Goodbye Big Joe


From top: Whelan’s, Wexfor Street, Dublin 2; Joe Nicholson (right) with Townes Van Zandt and friend in Whelan’s in the 1990s; tweet last week

The great and the good of the Irish music industry packed Mount Jerome Chapel in Dublin last Saturday at the funeral of Joe Nicholson.

Joe was synonymous with Whelan’s bar, having worked as the gatekeeper of the Wexford St music venue for many years.

Previously, he had worked as a tour manager and a driver for innumerable visiting artists, including Bob Dylan, Al Green and Elvis Costello. A warm-hearted larger-than-life character with an encyclopaedic knowledge of rock’n’roll, Joe was unmistakable at the door usually in his trademark black fedora.

The musical tributes at the funeral service came from Leslie Dowdall, who sang the moving ‘Spirit In The Night’; Mundy, who delivered a fitting version of ‘If I Needed You’ written by one of Joe’s musical heroes Townes Van Zandt; and a rousing rendition of Bob Dylan’s ‘Forever Young’ by Paddy Casey, Declan O’Rourke, Mundy, Alice Jago, Leslie Dowdall and Colm Mac Con Iomaire. Mundy also recited a poem ‘Goodbye Big Joe’ he wrote to honour his old friend’s memory.




2 thoughts on “Goodbye Big Joe

  1. Slightly Bemused

    Once in a distant past I worked for a sound engineering company. I had one of those t-shirts that said ‘Sound Crew’ and would be known to try my hand at entry to various venues. The Point was easy, as I was sort of a regular there during the days. But I never got into Whelan’s. Some mad lad in a black hat kept catching me, and he knew everyone in all the bands’ crews. Or so it seemed. Never kicked me out, but I always had to pay.

    Fare thee well, Joe!

  2. Lambchop

    I worked with Joe, he will be sadly missed. There’s so many people who’s gigs I got to go to that wouldn’t have without him. I’m so grateful for what he did for me. Rip Joe

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