Family is still top priority for COLEEN NOLAN


During the 1960s and 1970s, sibling-boy bands like the Jackson Five and The Osmonds dominated the music charts but as the 70s drew to a close, a band of five sisters from Dublin, threatened the undisputed run of the boy bands. An unlikely forerunner for the ‘Spice Girls’, perhaps, the Nolans swept onto our television screens, delighting the British public with their close harmonies and good looks. Their hit single ‘I’m in the Mood for Dancing’ is still played in Disco clubs and they hold the distinction of being more popular in Japan than the Beatles. 

Yet more Irish talent!

‘Yes’ says Coleen Nolan ‘all my family are Irish. From Dublin, in fact. We don’t go back as much as we’d like but they are all going over for New Year, to stay with relatives.’

The Nolans are a very large family. ‘There are millions of us’ she laughs ‘and there are some we haven’t even met yet!’ Cracking up with laughter, she describes how she is often approached by strangers who insist: ‘I’m a second cousin on your mother’s side’. Adding ‘I should do that programme ‘Who do your think you are’ but it would probably take about three years to find everyone’.

Coleen, now a bubbly, attractive 42year old, was once the baby of that incredible family. While her elder sisters were out there making a name for themselves, she was still at school in Blackpool but in 1980, all that changed. She was unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight at the age of 15 years when she replaced her sister Anne in the group and the Nolan Sisters went on to conquer the Far East. They worked with an endless list of superstars including Stevie Wonder, Andy Williams, Perry Como and Bob Hope but the greatest of all was probably the late Frank Sinatra on his 1975 European tour. 

But for Coleen, the constant travel and endless slog was beginning to take its toll.

Interview in full appeared in Irish Post Dec 23. 2006

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