Row over 'Britain's Got Talent' star's professional past
AN Irish contestant on ITV show 'Britain's Got Talent' is at the centre of a row after it was revealed that he had appeared on 'Top of the Pops' and played on Van Morrison albums.
Herbie Armstrong contributed guitar to Morrison's 'Wavelength' and 'Into the Music' albums, as well as appearing on 'Top of the Pops' during the 1970s.
His professional musical background has prompted critical comments on internet forums.
One complained: "This show should be for beginners setting out on their careers. Not for successful musicians who've had their chance."
However, the 66-year-old publican last night defended his decision to enter 'Britain's Got Talent'.
"I stopped doing music professionally 25 years ago and opened a restaurant. When I worked with Van Morrison I was only a session musician. I never made a fortune. I was just a hired hand," Mr Armstrong told the Irish Independent
"I have never been famous in my own right. The same is true for when I appeared on 'Top of the Pops' as a member of other bands.
Now a pub owner in Hampshire, the Belfast-born musician became an overnight star on last Saturday's show after nine million viewers saw him performing a cover of Van Morrison song 'Have I Told You Lately'.
"Doing 'Britain's Got Talent' has changed my life," Mr Armstrong added. "I'm just flabbergasted at the reaction."
A spokeswoman for the show last night said that it was "open to everyone".