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George Carrol: Singer whose ballad 'Irish Eyes' became a huge hit with exiles

Published 08/04/2015

George Carroll: song success
George Carroll: song success

Entertainer George Carroll, who has died at 81, wrote the ballad Irish Eyes which became a hit at home and with exiles around the world.

He put the lyrics and melody together one afternoon when he was feeling homesick. George and his pal Syd Dodsworth, mimed together in a hit duo called The Recordites and they were in Germany in 1970 entertaining American troops.

"George had a dose of the blues because he was missing Donaghadee where he was born," recalls Syd. "So he sat down in our hotel and wrote Irish Eyes. The song was a huge success and is still a favourite to this day. Irish Eyes has now become George's memorial."

Syd and George first became close friends in Lower Windsor Boys Club and had a reputation as boxers with young Carroll a knock-out specialist in bouts at the Ulster Hall. They grew up to join a singing foursome called The Blue Rhythm Boys but one night in an emergency Syd and George went on stage at a concert and did their mime act to pop records played by a roadie.

"The Recordites were born that night in 1968," says Syd. "We mimed our way around America and beyond and were always in demand at the Ulster Hall. In fact our last concert before we retired was at the Ulster Hall in 2009."

George was a versatile performer and appeared in three pantomimes at the Opera House with Frank Carson and he appeared in several films.

Irish Eyes was recorded by American country singer Hank Locklin back in the '70s and George became a household name at the same time.

George, who is survived by his wife Connie and three sons, was cremated at Roselawn.

Belfast Telegraph

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