Country music icon Margo is inducted into Irish Country Music Hall of Fame on Late Late Show Country Music Special
The queen of country and Irish music, Margo, fought back tears tonight as she was inducted into the Irish Country Music Hall of Fame.
Margaret Catherine O’Donnell, the 72-year-old sister of fellow country music legend Daniel O’Donnell, (61) was given a standing ovation by the studio audience when she was presented with the honour by her brother during a special country music edition of RTE’s The Late Late Show.
“It gives me great pleasure to be the one chosen to do this. Margaret was there at the beginning,” Daniel said of her influence on the Irish country music scene as the fourth inductee to the roll; an honour he now shares with his sister.
“I am thrilled, and nobody deserves this more than you for all you have done for so many people,” he said.
“I just want to dedicate this in memory of my great friend, Big Tom,” she said of the late Irish country legend Tom McBride, from Castleblaney, Co Monaghan who died at the age of 81 in April, 2018.
During an interview on the show, she revealed that she first appeared on the Late Late Show back in October 1969 but despite the success of her career, “I’ve gone down a lot of dark roads.”
"I never got over the death of my father,” she said of Francis O’Donnell’s death from a heart attack at the age of 49.
She also revealed the family is mourning the death of their sister Kathleen who passed away from a suspected heart attack in February.
"Family is so, so important. I just wish I had one more second with my sister Kathleen,” she said. “That would be all that I would ask, just to look at her for one second and that she would look back at me.”
The former schoolgirl singer went on to become one of Ireland’s biggest stars during the showband era of the 1960s and 70s after she rocketed to fame in the 1960s with her band The Keynotes.
Following the release of her first single ‘Bonny Irish Boy/Dear God’, in 1968, she went on to sell more than a million albums and recorded with the likes of country music icons Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton.
At one stage of her career spanning six decades she was so popular that riot police had to be drafted in for crowd control outside one of the shows in London.
She also featured in a TV documentary about her famous brother, ‘Daniel at 60’ in which she revealed that she prayed he would learn lessons from her life when he decided to follow in her footsteps as a singer.
They included a difficult time in which she was once addicted to alcohol and prescription drugs.
"I did a lot of things the wrong way, and I hoped that from me doing them the wrong way he saw what was right.,” she said in the documentary that aired in 2022 on RTE and the BBC.
Meanwhile, An Post revealed its new country music stamp booklet called ‘Keep it Country’ featuring the images of country music stars Big Tom, Nathan Carter, Philomena Begley, Cliona Hagan and Daniel O’Donnell.
Mr O’Donnell said it was a great privilege to be included in the stamp series.
“I never imagined my face being on a postage stamp in Ireland. It’s beyond comprehension that this has happened for me,” he said. “I still send cards and letters to people, so it will be funny to maybe stick my own face on the envelope – you never know.”
Ryan Tubridy, meanwhile, who will be stepping down as presenter of the Late Late Show after 14 years at the helm on May 26, said: “This Late Late country music special will be my final one at the helm. It all started out really when I was not long in the job as the presenter of The Late Late Show and when driving around the country, I kept seeing posters of gigs of different country stars and it was a world that I wasn’t familiar with. And so, it began…
“I quickly learned that it was a world that brought people together and while I will miss seeing everybody on an annual basis, I have made a lot of friends in the country music world, and that has been my privilege.”