Mary CoughlanView in iTunes
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Irish torch singer Mary Coughlan was born in Galway in 1956; after enduring a painful adolescence that included bouts with drugs and alcohol as well as a stay in a mental hospital, she relocated to London at the age of 19, living in a hippie squat. After several lean years of waitressing and sweeping streets, Coughlan returned to Ireland in 1974, where a chance encounter with Dutch musician Erik Visser helped point her towards a singing career; specializing in jazz and blues, she began slowly earning a reputation on the pub circuit, which resulted in a handful of television appearances. From there, she and Visser moved on to sold-out concert dates, and in 1985 Coughlan finally recorded her debut LP, Tired and Emotional, a major hit in her native land. A number of other records followed in the years to come, and she became a critical favorite throughout much of Europe; with 1997's After the Fall, Coughlan made her U.S. debut, soon earning a devoted following on American shores as well. Three years later, Coughlan issued the vibrant tribute album Sings Billie Holiday. Long Honeymoon appeared in spring 2001. ~ Jason Ankeny