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Bruised, Never Broken Reviews

Bruised, Never Broken by Phil Coulter

Bruised, Never Broken

Phil Coulter

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1 review

Imprint: Gill Books
Publisher: Gill
Publication date: 4 Oct 2019
ISBN: 9780717184132

Best known for songs like 'The Town I Loved So Well' with its emotional lyrics inspired by growing up in the city of Derry, Phil Coulter is also behind global hits like Puppet on a String (for Sandie Shaw) and Congratulations. This is his memoir of overcoming extraordinary personal upheaval to become one of greatest musicians of his generation.

3 stars out of 5
8 Nov 2019

"his evolution from singer-songwriter to performer is described feelingly"

This book is most compelling when it returns – as it does repeatedly – to these roots: to the family and wider civic dynamics which shaped Coulter’s life; and to the thread of politics which forms an essential part of the story. Such a context provides no end of arresting vignettes: watching in 1970 as internment without trial is introduced violently in Derry mere weeks after Dana’s Eurovision win with All Kinds of Everything, a song re-engineered by Coulter to provide a little “fairy dust”; sheltering in 1979, amid smoke and screaming, under the Steinway piano he had been about to play as a bomb explodes against the walls of the Guildhall – and the list goes on. This political awareness, however, renders even more perplexing Coulter’s decision to visit apartheid South Africa in the 1980s. He was roundly criticised at the time; and his defence of his choices introduces one of the few jarring notes in the book.