Belfast Telegraph

Back Then: Journalist turned songwriter who penned Sailortown back on road

By Eddie McIlwaine

Anthony Toner was a journalist for 17 years before he took a different pen and turned to his first love and became a songwriter who sings as well.

He became a household name a while back with a ballad called Sailortown which I find charming and which the late Gerry Anderson loved.

So Anthony isn't writing headlines these days - he's making them instead in the music Press and sure here he is in my column, not for the first time.

It shows there's a chance for me yet of finding fame and fortune just as he did in the first place because of his feeling for Sailortown which alas is disappearing from the Belfast scene.

I'll write a cracking song about rolling boiled eggs down Carnmoney Hill at Easter and Anthony can perform it.

Here are some of the lyrics of his Sailortown:

"Me and Elaine we've been hanging around in what was once Sailortown, drinking cheap red wine by the light of the Belfast moon / There's nobody left here that works at the docks, it's all urban renewal and apartment blocks / Summer is fading, winter will be coming soon. The walls in the city have a lot to say about the UVF and the IRA."

Anthony will be performing the song again along with tracks from his new album, The Light Below the Door, at the Black Box, Belfast, on April 9; the Courtyard Theatre, Newtownabbey on April 18 and the Braid Centre, Ballymena on April 24.

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