violin was her badge of honour. She was brought up on a mix of classical and pop music, but it was pop that ruled her heart. A prodigious talent, she rose through the ranks in youth orchestras, but at seventeen she rebelled, left school and joined a progressive rock band. At twenty-one, she was back in college studying classical violin, where she was headhunted by Dexys Midnight Runners. Declining an offer from the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra, she joined Dexys instead. Weeks later ‘Come On Eileen’ was number one in the UK charts.

What’s She Like provides a vivid account of the euphoric experience of recording and touring the album Too-Rye-Ay, and the tumultuous story of the making of Dexys’ masterpiece album, Don’t Stand Me Down. After Dexys disbanded in 1986, Helen started a long working relationship with Tanita Tikaram and recorded two solo instrumental albums, featuring acclaimed pianist Nicky Hopkins, before taking a break from music to raise her family. The break extended for 23 years. Once her two sons had grown, driven by forces almost beyond her control, she dusted down her violin and began the hard journey to once again make music the centre of her life, honouring the commitment she had made to herself aged nine.

Here, in her own words, she finally answers the question posed in the lead song on Don’t Stand Me Down: this is what she’s like.

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What's She Like: A Memoir

  • £20.00


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Tags: Signed Copy, Musician Memoir