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Sunday 31 August 2014

De Burgh has always been close with 'sweet girl of mine'

Published 28/05/2011 | 05:00

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Chris de Burgh and Rosanna Davison on the red carpet.

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Ryanair learned the lesson this week that if you take on Rosanna Davison, you take on Chris de Burgh too.

Father and daughter have always been close, as evidenced by a track on the singer's 1986 album 'Into the Light', called 'Rosanna'.

Sang Chris: "This is for Rosanna, sweet girl of mine, A song for the baby who changed my life, I'll never forget when I saw you first, I thought that my heart would burst, With the love that I have."

Rosanna was just two years old when her father penned the tune. And she was still a teenager when she achieved a celebrity to rival his own after being crowned Miss World at 19.

She was the first Irish entrant to win the title since it started in 1951.

The UCD graduate has seldom been out of the papers since, becoming embroiled in one controversy after another.

Tabloid tales have included crossing swords with rival model Glenda Gilson after she jetted off to Morocco with businessman Johnny Ronan, and last June when she singled out an unnamed model for special treatment on Twitter calling her "horse-face" and "shoulders R us". The tweet scandal was dubbed 'Neigh Gate' and was the talk of Dublin's social scene for weeks, leading Paddy Power to offer odds on the likely recipient of the insults.

Dad Chris has always been a bit prickly about criticism.

Signed to the hippest label on the planet, A&M, during the 1970s, he fell out with the critics in the 1980s after the success of his middle-of-the-road ballads.

While other performers would have shrugged it off, Chris still goes nuclear over bad reviews.

Peter Crawley, a theatre reviewer at 'The Irish Times', found this out the hard way when he wrote a less than sympathetic review of de Burgh's show in Dublin's Gaiety Theatre in September 2009.

He then noted: "He departs the stage for 'Lady in Red', invading boxes and draping himself over audience members . . . Certain toes will never uncurl after this experience, but it is almost admirable how unaltered de Burgh has remained by the flow of time."

In a lengthy, much-publicised reply to the critic, de Burgh made his feelings known, particularly in the postscript.

"We were wondering by way of explanation and, as you seem to portray yourself as a bitter and unfulfilled man, were you much teased by your school chums in the schoolyard and called 'Creepy Crawley'?" he wrote.

However, de Burgh has been responsible for some of his own bad press, notably a 1994 affair with his children's 19-year-old nanny Maresa Morgan.

However sensitive the singer dubbed 'the chieftain of cheese' is about himself and his music, he is an even more protective father.

He once told the 'Sunday Independent' he would not allow the media to "have a bash at my daughter".

The paper quotes him as follows:

"That's why the first time it started happening I employed a very good lawyer and we have taken 15 legal actions and won every single one."

So it seems Chris really meant it when he sang 'Rosanna' back in 1986: "But never forget that I'm always there, Like a shadow by your side, With the love that I have."

Irish Independent

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