Beyond country, beyond pop, beyond even mad pop
I think it was the proprietor of one of the great dancehalls of Ireland - the Sound of Music Club, in Glenamaddy (to which there are of course "four roads") - who once divided all the music he had witnessed into three categories. There was "country'n'western", there was "pop", and there was "mad pop".
The "country'n'western" would have Big Tom at the top of a very large pyramid; the "pop" would probably be the likes of Gina, Dale Haze and the Champions; and the "mad pop" would be Horslips, who were in the dancehalls, but who were not of the dancehalls.
So it was somehow appropriate that the first I heard about the death of Big Tom was from the Horslips drummer Eamon Carr on Twitter. "The big man is gone… and not just up the road to Carndonagh," he wrote.