The Rewind

The Song The BBC Banned - It's 25 Years Since This Bizarre Irish Hit

The Song The BBC Banned - It's 25 Years Since This Bizarre Irish Hit

Aon focal eile?

These were the words used in the chorus of an infamous chart topping Irish hit back in the 1990s. If the penny hasn't dropped, it was comedian turned singer/songwriter Richie Kavanagh who used the play on the word 'focal' for comedic effect.

Kavanagh had written the song years previous but hadn't thought of releasing it as a single. "(It) was a song that I wrote about four or five years ago, and I used to sing it as part of my act kinda half ways through my show," he told RTÉ back in 1997.

"I never intended ever to record it. People would come up to me and say, 'That was a great focal song, you should record it!'."

'Aon focal eile' ended up being a huge hit in this country. The song was picked up by several local radio stations, before Gerry Ryan eventually used it as a mainstay on his morning 2FM slot. From then on, it skyrocketed in popularity.


In 1996, the single spent eight weeks at the top of the Irish Charts. In total, Kavanagh's single lasted six months in the charts over here. It's chart success puts it in the Top 20 best selling singles of all-time in Ireland.

Kavanagh earned a chunk of his popularity from air time in the UK, and equally had his share of detractors. The single was banned by the BBC for a start.

"It was banned on the BBC, yeah. We were just about to get it played and a producer said they didn't want to take early retirement."

Despite the national broadcasting snub, Kavanagh still received huge support for the single overseas. "It was 44 weeks on number one on Spectrum Radio in London," he said.

"The reason it was so popular was because it couldn't be played until after 12 O'Clock at night."

The Carlow comedian has gone on to release other spoof classics such as 'Stay Wut Her Johnny' and 'The Mobile Phone'. He has played shows around the globe, including in Monte Carlow and the US.

The unlikely chart topper is still performing. In 2011, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

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