Country singer John Hogan enjoys Beatles-level fame outside Ireland

Country singer John Hogan admits he thought it was “a load of codswallop” when he heard his single, which didn’t garner much attention in his native country, was a number one hit abroad.

In an wholly unexpected turn of events, the country single, Stepping Stones, catapulted John into superstardom in the unlikely Caribbean island of Saint Lucia.

Local children were given the day off school when John came to town, and the crowd that greeted him when he arrived can only be described as Beatles-level fandom.

Recalling how his unexpected foreign fame came to be, John told RSVP Country: “I went out to Nashville to record an album, and I recorded a song called Stepping Stones.

“It never went anywhere or made a difference in Ireland. But one day I was at home and the phone rang and a guy said he was from St. Lucia. He said he had been looking for me for the past number of years – now St Lucia could have been around Mullingar for all I knew at the time.

“He said, ‘do you realise you have a song called Stepping Stones and that’s number one out here and all over the Caribbean Islands’. He said they have their own dance to it and all this. I listened to him but I thought to myself, ‘this is a load of codswallop’.”

Country singer John Hogan
Country singer John Hogan

John said he was eventually convinced to fly to Saint Lucia to perform for his fans. But he wasn’t prepared for what greeted him.

“We went to St. Lucia and when we were flying into the small little airport in Vieux Fort, it’s hair-raising going in and coming out because it’s so tiny.

“But when we were landing you could see there were an awful lot of people around the perimeter. And I said to the guys, ‘we’ve come on the wrong day, there must be a dignitary or something’.

“I couldn’t believe it when I got off the plane. I could not believe it. It was like something you’d see for the Beatles in their hay day. We had police and army escorts and everything. Dancing children, priests, the president. It was really a sight to behold”.

RSVP Country Spring Issue
RSVP Country Spring Issue

John returned to Saint Lucia a few times, but found it hard to ignore the poverty behind the stage.

“I went back a few times but what I discovered in time was that it was the same as any other place. There are the haves and there are the have nots and it bothered me quite a bit. The people on the island were gracious and giving and thoughtful, just lovely people.

“For me, it was a wonderful experience but I’d love to have been able to go back and do something for them but where would you start? I used to visit people in hospital and that needed a lot of work.

“People go there and see the white sandy beaches and stay in their resort and enjoy all the island has to offer, but I can’t do that. I can’t ignore what’s beyond the gates.

“I wrote a song about the people and I’m still in contact with a lot of buddies there, and there’s an awful lot of good there”.

Read John’s interview in full in the new issue of RSVP Country, out now.

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