The Corrs had moderate success in the UK in the 2 years before the '98 RAH|
show Steve, and its surprisingly easy to book that venue, its open to everybody providing the hall is available and you've got the money. Getting the BBC to broadcast it live was John Hughes' master stroke though - at the time in UK anything Irish was popular and the Peace Accord in northern Ireland was signed, so basically the band were in the right place at the right time. Bill Whelan had just produced Riverdance (which was hugely popular in UK) and as a friend of John's he helped produce the band's early demos and probably also helped in getting the BBC 'on board'. Other good contacts were the Hubbards (casting agents) who had suggested to John that he manage the band originally. So I guess it was a team effort which certainly propelled them into the forefront of British music and public attention at the time.
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