Helen O'Hara (born Helen Bevington, 5 November 1956) is a British musician, formerly a member and violinist of the band Dexys Midnight Runners between 1982 and 1987, including performing on songs such as "Come on Eileen" from the Too-Rye-Ay album.

After leaving the band she worked with rock performers such as Graham ParkerTanita Tikaram and Mary Coughlan. She also recorded a new age album with keyboardist Nicky Hopkins.

Early years[edit]Edit

O'Hara began her music career in her home town of Bristol joining Gunner Kade, a band led by Ken Pustelnik, drummer from The Groundhogs. She then joined a band called Wisper, who combined their solo career with backing various artists. Wisper evolved into Uncle Po who won the BBC's Quiz Kid band competition in 1977, subsequently releasing a single on the BEEB label "Use My Friends" (so rare, that a copy sold in 2006 on eBay for over £80). Uncle Po included Rob Williams on guitar and Gavin King on vocals.

Dexys Midnight Runners[edit]Edit

O'Hara left Uncle Po in late 1977 to study music at Birmingham School of Music (now UCE Birmingham Conservatoire), graduating in 1982 with an offer to join the Madrid Philharmonic. However, after a stint with The Blue Ox Babes, a band founded by ex-Dexys founder Kevin 'Al' Archer, she had also been offered a place with Rowland's new line-up of Dexys—the result of a session she and two other violinists from the university had carried out as part of Kevin Rowland's decision to revamp the band's sound and image. Rowland has said that he saw O'Hara standing at a bus stop with her violin case and stopped to meet her. The more prosaic truth is that of the three violinists at the session she was the only one with any rock and roll experience, and therefore the only one to be able to play a solo by feel. This she did well enough to be immediately drafted in. Within months she was touring the US as "Come On Eileen" reached #1 in the charts. With the singles "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)" (a Van Morrison cover) and "Let's Get This Straight (From The Start)" maintaining their popularity, the group continued to tour until 1983 with a nucleus of Rowland, Adams, O'Hara and Shelton augmented by other musicians.

In 1985 she was part of the nucleus of the band that wrote and recorded Don't Stand Me Down.

Solo discography[edit|edit source]Edit

  • Southern Hearts (Romanza) (1990) - New World Music CD 212
  • A Night in Ireland (1998) - New World Music CD 450
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