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'White Ladder just developed this unstoppable momentum' - David Gray on Ireland's role championing the 2000 album

David Gray talks to Darragh McManus about Ireland's role in championing the album that became a global phenomenon and ultimately the biggest selling record in Irish history

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A big step up: the success of White Ladder is the subject of an RTÉ documentary

A big step up: the success of White Ladder is the subject of an RTÉ documentary

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A big step up: the success of White Ladder is the subject of an RTÉ documentary

Some moments in culture just happen; certain things seem to take on an impetus of their own and break big, and often there's no single, obvious reason for it.

We saw it recently with Normal People - a perfectly fine novel transfigured into a bona fide televisual phenomenon. Memes are another example: who, today, could even begin to explain The Dress going viral in 2015, or the insane success of 'Gangnam Style' and its endless adaptations?

This isn't new. Two full decades ago, in an Ireland that is recognisable yet markedly different to the 2020 version, an album by a struggling English singer-songwriter went supernova: first here, then in his home country, and eventually around the world.